Easy Weekend Trips | Santa Ynez Valley, California

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Northwest of Santa Barbara you’ll find the Santa Ynez Valley, widely known for its 120+ wineries. The area is comprised of five unique towns that you’ll want to explore: Solvang, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, Buellton, and Ballard. Quaint towns, hills of vineyards, and exceptional dining experiences make the Santa Ynez Valley a great option for a quick getaway.

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Fess Parker Wine Country Inn

Fess Parker Wine Country Inn is located in Los Olivos, just a ten-minute drive south from the well-known Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard. The property features beautifully decorated rooms, a full spa, and The Bear and Star, a brand new restaurant specializing in ranch cuisine. Their Taste Los Olivos Package allows you to enjoy the area’s best food and wine! It includes luxury accommodations for two nights, breakfast each day, one lunch for two at Los Olivos Café, one dinner for two at The Bear & Star, and complimentary wine tasting at the Parker Family tasting rooms as well as eight other tasting rooms in Los Olivos.

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Explore Los Olivos

Fess Parker Wine Country Inn’s central location in Los Olivos puts you within walking distance of over 30 tasting rooms as well as some amazing restaurants. You’ll want to pop into the Coquelicot Tasting Room, where their incredibly friendly staff will be happy to pour you tastes of their best varieties and chat with you about them. At Artiste’s tasting room, which mimics an art studio, you can try wines and do some painting and drawing at the same time. Wine isn’t the only thing to taste in Los Olivos – at Olive Hill Farm, you can sample gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars in flavors like sundried tomato, cilantro, pomegranate, and pumpkin spice.

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Trattoria Grappolo

Cap off a day of wine tasting with a fresh, delicious Italian meal at Trattoria Grappolo in Santa Ynez. We like the Tortelloni Burro e Salvia, a house made ravioli filled with spinach, ricotta, and Parmesan in a butter sage sauce. For dessert, go for the Crostata di Mele. It’s a caramelized apple tart topped with vanilla gelato, the perfect end to a rich meal.

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Demetria Estate

Demetria Estate offers one of the best wine tasting experiences in the Santa Ynez Valley. Unlike other wineries that rush the tasting and require you to return to the counter for each taste, at Demetria you can sit outside in the shade, admiring the view of the vineyard while the staff drops by periodically to refill your glass. The winery is family-owned and uses sustainable, biodynamic farming practices to produce high-quality wines. Demetria requires appointments for tasting, so be sure to book one in advance.

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Gypsy Studios

Gypsy Studios elevates the traditional wine and paint event by holding it right in the vineyard! For two hours, you can paint plein air style – outdoors, overlooking hillsides full of grape plants – at a local winery. You’ll have an artist to guide you, so there’s no painting experience necessary! Even better, you’ll get to enjoy local wines while you bring out your inner artist.