Wine tasting is one of those experiences you are bound to enjoy and will walk away with not only wine in hand but memories as well. And when someone else does the driving for you, that’s an added bonus.
Let me introduce you to Santa Barbara Wine Country Tours, a wine tour company in the heart of Santa Ynez Valley. They take care of all the details of your day tour so you can relax, sit back and enjoy the wine. There are a variety of tours to choose from, including a Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour, Wine & Bike Tour, Cupcake & Wine Tour and private group tours.
I recently enjoyed the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour where they conveniently pick you up from your hotel. The tour includes three winery visits, including tastings, a catered lunch and plenty of discussion around winemaking and historical insights into the area.
Our first stop was Folded Hills Winery. A family-owned, boutique winery focused on organic, sustainable winemaking. 95% of the grapes are estate grown and are hand harvested with minimal intervention. The care and attention to detail in their winemaking techniques resonate in the wines. The rosé was a crowd favorite. I would put this one in the “porch pounder” category. It went down way too easily. I was also a fan of their GSM and Grenache. The relaxed ambiance of their outdoor tasting area contributed to the delightful experience. Put this one on your list the next time you are in the area.
Rideau Vineyard was our second stop of the day. Their focus is on estate grown Rhône varietals and small-lot wines sourced from a select few, local vineyards. The Viognier had me at first sip, a favorite for sure. The GSM and the Grenache also made it out the door with me. Impressive wines at reasonable prices. The grounds are stunning, pathways welcoming you filled with rose bushes, lush greenery and never-ending views. There are plenty of picnic tables to choose from, which ended up being the perfect setting for our catered lunch.
The last stop of the day was enjoyed at Vincent Vineyards, an estate vineyard specializing in Bordeaux varietals. The outdoor patio area is surrounded by vines, creating the perfect atmosphere to enjoy a glass of wine (or two) of their small production varietals.
Plan on the tour filling up most of your day. We were picked up around 10:00 AM and returned to our hotel close to 5:00 PM. If you are curious to know what wineries you might visit, there is a list provided on their website. Tours start at $155 per person and vary depending on the specific tour and date. Santa Barbara Wine Country Tours is a great option if you are looking to take the hassle out of planning a day of wine tasting. Bookmark them for your next trip to the Santa Ynez Valley. Cheers!