The only thing I love more than a good itinerary is a good wine tasting. For all my LA ladies who have yet to explore the Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara, what are you waiting for?! It’s close enough for a day trip, but far enough to make you feel like you really got out of the hustle and bustle of LA.
Santa Ynez is home to more than 100 wineries and a lot of them are family owned. More than one million cases of wine are produced in this region annually, including popular varietals like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon.
Because Type A is the way to be, enjoy this loose but structured itinerary to ensure your day is filled with enjoying good wine with good friends, instead of stressing with last-minute planning.
9:00 a.m. Depart LA
11:00 a.m. Arrive in Santa Ynez
11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Gainey Vineyard in Santa Ynez is the first and best stop. Their wine is delicious and the grounds of the vineyard are breathtaking no matter what time of year you visit. Do the tour to learn about wine making, see where they make it, and learn the history of the family-owned vineyard. Some tastings are offered in a beautiful, straight-out-of-a-movie or wedding video barn on the back grounds of the property. If you’re lucky enough to snag a tasting there (only offered on rare occasions and for events), you’ll hop in an open-air Jeep and a member of their staff will drive you to that portion of the property. Best wines: Well besides everything, the Riesling is to die for, and I’m not even a Riesling person. In fact, members of their wine club have the option to choose from a selection of reds, a combination of reds and whites, and an all-Riesling option.
1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Bridlewood in Santa Ynez is only seven minutes from Gainey. Most people here bring a picnic lunch to eat on the grounds which look like a movie set meets ideal wedding venue. You could easily spend the whole day there exploring their grounds. Their tasting room staff is some of the friendliest I’ve ever encountered. They’re very knowledgeable about wine, patient with questions, and have lots of interesting stories. Best wines: I rarely come home from Bridlewood without a bottle or two of their Cabernet Sauvignon.
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sunstone Winery. This is where Lauren Conrad got married, so you know it’s legit (and have probably already seen photos of how gorgeous it is). This is about 10 minutes away from Bridlewood. Their tasting room is on the smaller side, so either bring your tastings outside and enjoy the afternoon sun on their gorgeous patio. They sell some of the most delicious olive oil I’ve ever had, which coupled with a baguette for dipping, makes for a perfect afternoon snack to cap off the day before hitting the road back to Los Angeles. Best wines: Maybe it’s the fact that I always end up at Sunstone to finish up the day, or maybe I’m just partial to their whites, but their rose and sauvignon blancs are my favorite. What’s better than sipping a crisp, refreshing glass of wine in the sunshine to cap off a fun day with your girlfriends?