Santa Barbara Weekend

Last weekend Dan’s parents were nice enough to offer to watch the kids so we could get a weekend away. We decided to go to Santa Barbara for a wine tasting weekend. We booked a wine tasting tour with Captain Jack’s Santa Barbara Tours. They have a deal with the Ramada Inn, which gets you a 15% discount off your stay when you book a tour with them, so that is where we stayed. We left on Friday around 6 pm and arrived at our hotel around 11 pm. We stopped in Thousand Oaks to have dinner. We had no idea where to go to eat and after meandering around for a while, ended up at a TGI Fridays.

The next morning we had breakfast at our hotel and were picked up for our tour around 9:30. The tour company picks you up at your hotel and brings you back at the end of the tour. It was very nice not having to worry about driving, especially when going on a wine tasting tour. The first place our tour guide, Rob, took us was Gainey Vineyard. We tasted several wines there and ended up buying a Riesling for ourself and a “Recession Red” for Dan’s Dad. The Recession Red is only made in recession years and hasn’t been bottled since 1984.

After our wine tasting, we took a tour of the winery. They have a demonstration vineyard set up that shows several different trellising systems. They explained the different systems and where they are utilized.

We were then shown the stainless steel fermenting tanks and learned all about wine fermenting.

It was very interesting to see the frozen tank, which is how they stop the fermentation process.

The tour then moved on the barrel room, where we learned about different barrels and their uses.

The tour ended in the bottle resting room, where they store the wine after it has been bottled to recover from the trauma of being placed in the bottles. I knew next to nothing about any of this before our tour, it was so interesting to learn about it!

The next stop on our tour was Olive Revolution for an olive oil and vinegar tasting. I never knew you could get so many different flavors of olive oil and vinegar. We ended up buying a bottle of the Santa Ynez Valley Mediterranean Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it tastes very peppery, due to the types of olives used to make it. I can’t wait to use it in cooking. We also bought a small jar of their roasted almonds, which were so good. They are roasted with greek seasonings and are highly addictive.

We headed off to Bridlewood Winery next.

This winery used to be a rehabilitation facility for injured horses. They still have some horses on the property and they also have a gorgeous lake with a waterfall. We tasted several wines here. They are know for their Syrah, which I did like, but we purchased a Chardonnay that I liked better. After doing our tasting, we were able to go and see the horses and lake.

Next we had lunch at The Vineyard House, which was enjoyed by everyone. We then headed off to the final wine tasting of the day at Carhartt Vineyard’s “World’s Smallest Tasting Room”. Carhartt Vineyards is a small family owned business. The owners, Mike and Brooke Carhartt, run the tasting room themselves. They were such interesting people who were happy to answer any and all of our questions. After tasting several blends, we ended up purchasing the “Chase the Blues Away” Rose. The wine is named after their son, Chase, who is in the AG-business/Viticulture program at Cal Poly.

After a lovely drive from Santa Ynez to Santa Barbara, Rob dropped us off back at our hotel around 3:30 pm. Since we still had a few more hours of sunlight left in the day, we decided to go check out the Santa Barbara pier.

We walked out on the pier and enjoyed the views. It was pretty chilly and windy though.

There were some sort of sailing race going on that day too. It was fun to watch the sail boats racing.

After visiting the pier, we drove by the Santa Barbara Mission and then headed off to find a place to eat dinner. We ended up all the way down in Carpinteria at Clementine’s Steak House. It is a small family run restaurant and it was fabulous! I had the steak and Dan had the swordfish. Both meals came with soup or salad, the entry with a side and a a slice of pie you picked from a selection of homemade pies made that morning. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommended checking this place out.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and checked-out. Before leaving the hotel room, I snapped a few pictures of the view from the balcony. Here’s one of them.

We then drove around UCSB for a while. It is a lovely campus right by the beach. Then we headed back to orange county. We took scenic PCH from Malibu to Santa Monica, then jumped back on the freeway. We had lunch at the In-N-Out in Long Beach then drove home. The kids were excited to have us back home. They had all behaved while we were gone and hopefully Dan’s parents will offer to watch them again some weekend.