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Coastal California: Santa Barbara Wine Country

Nestled in the heart of Santa Barbara County’s legendary vineyards, is the breathtaking Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country.  This region includes the village of Los Olivos, rustic Santa Ynez and the quaint Danish village of Solvang.

We visited the Santa Barbara Wine Country (specifically, the Santa Ynez Valley) on February 9-10, 2011, as part of our Coastal California road trip in celebration of Laura’s 40th Birthday. We stayed at the four-diamond-rated Santa Ynez Inn, which included with our stay a sumptuous full gourmet breakfast, evening wine and hors d’oeuvres, and nightly desserts. Yum.

We fattened up off the Hitching Post’s Oak-grilled 1/2 pound ground sirloin, experienced the unabashed kitsch of Solvang, and—of course—managed to fit in some wine tasting. While we usually “tour” the Foxen Canyon Trail, this time we visited wineries in Lompoc and Santa Ynez.  Our favorites were Meliville (which we’d frequently enjoyed before our visit) and Sunstone (a unknown and pleasant discovery).  Both produce under 8,000 cases a year with very limited distribution (in fact, none in the case of Sunstone). 8,000 cases? Some of our readers can polish that in a good weekend.

Below is a photolog of our visit.  You can click on any thumbnail to expand it and then manually cycle through all the gallery’s images and captions using the arrow buttons.  Alternatively, you can click on the [show as slideshow] link below to initiate an automated slideshow of the entire gallery.

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