A joint sting operation by the Santa Barbara Sheriff and Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) resulted in clerks at three North County wineries - Casa Casara in Buellton, Artiste in Santa Ynez, and Blackjack Ranch in Solvang - being cited for selling alcohol to a minor on 12/28. Thirteen establishments in Buellton, Solvang, Los Olivos, and Santa Ynez were tested by a decoy working with the Sheriff and ABC. The clerks could each pay a $250 fine, while the wineries themselves could be fined and have their liquor license revoked or suspended.
Artiste spokesperson Christina LoCascio said in a statement the winery appreciated the efforts by the Sheriff’s Department to keep the Santa Ynez Valley vineyard scene safe and enjoyable. “While no one likes to be the center of this type of attention, we are looking at the incident as a positive reminder not only for ourselves but for all tasting room staff in the area that we need to be very vigilant in not only verifying IDs but also letting people know when they have had too much,” her statement read.
As of this article’s publication time, the other two wineries had not commented on the matter.
Adrian Castaneda is an Independent intern.