Central Coast Wine Trip Itinerary

Lori and I just completed a short trip to the Central Coast of California (Santa Barbara through Paso Robles) to celebrate our anniversary. While more details about each winery will be provided in future posts, here’s the itinerary we followed:

Monday 13 July

Drive from home to Paso Robles
Lunch at Basil, Paso Robles (on the main square)
Chronic Cellars, Paso Robles
Presqu’ile Winery, Santa Maria
Dinner at Succulent Cafe, Solvang
Kronborg Inn, Solvang

Tuesday 14 July

Qupé, tasting and lunch at the winery in Santa Maria (not tasting room)
Mosby Winery, Buellton
Dierberg / Star Lane, Lompoc
Dinner at Industrial Eats, Buellton

Wednesday 15 July

Zaca Mesa, Los Olivos
Foxen Winery, Santa Maria
Lunch at Los Olivos Café, Los Olivos
Harrison Clarke, Solvang
Dragonette Cellars, Los Olivos
Dinner at Ballard Inn, Ballard

Thursday 16 July

Lunch at Cold Springs Tavern, Santa Barbara
Carr Winery, Santa Barbara

For a wine tasting trip like this, I highly recommend the sniff/swirl/spit technique. Although all tasting rooms have dump buckets for extra wine, these can be awkward for spitting, so bring a paper cup (one for each day) for spitting. Doing this will keep you able to drive, keep your taste buds fresher, and leave you with more energy at the end of the day.

Wine on the floor of the hotel room

Wine on the floor of the hotel room

Some of the places we had visited before (including 25 years ago when we lived in the Santa Barbara area), some of the winemakers we had met at the Wine Bloggers Conference last year (WBC posts), some we had tasted wine from at some time in the recent past, and some were chosen just on reputation. We had set ourselves a budget for the wine we were going to buy on the trip, not in terms of dollars but in terms of numbers of bottles. With a budget of 2 cases, we bought 2.75 cases (33 bottles). It will be tight, but I know I can fit the extra 9 bottles into our wine refrigerator.

When we had previously lived in the area, our favorite restaurant was the Cold Springs Tavern. This is a 100+ year old stagecoach stop at the top of San Marcos Pass, between Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez Valley. It looks essentially the same as 25 years ago, which is probably pretty much the same as 100 years ago. They have a reputation for game meats. Lori had the venison sausage burger, which was great. I had the chili sampler, which included cups of their original chili (beef/tomato), pork chili verde, and black bean and game (buffalo, rabbit, venison) chili. Wonderful. One of those rare places that was just as good revisited as it was in our memory.



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  1. Pingback: Santa Barbara Rhônes Revisited | Wine Region Travels With Lori

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