September 27, 2016 || Santa Ynez, California
Over the weekend Brian and I traveled up the coast to one of our favorite little regions of Santa Barbara Wine Country, Santa Ynez. We visited this area back when we first started dating and decided harvest season was an ideal time to go back. Only about 2 hours from Los Angeles, (40 minutes from Santa Barbara) this quaint area is home to several vineyards and wineries with stunning properties and delicious wine.
Our first stop of the day was Gainey Vineyards, a family run estate known for its red and white wine. The property itself was stunning- full of ripe, colorful grapes waiting to be picked and a Spanish style tasting room opened daily from 10-5. After spending some time roaming through the vineyards and taking in the views from the picnic lawn we ventured down the road to our favorite property, Sunstone Winery and Vineyards.
Sunstone is everything you’d want a vineyard to be and more. Surrounded by grapes and an tuscan-style villa, Sunstone to me is the ideal atmosphere to sip a flight of wine, enjoy charcuterie, and play afternoon lawn games with a bit of a buzz.
After a few glasses of wine and a friendly corn-hole competition we made our way into the candlelit tasting room. The tuscan setting was ideal for a date and felt like a destination straight out of the Italian countryside. We helped ourselves to the property’s delicious olive oil and signed up for the Sunstone wine club before purchasing a few bottles of the Cabernet Franc and Syrah and continuing our way down to Santa Barbara.
If you’re looking for an authentic wine tasting experience and want to get a taste of wine country without traveling all the way to Napa, Santa Ynez is an ideal destination.
Here are a few recommendations of wineries/tasting rooms to visit while you’re here:
Sunstone Vineyards and Winery: Open 10-5 everyday; $15 classic flight $20 for the reserve flight. Join Sunstone’s wine club to partake in the annual grape stomp this Sunday, October 2 8am-12pm
Gainey Vineyard: Open 10-5 everyday, last pour at 4:30. $15 for tasting flight of 6 wines.
Roblar Winery and Vineyards: Rustic vineyard tasting room open 11-5 everyday; $50 for five wines paired with complimentary bites.
Grassini Family Vineyards: While the vineyards are located in Santa Ynez, this tasting room is actually located in Santa Barbara. Open 12-6 everyday; $15-25 per tasting.