Wine tasting in Santa Ynez travel blog

The four of us on Santa Barbara pier

The beach opposite our hotel in Santa Barbara

Walkway along beach to our hotel in Santa Barbara

Bridlewood Winery

Entrance to Firestone Vineyards

Traveling along Zaca Station Road

Signs marking the many wineries along Zaca Station Rd, south of Santa...

View of our hotel room at Mandalay Beach

View of the Pacific Ocean from our hotel room at Mandalay Beach

We went with our neighbors (Schemhl's) to visit some of the wineries around Santa Barbara, CA. We flew into LAX on Thursday night and drove up to a lovely resort in Santa Barbarba, The Fess Parker Doubletree Hotel, which is located right on the Pacific Ocean in downtown Santa Barbara. This meant that one could walk to see a lot of the downtown wineries or go shopping.

Santa Barbara has a lovely pier at the end of the main street, with a beautiful view of the hills surrounding the city (see photo 1)

. There was a nice walkway between the pier and our Doubletree hotel (see photo 2 & 3) with lots of boats moored just off the sandy beach


We traveled up to the Santa Ynez valley and sampled some of the wines around Santa Ynez (Gainey Vineyards with a lovely pinic area) and Los Olivos (Bridewood Vineyard)

. [Photo of Bridlewood Vineyard attached]. We then drove over to Lompoc to spend the nice in a nice Embassy Suites. The next day we drove up into the Foxen canyon area along Zaca Mesa Road outside Los Olivos (south of Santa Maria) and visited Fess Parker, Zaca Mesa, and Firestone Wineries (see photos)

. Another day we visited Lafond Winery and Sanford Winery along the Santa Ynez River outside Buelton. Each day we would have a nice pinic lunch with a bottle of local wine and some ham and cheeze on some sourdough bread.

One disappointing feature of these wineries is the $10. tasting fee that seems almost universal. Over the many years we have done this type of trip, we have seen in change from a few dollars to $5. back to free tasting, and now to $10. The latter is just too much for the small samples they provide, especially since the cost of an entire bottle is about that fee.

Beginning our return back to LAX, we traveled down along the coast highway and had a nice picnic lunch at a Calif. State Park where we could eat right on the beach with a lovely view of the Pacific. We continued driving down to Oxnard, and spent two nights at the Embassy Suites hotel at Mandalay Beach (see photos)

. This was a beautiful resort hotel right on the Pacific ocean with big rooms and a great view of the ocean and the Channel Islands. At the end of our second casual day on Mandalay Beach we drove back to LAX for our return flight home.

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