Santa Barbara wine country

12 03 2008

Our trip in California continued with wine tasting inspired by the film Sideways, but first we checked out Santa Barbara, the town.

After having spent a long time looking at the elephant seals, taking photos and making some short films (I have a problem with the Windows Media Player and have not been able to watch them yet 😩 ), our next stop was Cayucos where we stretched our legs on the pretty boardwalk, which is exactly 100 years older than I (just like the Brooklyn Bridge!) and nipped into a huge antiques shop – didn’t find anything special though.
A walk on the Cayucos boardwalkO on the Cayucos boardwalk

Back in the car I realised that either we buy a new memory card for my camera or we buy a new camera, as I had used too much memory space on the seals! So O finally, he’s been intending to do it for months, bought a new camera! Not too fancy, and definitely not a Canon – even if I wanted to continue with that brand and the Best Buy girl in San Luis Obispo agreed with me (but too expensive according to O), but a Lumix with 8.1 megapixels (my Canon from 2004 only has 4.0)… With the new purchase we could continue our drive down south towards Santa Barbara.

The night was spent in a not very cosy but cheap hotel in Santa Barbara, but we had a great dinner at Enterprise Fish Co – one of those huge restaurants with a fish theme… It felt a bit like a tourist trap but the fish was yummy and my first taste of a Santa Barbara wine was nice. The town felt quite deserted, our hotel was close to the beach but we didn’t see a lot of people around in the evening.
Aquarium in the restaurant Enterprise Fish Co, Santa BarbaraThe aquarium in the restaurant Enterprise Fish Co.

Our breakfast was also good, at D’Angelo Pastry & Bread bakery I had a huge bowl of oatmeal (porridge as I insist on calling it) and a latte that I couldn’t finish (as usual, the coffee sizes are too big in the US).

State Street, Santa BarbaraState Street in Santa Barbara – immaculate and Disneyworld like…

We were up quite early and walked down State Street, one of the main streets in SB. It was a beautiful morning and the town was waking up – the shops had not yet opened, lots of cyclists, the streets were immaculate – in a Disneyworld kind of way, and then the contrast – I have not seen so many homeless people in one place!! At every street corner there were at least a couple of bums, I am not a snob but it just seemed like such a contrast with all the apparent wealth around us. O’s theory was that the life as a homeless person is probably easier in SB than in big and tough LA…
Santa Barbara seen from Stearns WharfView over Santa Barbara and the Santa Ynez mountains from Stearns Wharf.

Our Canadian friends had given us yet another great tip, to have lunch in the Los Olivos CafĂ© in the town with the same name. But first we had to drive there, across the Santa Ynez mountains from Santa Barbara. O was very excited as the landscape reminded him of Spain and his home region of AragĂłn. Before lunch, we decided to start the wine tasting at Consilience, a wine tasting room right in the middle of Los Olivos. In order not to drink too much, we decided to share a glass and fortunately they don’t pour you a lot of each wine   😉 

I have only done wine tasting once before, at Östgöta Nation in Lund (student association) and that was a long time ago. I can’t say that I taste all the different flavours that were described to us, but at least I know if I like the wine or not… Lunch was delicious in any case, and I bought a little booklet called The Sideways Guide to Wine and Life in the cafĂ© – the same place where the two couples in the film have dinner!
The Santa Ynez valley, Santa Barbara wine countryThe Santa Ynez valley – do you see any vineyards?

The Foxen Canyon Wine Trail took us to the Santa Maria Valley and we stopped at 3 different wineries – all which are featured in Sideways! A nice touch to the wine tasting is that they let you keep the wine glass after the session, so we left the wine country with 4 new glasses – to O’s dispair only 3 were matching (he likes matching stuff for the home, I don’t think that it matters too much).
Firestone Winery vineyards, Santa Ynez valleyFirestone Winery vineyard

The Fess Parker Winery is owned by the actor (with the same name) who played Davy Crocket – I had never heard of him!

According to the Sideways booklet, this is where Miles phones his agent and finds out his book is not being published. He drinks from the spit bucket when he is refused another glass…

We prefered the Foxen and the Firestone wineries where the service was more personal and the tasting room felt more intimate.

Firestone is where the two couples have a romantic stroll through the barrel room, and Foxen is where Miles & Jack help themselves to full glasses when the pourer is not looking.

At one point we encountered a group of obviously tipsy, if not drunk, college students – and it wasn’t until they all got “carded” that I thought about the American 21-limit for drinking alcohol… Oh well, I apparently look older than 21 nowadays, which is ok, I think   🙂

I think that we need to re-watch Sideways soon!

Foxen Winery, Santa Ynez valleyFoxen winery tasting room

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10 responses

12 03 2008
saltistjejen

Å vad hĂ€rligt! Ja vinprovning Ă€r kul. Jag Ă€r urdĂ„lig pĂ„ att kĂ€nna och lukta allt man ska men tycker det Ă€r roligt, och alltid hittar man nĂ„got vin man gillar! 🙂
Sideways var en helt underbar film tycker jag!!!!! SÄ ja, för er mÄste vara skoj att se om den nu nÀr ni varit dÀr ocksÄ!
SkĂ„l!! 🙂

12 03 2008
Desiree

Vinprovning Àr jÀttekul och trevligt. Det skulle man Äka pÄ dÄ och dÄ. Jag och C Äkte runt i Tyskland pÄ lite vinprovning en gÄng och det var hur mysigt som helst. HÀftigt att ni fick gÄ i filmen Sideways fotspÄr. Köpte ni nÄgot vin ocksÄ? Super att fÄ tips om olika stÀllen frÄn era vÀnner. Jag tycker jÀttemycket om att lÀsa dina resereportage som sagt. En Lumix lÄter ju toppen. Jag har en Lumix FZ8 som jag Àr helnöjd med. Smutt men man kan ta bra foton.

12 03 2008
petchie

Saltis, man kan kĂ€nna sig lite dum nĂ€r “vinhĂ€llaren” (kallas det för sommelier Ă€ven pĂ„ vinprovningsstĂ€llen?) berĂ€ttar vad man ska kĂ€nna för nga smaker och sĂ„ lĂ„tsas man att jo visst, smakar jag violer… 🙂
Det Àr alltid kul att se om filmer nÀr man har besökt ett stÀlle dÀr filmen utspelar sig och eftersom jag inte kÀnde igen mig lika mycket som O sÄ Àr det nog dags för en liten Sideways-session!

Desiree, det kommer fler vinprovningsberĂ€ttelser – vi testade viner i MEXICO ocksĂ„!! Ja, det blev ett vin frĂ„n Santa Barbara som vi behöll sjĂ€lva och tog med hem, vi hade Ă€ven med till vĂ„r mexicanska vĂ€rd och till vĂ„ra vĂ€rdar i SF.
Jag hade aldrig hört talas om Lumix innan men vĂ„r kanadensiska fotografvĂ€n (som jobbat för J. Oliver!) tipsade oss att de gör bra kameror för ett vettigt pris. Os kamera Ă€r en FS3, den ska vara helt ny tror jag – liten och behĂ€ndig!

12 03 2008
Lotta K

O is right about the homeless in Santa Barbara. It’s the same thing in my immaculate little town. (It;s like a mini Santa Barbara.) A couple of years ago the Los Gatos (that’s where I live) homeless people were protesting that homeless people from other places were coming to town, making life harder for the ‘real’ Los Gatos homeless…

13 03 2008
Annika

SĂ„ underbart. I Sideways fotspĂ„r…Den filmen Ă€r en av mina favoritfilmer. Det lĂ€r ju ligga en “skandinavisk” stad dĂ€r ocksĂ„, Solvang. Kom ni dit?
NĂ„gon gĂ„ng ska jag ocksĂ„ Ă„ka pĂ„ en vintur till Californien…OJ sĂ„ ljuvligt.

Jag har en Panasonic Lumix FZ50, som en SLR men utan “problemet” att byta objektiv. en sk Super-zoom kamera som jag ÄLSKAR!!! Tror nog ni gjorde ett bra köp!!

13 03 2008
petchie

Lotta K, that is so interesting. I can understand that it’s “easier” to be a homeless person in a nice, smaller place than in a big city where life in general is more rough. I guess that because we were up early before the shops had opened, we almost only saw the homeless and no shoppers, and it was such a contrast to the immaculate streets and small-town feel.

Annika, visst Ă€r det en bra film!! Vi bestĂ€mde oss för att inte besöka Solvang – vissa sĂ€ger att det Ă€r en enda turistfĂ€lla, men samtidigt hade det varit kul att se ett mini-Danmark mitt i Californien… Det fĂ„r bli nĂ€sta gĂ„ng!
Det verkar som du har en mer avancerad kamera, super-zoom lĂ„ter perfekt! Än sĂ„ lĂ€nge Ă€r vi mycket nöjda och helt plötsligt har O fĂ„tt ett stort intresse för att ta foton!! Det Ă€r kul att man kan vĂ€lja olika filter som varm, kall etc.

14 03 2008
Lotta

ooo va kul att se bilder fran Santa barbara.. pa den lilla bron cayucos boardwalk har jag ocksa gatt 🙂 Min bĂ€sta kompis bor i santa barbara och Ă€r gift med en amerikan, sa de har blivit nagra trippar dit!!!
Svar pa din fraga: NĂ€ vi ska alltsa flytta hem … aaaaaah 🙂 Sa bilderna Ă€r tagna för att var lĂ€genhetsvĂ€rd ska kunna sĂ€tta ut ananons pa lĂ€genheten… Du far gĂ€rna tillgang till mina skyddade inlĂ€gg om du vill lĂ€sa mer 🙂 Tack iallaall för din goa kommentar! ha de superbra och trevlig helg!!

14 03 2008
Millan

Ah Sideways ar en riktigt bra film tycker jag!! Jatte skoj med vinprovning… jag som alskar vin har aldrig varit pa det faktiskt. Men det finns definitivt med pa listan av saker att gora i framtiden :-).

14 03 2008
petchie

Lotta, vad hĂ€ftigt att du ocksĂ„ varit pĂ„ precis den boardwalken – det var mest av en hĂ€ndelse som vi stannade precis dĂ€r för att strĂ€cka pĂ„ benen!!
Det Ă€r verkligen intressant att ni ska flytta hem, och jag vill gĂ€rna lĂ€sa mer – du kan maila mig lösenordet till min hotmailadress, samma som bloggadressen dvs p-e…
Ha en trevlig helg du ocksÄ!!

Millan, jag hade inte heller varit pÄ mÄnga vinprovningar och man kÀnner sig lite fejk nÀr man stÄr dÀr och nickar och försöker se vÀrldsvan ut, ha ha men det var jÀttekul!

14 03 2008
Lotta

jag mailar 🙂

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