Winery to visit in Santa Barbara area?

A friend at work is going to a meeting in Santa Barbara at the end of next week. One of his mentors is retiring from the faculty at UCSB. He enjoys wine, but is not a serious wino. He is trying to organize a group visit to a winery. Which ones would be particularly well-suited to this?

I am thinking the wines should not be too expensive and they should make reds and whites. It might be only a few people, or it might grow to a larger group. Any suggestions?


Go visit T-Bone at Fiddlehead and share war stories (literally) with Frank in the back room. He’ll keep you entertained for hours. Ask him about guns, cars, conspiracies, etc… [drinkers.gif]

Also go to Melville, but don’t bother going next door to Babcock (in my opinion). Unless you go there first and then to Melville. Heck - go to both and you’ll why I say that. :slight_smile:

And DEFINITELY go to these two places in Solvang.

Trio Tasting Room - taste all of Kris Curran’s wines.

Taste of the Valley - have them put together a custom tasting flight for you. you want want to leave that place.

I didn’t really see that you were talking about a group like that but heck… go there anyway.

If it was me, I surely would not pass up the opportunity to meet T-Bone, but this is a fairly dignified individual who has never even heard of some of the things that Mr. T posts pictures of from his personal collection. [berserker.gif]

Don’t forget carpentry, working as a lumberjack, welding, motorcycles… [emot-words.gif]

In all seriousness, I think that Tastes of the Valleys is a great place because they can taste Arcadian, Au Bon Climat, and Margerum wines all in one terrific venue. The staff is helpful and knowledgeable too. It isn’t that “winery” experience, but if they are looking to discover some tasty selections, this is the place in Solvang.

Rob, I appreciate the help, but I will not be there. This is for a group of older wine noobs.

Then just send them to Melville. Big, pretty winery with lots of outdoor seating and decent wines.

Sounds like a plan to me also. Or several places up in on Foxen Canyon if you want to venture a little bit more north.

Is there any place closer to SB?

Also, any very good restaurants in SB that specialize in local wines?

In Santa Barbara itself, I think the best choices would be Jaffurs or Santa Barbara Winery. The wine at Jaffurs is better though more expensive and limited to Rhone-style, while Santa Barbara Winery makes a wider variety, the wines are less expensive, and it might be better-suited to a group of mostly wine newbies.

Agree. Sounds like Santa Barbara Winery would be the perfect place for what this group is looking for with your description.

There’s also Cellar 205 down the street from SB Winery that carries some good value wines.

I would recommend(on top of what has been mentioned) talking to Larry Schaffer at Fess Parker. He also has his own label, Tercero. Great guy!

Earlier this year, Asimov waxed rhapsodic about a Fess Parker Chardonnay, and, while I’ve never been there, it looks like they’re all set up to take tourist groups of just about any size:

Heck, it looks like the kind of place where you could have a pretty large wedding.

PS: Asimov review is here: California Chardonnay Grows Up

Jaffurs is in Santa Barbara, great selection of wines, very nice people.

Agreed, although you may want to warn the noobs that Jaffurs winery is really just a huge garage. I’m going up there on Sunday, actually.

If you make it to Lompoc Wine Ghetto, I’ll be helping out in the Tasting Room on Sunday with our Asst. Winemaker. Everyone else bailed, so we’re gonna have some fun!

Dude, if I can make it up there, I am definitely stopping by. You’ll recognize me. People say I’m a dead ringer for ManRam.

As others have noted, it’s a bit of a hike up to the St. Rita Hills and Los Olivos. Jaffurs is great and should be fine if you give them advance notice.