19 DEC 2016: Santa Barbara’s just under 150 kilometres from Los Angeles, with the latter part of the drive along roads which hug the scenic Pacific Ocean coastline. A great escape from the frenzy of Hollywood, it also boasts a world class wine country, made famous by the 2004 film Sideways. The title could refer to the direction the film’s stars take or the direction the terrain takes in that part of California.
For those who don’t want to venture outside of Santa Barbara, there is a convenient Urban Wine Trail. People can buy a pass for $150 and enjoy a one-time free tasting at the 29 wineries on the trail or just use the map as a guide and pay as they go. While there aren’t any vineyards in this downtown scene, there is plenty of good wine.
I chose to concentrate my tastings around the wineries near Anacapa and De la Guerre streets – there were five all next to each other – including my favourite Santa Barbara winery Au Bon Climat and two I hadn’t known about before, namely Margerum (started in 2001) and Jaimie Slone (opened in 2015 by Jamie Slone, a professional race car driver, and his wife Kym).http://urbanwinetrailsb.com
It was a perfect way to end my wine tasting tour of Santa Barbara County.