Santa Rita Hills, Los Olivos
07.05.2013 - 07.05.2013 88 °F
Foley Estates Vineyard and Winery is the fruition of financier Bill Foley's dream to produce world class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir near his Santa Barbara home.
I prefer smaller, less commercial wineries but since my friend is a wine club member we decided to stop by Foley. Overall, the wines were decent (my favorite was the Pinot Noir), the winery was beautiful and our pourer Jason was very friendly. There was a large party when we arrived (60 or so guests who were in town for a wedding) so this winery would be a great option for large group tastings.
Tastings begin at $10
Quick stop at OstrichLand in Solvang. Here's a fun fact: Ostriches grow a foot per month until they reach 8 or 9 feet tall!
Fees: $4 Entrance, $1 Feed
Founded in 1972 by father and son, Leonard and Brooks Firestone, Firestone Vineyard has enjoyed 35 years of family stewardship. Recently, so that they might concentrate on their burgeoning beer business and smaller Curtis Winery, the Firestone family decided to sell their iconic winery.
In doing so, they turned to fellow Santa Barbara Vintner Bill Foley as the logical next shepherd for the famous property. As the Firestone’s identified earlier on, Bill, too, recognized Santa Barbara County as the ideal location for the production of world class wines. Bill has vowed to continue the Firestone tradition in striving for the very best in vineyard management and cutting edge winemaking discipline.
Firestone is another commercial winery but I have always enjoyed coming here. The wines and service were both good. The tasting room does get packed but we lucked out and it wasn't very crowded when we were there. As for the tasting, I did the reserve tasting and my favorite was the Syrah.
Another reason to check out Firestone are their wine tours and events. They offer free winery tours where they explain the history of the winery and the wine making process. They also have their Summer Concert Series on Fridays where they have live music, local food and wine specials (2 for 1 on some of their bottles of wine). You can also picnic during the concert and the best part - the concert is free!
Tasting $10; Reserve Tasting $15
Established in 2005, Demetria Estate is a family owned winery. Our goal is to produce wines of distinction and character rivaling those of the world's greatest wineries.
Several years ago my friends and I went for a tasting at Demetria and I've been hooked ever since. This is by far the most picturesque winery in the area. It reminds me of being in Tuscany. The best part of their tasting is that they serve you outside, instead of the tasting room so you can picnic and take in the scenery while you taste.
My favorite wines from Demetria are the 2010 "North Slope" Syrah and the 2010 Cuvee Constantine. I still have a bottle of the 2007 "North Slope" Syrah and I'm looking forward to comparing the two vintages.
I would be perfectly content spending the entire day here. Wine, live music, picnic and beautiful surroundings. I couldn't ask for anything more.
Tasting $15; Tastings by appointment
The genesis of our name: Caritas: charity (syn. philanthropy), an affection for giving to humanity [Latin] Vin: wine [French] Caritas + Vin: blending wine with philanthropy— Carivintâs Blending Wine with Philanthropy
Such a cute wine bar in the heart of Solvang. I enjoyed their wines but what I liked most was that a portion of their profits are donated to non-profit groups. The labels on their wines reflect a different dog breed and they mainly support animal charities. These wines would make a nice gift for an animal lover.
Stop by if you're in Solvang and if you're hungry after your tasting, there's a delicious Italian restaurant across the street (Cecco Ristorante).
I would recommend all the places listed above except for the ostrich farm, that I could have gone without. If you have kids, you should stop by and see the ostrich; however, if you're in town to wine taste, skip the ostrich and head straight to the wineries.