I don’t come home to SoCal all too often, and when I do usually its just for a long weekend. Most often, I am too busy running around trying to see everyone to actually relax and enjoy the laid-back vibe I oh so love. So when two of my best friends suggested taking a day trip to go wine tasting my eyes lit up at the thought of a) day-drinking, b) enjoying Santa Barbara and c) well uh, day-drinking some more, with lots of quality gossip time!
Los Olivos is located in Santa Barbara County up in the hills in the Santa Ynez Valley. It’s actually about 40 minutes outside of the Santa Barbara you typically know (State Street, the pier, the gorgeous drive along PCH) but its in a beautiful area surrounded by lots of ranches and vineyards. To help give some context, Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch is about 5 miles north. The town was created in the late 1800’s because, in anticipation of a new railroad, many people came and bought land plots in the area. A local rancher first planted about 5,000 olive trees, and thus Los Olivos got its name. The town is best known for its wine-tasting, and the main reason we ventured all the way out there was because of an adorable place that pairs its wine with different flavored cupcakes. How could a girl resist?
The place is called Saarlos & Sons, and it shares a space with Enjoy Cupcakes. The combination of the two together is lethal. $20 will get you a flight of 6 mini-cupcakes and a variety of 6 different reds and whites to pair it with. The name of each wine relates back to various members in the Saarlos family – I enjoyed hearing the quick little anecdotes for each one. However, you should know that they don’t have tasting notes – as they explain it on their website, “Wine, like love, should not be explained, but experienced.” Our fav wine was the pinot grigio, and for the cupcakes it may have been a toss-up between the raspberry morning bun, the snickers, and the chocolate blackberry syrah.
Our next stop was Richard Longoria Wines, mostly chosen because of its adorable garden area. There weren’t any cupcakes this time (we were pretty sugar-out by that point anyway) but we did another wine tasting and chatted in the garden until they kicked us out. My fav was a Spanish red wine they had called Tempranillo. The best part of it was that the woman working there was kind enough to come out to us with each new wine when we were ready – can’t get much better than that on a hot summer’s day!
The town of Los Olivos gets most of its charm from its small size – being just a few blocks, you can walk the length of it in a matter of minutes. However, there’s plenty of places to choose from with wine tasting, and there was even an adorable olive oil tasting spot in the back. The only real downfall of the day came with the killer end-of-the-weekend traffic we hit on the way back. We broke up the drive a bit by pulling off on State Street and having some grub, and then N’Sync and other 90’s pop songs saw us through the rest of the way home. If you are in the Santa Barbara area, I would highly recommend checking out the different vineyards and enjoying some wine tasting yourself. However, if you’re in Santa Barbara there’s a good chance you don’t want to leave the beautiful beach anyway. Yea, you really can’t lose there – just another reason SoCal is soo awesome.