Welcome to Santa Barbara Wine Week!

Seven Days of $10 Glasses of Wine from 33 Establishments

Welcome to Santa Barbara Wine Week!

Seven Days of $10 Glasses of Wine
from 33 Establishments

By Matt Kettmann | April 27, 2023

Credit: Ali Beck Photography

Though just a trickle through our lives a quarter-century ago, the wine industry now flows through Santa Barbara County like a firehose, soaking every corner of our regional economy and culture, from the landscapes and logos we see to the people we meet and the foods we eat. The numbers speak for themselves: $1.7 billion in annual economic activity, 10,000-plus people employed, and more than one million tourists visiting wineries each year. 

Harder to quantify is the unparalleled magic of a Santa Barbara wine experience, which is often lost on those of us who live here. Nowhere else in the United States — and very possibly, nowhere else in the world — can you enjoy locally grown and produced wine in so many distinctive settings: amid the gentle sea breezes and urban vibe of the Funk Zone; in the historic cottages of Los Olivos and Los Alamos, steps away from internationally envied restaurants; or amid the vines and barrels of an estate winery outside of Lompoc or Santa Maria, getting hands-on education from winemakers themselves. And you could easily tackle all of that in the same day.

Like the industry has done in communities elsewhere, wine is elevating our hospitality scene, opening viable career paths for younger generations, and uplifting the historically exploited, often immigrant communities that serve as its agricultural backbone. Not everything is perfect, of course, and much work remains on the table in regards to social justice, environmental sustainability, and economic equity. But on the whole, wine continues to make Santa Barbara County a more dynamic place to live, work, and play. 

To toast this evolution, we’re launching the inaugural Santa Barbara Wine Week, in which 33 establishments around the county are pouring $10 glasses of wine for the next seven days. Special thanks to our presenting sponsor, Visit the Santa Ynez Valley, and our two supporting sponsors, Downtown Santa Barbara’s Live Art & Wine Tour and Saunters & Sips, the April 29 tasting event hosted at the Presidio by the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance

What follows is a roundup of the participating businesses, the wines being offered, and upcoming events to keep wetting our whistles. We’re also publishing a feature story about the many new grapes being planted in Santa Barbara County right now, and why that matters for the industry’s future. 


Wine Week Fun to Come

Sipping Sessions @ Saunters & Sips: Join the Santa Barbara Independent’s resident wine expert Matt Kettmann in conversation with Sta. Rita Hills winemakers about sparkling wine and chardonnay during the Saunters & Sips event at the Presidio this Saturday, April 29, 2:30-5:30 p.m. 

The sparkling wine panel at 3:15 p.m. will feature Laura Roach (Loubud), Aaron Walker (Pali), Norm Yost (Flying Goat), and Dan Kessler (Kessler-Haak), and the 4:15 p.m. chardonnay panel includes Peter Hunken (The Joy Fantastic), Lisa Liberati (Sweetzer Cellars), Ben Van Antwerp (Ken Brown), and Kevin Law (Cotiere). 

The panels are a free bonus for attendees to Saunters & Sips, which still has limited tickets available. See staritahills.com/saunters-and-sips.

Los Alamos Flea:  Fundraiser weekend with a focus on regenerative wine. May 5-7, Los Alamos. See losalamosflea.com.

Downtown Santa Barbara Live Art & Wine Tour:  Taste your way around State Street and beyond. May 18, 5:30-9 p.m. See downtownsb.org/events/art-and-wine-tour.

Taste of S.B.:  The second annual weeklong celebration of food and drink in honor of Julia Child, hosted by the S.B. Culinary Experience. May 15-21. See sbce.events/taste-of-santa-barbara.

Behind the Scenes: S.B. Vintners hosts a series of seven talks at multiple wineries. May 19-21. See sbcountywines.com/behind-the-scenes.


Downtown Santa Barbara

Funk Zone

Greater S.B./Goleta/Carpinteria

Santa Ynez Valley

View our interactive map

Downtown Santa Barbara

Andersen’s Danish Bakery & Restaurant:
Cape D’Or Chenin Blanc

“We didn’t know about this South African wine company and have been very happy,” said Charlotte Andersen, who learned about Cape D’Or’s organic chenin blanc from the Western Cape from a family friend. Pair with the State Street bakery’s smoked salmon, chocolate éclairs, or mazariner with marzipan and fresh raspberries. 

1106 State St.

Credit: Courtesy

Empty Bowl
Gourmet Noodle Bar:
Daou Chard & Red Blend

“We have never poured a Paso Robles appellation wine before at Empty Bowl,” said Jerry Lee, who is pouring two wines by Daou Vineyards: the Discovery Collection chardonnay and the Pessimist red blend of petite sirah, zinfandel, syrah, and lagrein. “We wanted to introduce our guests to something different from a nearby appellation.”

38 W. Victoria St., Ste. 109

Frequency Wine Co.:
Viognier–Grenache Blanc

Santa Ynez–raised winemaker Zac Wasserman recently moved Frequency Wine Co.’s downtown tasting room to a large, iconic location on Anacapa Street with a beautiful patio. He’s pouring his “exemplary” blanc, which blends viognier and grenache blanc grown at Zaca Mesa Vineyard, the original “Rhône varietal mavericks of the 1970s.” 

One glass per person. 804 Anacapa St.

Longoria on State:
Nolan Vineyards Mencia &
Clover Creek Pinot Grigio

Founded by Richard Longoria in 1982, Longoria Wine’s new owners Brooke and Lindsey Christian brought the brand to a prominent State Street storefront earlier this year. They’re pouring their inaugural release of mencía — a Spanish grape very new to California that’s grown at Nolan Vineyards in Alisos Canyon — and a pinot grigio from Clover Creek in the Santa Ynez Valley. The mencía is loaded with ripe black cherry, white chocolate, and ocean air aromas, while the pinot grigio offers scents of fresh pear and vanilla blossom and flavors of coconut and banana. 

732 State St.

Opal Restaurant & Bar:
Bishop Peak Pinot Noir & Cambria Chardonnay 

Opal Restaurant & Bar’s award-winning wine list is almost as much of a draw as the globally influenced California cuisine served by the stalwart State Street bistro. Co-owner Richard Yates is highlighting the Bishop’s Peak pinot from the S.L.O. Coast, made by Talley Vineyards, for its “soft cherry and strawberry fruit notes and a pleasantly herbal finish.” For a white, try Cambria’s Katherine’s Vineyard chardonnay from the Santa Maria Valley, where “a judicious amount of oak and a slight buttery note make it an appealing crowd-pleaser.”

Must be ordered with food. 1325 State St.

Credit: Courtesy

Valley to the Sea Winery:
Zotovich Vineyards Pinot Noir

From a cozy nook in the heart of the Public Market, Jamie Savellano works with the neighboring eateries to pair their bites with sips of his Valley to the Sea wines, which are made by Matt Brady at SAMsARA. He’s chosen his Zotovich Vineyards Sta. Rita Hills pinot noir to showcase “because it is our best wine.” Enjoy alongside Corazón’s al pastor taco or Ca’Dario’s ham-and-pineapple pizza. 

S.B. Public Market, 38 W. Victoria St., Ste. 105

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Funk Zone

Bluewater Grill:
Frequency GSM, Dragonette Rosé, & Storm Sauv Blanc

“We wanted to give our guests the opportunity to taste great local wines,” said Autumn Vaughn, who’s pouring Frequency’s Los Alamos GSM, Dragonette’s Santa Ynez rosé, and Storm’s Santa Ynez Valley sauvignon blanc. Explore how they each work with seafood while perched above the bustling corner of Stearns Wharf and Cabrillo Boulevard. 

Must be ordered with food. 15 E. Cabrillo Blvd.

Fess Parker Tasting Room in Funk Zone:
Bien Nacido Chard & Camp Four Roussanne

“Our Bien Nacido chardonnay is one of the most popular wines in our single-vineyard lineup,” said Greer Shull of this wine. “Fess Parker Winery has been lucky enough to work with fruit from this famous vineyard since 1990.” She’s also pouring Epiphany’s Camp Four roussanne, an alternative expression of a rich white grape from the Rhône. 

116 E. Yanonali St., Ste. A

Jaffurs Wine Cellars:
S.B. County Syrah & Bien Nacido Viognier

One of the first urban wineries in Santa Barbara, Jaffurs Wine Cellars celebrates its 29th year in 2023. A blend of top vineyard sites, the Santa Barbara County syrah is “our most popular syrah,” said Jason Carter. He’s also offering their most popular white: viognier from Bien Nacido Vineyard. “That sells out quickly, so don’t miss out!”

One glass per person. 819 E. Montecito St.

J. Wilkes:
Santa Maria Valley Pinot Blanc

J. Wilkes, which was founded by the late winemaker Jeff Wilkes in 2001 and is now run in his memory by Miller Family Wine Company, pours wines right by the beach on lower State Street. The brand is a champion of pinot blanc, which remains relatively uncommon. “Summer in a bottle bursting with flavors of lime and tangerine with bright acidity and a long finish,” is how Jerry Ferraro describes the wine, which pairs well with a charcuterie board.

35 State St., Ste. B

Credit: Courtesy

La Lieff Wines:
San Luis Obispo Sauv Blanc

After years of building her brand, mostly from a remote estate just north of the county line, Gretchen Lieff now pours her wines in this stylish Funk Zone location, where she shares her love for “the earth, its people, land, and animals.” La Lieff Wines’ sauvignon blanc from San Luis Obispo County is whole-cluster pressed, aged in stainless steel, and does not undergo malolactic fermentation, “thereby retaining its freshness and acidity,” said Samantha Macneil. 

One glass per person. 210 Gray Ave.

Margerum Wine Company:
M5 Red Rhône Blend 

The longtime owner of the Wine Cask, which launched dozens of Santa Barbara County brands in the 1980s and 1990s through an annual futures tasting, Doug Margerum left the restaurant business more than a decade ago to focus solely on winemaking. A nod to Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Margerum Wine Company’s M5 Red Rhône Blend is the brand’s signature red wine, in production for more than 20 years. The 2021 combines 44 percent grenache, 31 percent syrah, 14 percent mourvèdre, 6 percent counoise, and 5 percent cinsault into a seamless package. 

19 E. Mason St.

Margerum tasting room | Credit: Courtesy

Municipal Winemakers & Potek Winery:
Good Job Bright Red Blend

Before most of the wine industry ever worried about the next generation of drinkers, Dave Potter attracted millennials with the stylized packaging and creative blends of Municipal Winemakers, and then clicked the more classical fine wine box through single-vineyard expressions at Potek Winery. At both locations, he’ll pour his most popular red blend, the Good Job Bright Red, a combo of valdiguié, grenache, syrah, and counoise sourced from around California.

22 Anacapa St.; 406 E. Haley St.

Pali Wine Co.:
Tower 15 Santa Ynez Valley Syrah & Viognier 

Pali Wine Co. expanded their Funk Zone footprint by opening a “wine garden” in the former Oreana space last year. They’re pouring syrah and viognier from Tower 15, the brand’s sister label. “Our mission under Tower 15 is to bottle bold, inspired, varietally driven wines with grapes from small, family-owned vineyards across California’s Central Coast,” said Madison Steinberg. 

205 Anacapa St.

Pali Wine | Credit: Courtesy

Pearl Social:
Notary Public Santa Ynez Valley Grenache Rosé

This Funk Zone cocktail bar is cracking open bottles of grenache-based rosé by Notary Public. “The wine’s light and dry character makes it the ideal choice for those seeking a crisp and refreshing glass, perfect for enjoying on a warm day,” said Sophia Ramos. “Its balanced taste and easy-drinking nature make it an excellent option for any occasion.”

131 Anacapa St, Ste. B

Rincon Brewery:
Sea Sun Pinot Noir

Rincon Brewery recently reopened and reinvigorated their Funk Zone location under the direction of Mesa Burger veteran Pixie Saavedra. They’re pouring the Sea Sun pinot noir, a wine sourced from across California by the Wagner family of Caymus fame. “A fruit-forward wine, Sea Sun pairs well with our chicken Milanese sandwich,” said Saavedra. 

205 Santa Barbara St., Ste. 1B

Santa Barbara Wine Collective:
Notary Public Santa Ynez Valley Grenache Rosé

A partnership between Acme Hospitality and winemaker Ernst Storm, Notary Public focuses on cab and chenin blanc but also produces this grenache rosé. “This is an exceptional choice for the spring season, boasting a delicate balance of lightness, dryness, crispness, and refreshing flavors that make it an absolute delight to savor,” said Sophia Ramos. 

131 Anacapa St., Ste. C

Credit: Courtesy

We Want the Funk:
Artuke Rioja Tempranillo

Co-owner Ted Ellis was born into wine: His dad made Napa wines in the garage when Ted was a kid and now runs a winery in Ashland, Oregon. He’s showing off the Artuke Rioja, a tempranillo-based red. “Some of the most interesting and innovative wines of Rioja are coming from this small, almost micro-production team,” said Ellis. “This comes from several plots around the village of Baños De Ebro, giving a village character to the wine.” Try it with the wood-fired oysters or “Shroomin’” flatbread.

210 Gray Ave.

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Greater S.B.

The Anchor Rose:
Cordon’s Cuvée Rouge 246

As an homage to her father, second-generation restauranteur Amy Rose opened The Anchor Rose in a prime location overlooking the Santa Barbara Harbor last year. To go with dishes like grilled artichoke and pistachio rack of lamb, she’s sharing Cordon’s Cuvée Rouge 246, a grenache-syrah-mourvèdre blend made by Belgian-American Navy SEAL–turned-winemaker Etienne Terlinden. The view of sailboats at sunset might call for a second glass.

With appetizer only. 113 Harbor Wy., Ste. 180

Anchor Rose | Credit: Courtesy

Bossie’s Kitchen:
Turning Tide Chenin Blanc–Verdelho

“Winemaker Alisa Jacobson’s passion and commitment to environmentally conscious and sustainable farming is just one of the ways that make Turning Tide a standout,” said Christina Olufson. She suggests pairing the “refreshing, crisp acidity” of this chenin blanc–verdelho blend with specials such as grilled shrimp with lemongrass curry, mussels and clams bucatini with crispy pork belly, or halibut with spring vegetable risotto.

Must be ordered with food. 901 N. Milpas St.

CAYA Restaurant:
Foxen Rosé, Sandhi Chard, & Mallea Rhône Red

This recently rebranded restaurant inside The Leta Hotel on Calle Real in Goleta is pouring Foxen’s rosé of pinot noir; a chardonnay by Sandhi, the Lompoc winery run managed by Sashi Moorman and Rajat Parr; and a Rhône red blend by Mallea, a partnership between grape farmer Erik Mallea and winemaker Justin Willett. 

5650 Calle Real, Goleta

Good Land Wine Shop & Bar:
Babcock Clairette Blanche

Wine shop owner Doug Trantow, who opened his spot near the 154-101 interchange in 2022, is showing off Babcock Winery’s take on this Rhône variety that’s quite rare in California. “Its freshness combined with nutty richness captivates the palate,” said Trantow. 

4177 State St.

Good Land Wine Shop | Credit: Courtesy

Rincon Brewery:
Sea Sun Pinot Noir

Rincon Brewery recently reopened and reinvigorated their Funk Zone location under the direction of Mesa Burger veteran Pixie Saavedra. They’re pouring the Sea Sun pinot noir, a wine sourced from across California by the Wagner family of Caymus fame. “A fruit-forward wine, Sea Sun pairs well with our chicken Milanese sandwich,” said Saavedra. 

5065 Carpinteria Ave., Carpinteria

SAMsARA Wine Co.:
Cuvée d’Inspiration Syrah-Grenache Blend

Goleta’s wine game got serious when SAMsARA started making wine in a Calle Real warehouse, and they’re still serving the Los Olivos crowd as well. “Although we generally focus on single-varietal wines, our wine club members asked for a Rhône-style blend and we said, ‘Will do!’” explained Lily Hays of the Cuvée d’Inspiration syrah-grenache blend. “We love this wine because it brings the savory elements of syrah and the bright fruit and lovely texture of grenache together in a full-bodied yet energetic expression of a cool-climate Rhône blend.”

6485 Calle Real, Ste. E, Goleta

Credit: Courtesy

Vino Divino Wine Experience:
Austin Hope Cab

This neighborhood wine shop at De la Vina and Mission streets is a great place to find new wines from around the world, both to take home and enjoy by the glass while chatting with owners Craig and Bonnie McGinnis. They’re presenting the Austin Hope cabernet sauvignon from Paso Robles, which Bonnie calls a “unique masterpiece,” with “enticing aromas of fresh black cherry and a slight smokiness that fills your glass.” 

One glass per person. 2012 De la Vina St.

Yellow Belly Tap:
Foxen Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

Though better known for beers that go great with burgers, Yellow Belly Tap serves many regional wines as well, including this Santa Maria Valley pinot by Foxen Vineyard. “We’ve been wanting to add this wine to our list for a while, so this is a great chance to showcase it!” said Tracy Clark, who appreciates Foxen being SIP (Sustainability in Practice) Certified. “This is such a tasty pinot coming from Santa Barbara County.”

2611 De la Vina St.

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Santa Ynez Valley

Brander Vineyard:
Los Olivos District Rosé 

Crafted by Fred Brander, whose winery was founded in 1975, and longtime winemaker Fabian Bravo, this pale-hued rosé is a unique blend of 41 percent cabernet sauvignon, 37 percent merlot, 15 percent syrah and 7 percent cabernet franc, all grown in Los Olivos District, which Brander himself spearheaded. 

2401 N. Refugio Rd., Santa Ynez

Clean Slate Wine Bar:
Bocce Ball Wines

This wine bar and restaurant is serving six different Bocce Ball wines: the Bocce Bubbles blanc de blancs California sparkling; Good Kisser Santa Ynez Valley rosé; Kiss the Jack Santa Ynez Valley, a blend of viognier, chardonnay, and sauv blanc; Monkey Around pinot noir–montepulciano blend; Cienega Valley sangiovese; and Volo Shot Central Coast cabernet sauvignon. They’re also offering two-for-one $20 flights, making each flight $10.

448 Atterdag Rd., Solvang

Hitching Post 2:
Hitching Post Pinot Noir & Chenin Blanc

As the face of all things Hitching Post, Frank Ostini looms legendarily over both burning-oak barbecues and oak-barreled bottlings. His Cork Dancer pinot noir is “an elegant expression of red and dark fruits with earthiness” from vineyards in Santa Maria, Los Alamos, and the Sta. Rita Hills, while the Forerunner chenin blanc honors pioneering vintner Louis Lucas. “This is a fun expression of easy-to-enjoy fruit with an exciting backbone of crisp acidity,” said Ostini. Both go well with the property’s mountain and, this year, river views.

406-420 E. Hwy. 246, Buellton
hitchingpost2.com; hpwines.com

Kaena Wine Company:
Tierra Alta Grenache & Grenache Rosé

“Hawai‘i Mike” and Sally Sigouin honor his island heritage in their grenache-focused brand, which they share in both the quaint cottage setting of Los Olivos and ranch-style on grassy grounds on Highway 246 just west of Solvang. They’re pouring Kaena Wine Company’s grenache from Tierra Alta Vineyard in Ballard Canyon and the grenache rosé from across the Santa Ynez Valley. “Both of the wines are true expressions of varietal and terroir of the sites they are grown,” said Sally. 

800 E. Hwy 246, Solvang; 2890 Grand Ave., Los Olivos

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café:
Cabernet Sauvignon–Syrah Blend

The longtime lunch and dinner standard for winemakers and wine lovers, the Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café is owned by Sam and Shawnda Marmorstein, who also produce wine from their certified organic Bernat Vineyard. “This is our fun wine, the wine we get to experiment with as opposed to the straight varietal-based wines we’ve become known for,” said Shawnda of the cab-syrah blend, which offers aromas of cinnamon, cola, plum, and blackberries with an acidic backbone on the palate. Pair with grilled meat or hot beef stew.

Must be ordered with food. 2879 Grand Ave., Los Olivos

Credit: Courtesy

SAMsARA Wine Co.:
Cuvée d’Inspiration Syrah-Grenache Blend

Goleta’s wine game got serious when SAMsARA started making wine in a Calle Real warehouse, and they’re still serving the Los Olivos crowd as well. “Although we generally focus on single-varietal wines, our wine club members asked for a Rhône-style blend and we said, ‘Will do!’” explained Lily Hays of the Cuvée d’Inspiration syrah-grenache blend. “We love this wine because it brings the savory elements of syrah and the bright fruit and lovely texture of grenache together in a full-bodied yet energetic expression of a cool-climate Rhône blend.”

2446 Alamo Pintado Ave., Los Olivos

Credit: Courtesy

Sideways Lounge:
Hitching Post Big Circle Syrah

Located alongside Highway 101 on the same grounds as the Sideways Inn, the Sideways Lounge is a popular hangout for Buellton residents and visitors alike. “Our hotel and lounge have a great partnership with the Hitching Post, especially because of the Sideways movie connection, so we thought it would be a great fit,” said Gabby Senne. “The syrah goes great with our Lompoc Link or BBQ wings!”

114 E. Hwy. 246

V Lounge:
Alma Rosa Chardonnay

Escape to the Vinland Hotel in the western edge of downtown Solvang, where Alma Rosa sponsors one of the suites. The V Lounge honors that partnership by pouring the winery’s Sta. Rita Hills chardonnay. “This wine is perfect on a sunny Solvang day,” said Jennifer Nelson. 

1455 Mission D., Solvang

The Victor Restaurant and Bar:
Lucas & Lewellen Pinot Noir

Overseen by Chef Beto Huizar, The Victor is inside of The Genevieve, the recently rebranded Santa Ynez Inn. They’re pouring a Santa Barbara County pinot noir from “The Victor Collection,” made exclusively for the restaurant by Lucas & Lewellen. Pair with Huizar’s cedar plank salmon, roasted in their Josper charcoal oven. “It’s our best-selling entree since opening,” said Leslie Inlow. 

3627 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez

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