Wineries & Tour Stops
Santa Barbara Wine Country Tours selects some of most unique wineries in the region. Each venue provides an experience that sets it apart from the next, whether it is it’s beautiful outdoor space, knowledgeable pourer, or award-winning varietal. We work with a variety of vintners, all with bottles to please each palate.
We love going to Brander because it feels like you are stepping into a mini-castle. Established in 1975, the Brander Vineyard is the oldest family operated estate winery in Santa Barbara County. Their founder, Fred Brander, gained a passion for the wines in France in the early 1970s. Shortly thereafter he recognized the Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara as an ideal microlimate to produce top-quality Bordeaux varietals. The Brander Vineyard is situated in a kind of viticultural Goldilocks zone with a climate that is ideal for growing and producing the classically-styled, Bordeaux varietals. Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon, varieties for which Fred Brander served as a pioneer in planting, flourish in this area. We often visit The Brander Vineyard on our wine and bike tours, but it is also available upon request.
Vincent Vineyards is known for their wonderful indoor and outdoor seating, friendly service and incredible wine. When you sit outside you are at eye level with the vines and feel completely immersed in the wine-tasting experience. Vincent was established in 2005 and the owner has a multitude of worldly experiences and connections on the walls of the winery. It feels as though you are walking through a museum with a glass of wine in your hand!
Sunstone is an absolute gem in wine country. A boutique winery named after the estate’s exposed sun-dappled shale and stones, visitors find themselves wanting to return again and again. The winery architecture recalls rustic homes and barns in the Provencal countryside complete with stone barrel-aging caves built into the hillside. Winemaker Bion Rice is dedicated to producing world-class Bordeaux and Rhone style wines.
Andrew Murray Vineyards
If you ask locals their favorite red in the valley, be prepared to hear Andrew Murray as a common response. A beautiful tasting room, complemented by lovely outdoor seating (and even games and activities for kids) make Andrew Murray a delightful stop in your tasting experience. They also have delicious chocolates and cheese plates available to pair with your tasting.
This is what wine country is all about. The drive to Rusack takes you through rows and rows of wine grapes, grazing farm animals, rolling hills and more. They also have a vineyard on Catalina Island, one of the Channel Islands off of Santa Barbara’s coast. Many of their staff members have been pouring at Rusack for over 10 years and provide a truly memorable experience for guests. The outside deck overlooks a beautiful valley view.
Fess Parker Winery
Fess Parker’s large winery and beautiful spaces make it a great destination for your group of family or friends. Their beautiful western-style lodge and surrounding grounds make it the perfect location to stroll around and enjoy your favorite glass.
A small and quaint tasting room in the heart of Los Olivos; Dragonette is a family-owned winery and one of our personal favorites. Brothers John and Steve Dragonette and close friend Brandon Sparks-Gillis founded Dragonette Cellars in 2005. Their shared passion for great wine brought them to northern Santa Barbara County where they spent the next several years seeking out extraordinary, cool-climate vineyards and dedicating themselves to careful, patient, minimalist wine-making. They have committed themselves to the ideal of personally handcrafting wines of distinction from the finest vineyard sites in Santa Barbara County. If you are a lover of reds, this is the place to visit. Their pinot’s are some of the very best in the valley!
Epiphany finds its identity and passion in the production of esoteric Rhone-based varietals and blends from some of the finest vineyard designates in California. Sought after by chefs, sommeliers, retail buyers and consumers alike, the Epiphany brand has distinguished itself among the wine cognoscenti as a trustworthy, quality-oriented and forward-thinking wine brand.
From the tree-lined path that escorts you off of the main road and out of the “real world,” to the historic El Alamo Pintado Adobe that serves as our tasting room, to the gentle sounds of rustling vines, live music, and new friends mingling over a glass of wine, the Rideau tasting room experience is unlike anything you’ve had before. In fact, we feel it’s the absolute ideal locale in which to enjoy their wines. Rideau even offers a complimentary tour with every tasting. Their experienced tour guide will take you out to our vineyard where you’ll learn about how we grow our grapes, and into the winery where you’ll learn the fundamentals of wine-making and what makes the process at Rideau so special.
Olive Oil Tasting
We love to break up our wine tastings with a quick stop at Rancho Olivos Artisan Extra Virgin Olive Oil for some delicious olive oil tastings. Rancho Olivos is the only farm in the Santa Ynez Valley where you can taste Artisan Extra Virgin Olive Oil right next to our olive trees. Rancho Olivos is just a quick 10 min walk from some of our favorite wineries in Los Olivos.
Another great tour stop is Clairmont Farm, a family owned lavender farm located in the Santa Ynez Valley in Los Olivos. The fields are beautiful with the backdrop of the Santa Ynez Mountains, which makes for a great photo op! Three hundred year old oak trees dot the grounds and the driveway is lined with olive trees that were planted by the Spanish Missionaries over 175 years ago. Just a few minutes down the road from most wineries, we love bringing guests here to break up their day, check out the farms’ charming lavender shop and experience the enchanting fields.
Located in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, the charming historic town of Los Olivos is home to most of the wineries we visit on our tours. Boasting expansive views of Santa Barbara County’s vineyards and horse ranches, Los Olivos is noted for its love of the arts, wine tasting opportunities, unique shopping, epicurean restaurants, fun festivals, antiques, recreational landscapes, and friendly residents found throughout the village. We like to give our guests some time to explore what this beautiful town has to offer after their wine tastings.
The historic Danish village of Solvang offers the best of the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Barbara wine country in a relaxed and peaceful setting. Solvang is home to many of our favorite wineries such as Rusack, Rideau and Sunstone. In between sips, our guests can visit the local boutiques, restaurants, and famous Danish bakeries. Not only are there over 120 wineries and vineyards in the area to explore, but there are also plenty of dining options including California farm-to-table cuisine. Solvang is a must-see!