Santa Barbara Wine Country: Part One

When most people think of California Wine Country they usually think Napa and Sonoma Valleys. But there are more wine regions in California than you may think. I had the pleasure of spending time in Santa Barbara Wine Country as part of a blogger/influencer trip coordinated by Emily Martin of The Jetsettting Fashionista and Emily Martin Communications & Events

Emily, along with Lacey Fussel and Lisa Gerbac of Muse Wine Marketinghosted several bloggers for a 48-hour adventure tasting great wine, fabulous food and taking in the sights in Santa Barbara Wine Country.  I was delighted to be included and couldn’t wait to visit a California Wine County I had yet to experience!

Thankfully, Bill was able to join me for this fun weekend. We left early the morning of the first day. We planned to arrive with enough time to have lunch and do a little sightseeing in the area before checking into our hotel and meeting up with our group.

SOLVANG

We decided to visit the charming town of Solvang. It had been many years since we spent time at this Danish-settled village with lots of windmills, pastry shops and flower gardens. We arrived late morning and walked around the village,  working up an appetite for lunch.

Since I knew we’d be in the car for several hours, as well as walking around exploring, I dressed comfortably, but of course I still wanted to look stylish. I wore jeans, light gray suede booties, a long-sleeved top by Covered Perfectly and a Stella Carakasi jacket from the Resort 2017 Collection.

We checked out three or four restaurant menus before deciding on Bacon & Brine. It had such an an appealing and interesting menu with lots of locally grown and sourced fare.

We ordered the Fried Brussels Sprouts and they were truly the best Brussels sprouts we have ever tasted. You would think with a name like Bacon & Brine they would be covered in delicious bacon but they weren’t! Instead the Brussels sprouts were fried in sesame oil and topped with ponzu sauce and sesame seeds. I’m going to try making them at home sometime.

MARRIOTT SANTA YNEZ VALLEY

After lunch we drove the short distance to our hotel, the Marriott Santa Ynez Valley. With a friendly and welcoming staff, large and contemporary lobby and bar area, and well-appointed guest rooms, it’s a lovely and convenient place to stay when visiting this wine region.

I thought this little alcove area in our room was so cute and ideal for getting a few things done on the laptop between outings.

We had a knock at the door soon after checking in, and were greeted with a lovely surprise! A tray of snacks, a bottle of wine and some water for our room. What a lovely treat!

Once we got settled and unpacked, we dressed for the evening. I wore my Karen Klein dress, suede booties with tights and a leather choker.  Soon it was time to meet the group and head to the darling town of Los Olivos.

EPIPHANY CELLARS 

Epiphany Cellars is located in downtown Los Olivos and is part of the Fess Parker family of wines. Epiphany focuses on Rhone varietals, most from the Santa Barbara Wine Country. We expereinced a sit-down wine tasting with Eli Parker, son of Fess Parker, founder of Epiphany Cellars and the label’s Brand Visionary.

The outside of the tasting room is quaint and charming while the inside is hip and chic with a retro Mad Men vibe.

I love the orange furniture against the light flooring and walls, as well as the metallic accents and lighting. It was such a fabulous setting!

Epiphany was founded originally as a creative outlet when Parker was winemaking. These days, as Brand Visionary, he’s left that role and given it to Blair Fox, who is the talented and well-known winemaker for both Epiphany and Fess Parker labels.

As an enthusiast of mostly white wines, I loved this 2014 Inspiration from Santa Barbara County. It’s a drinkable and lovely blend of 50% Viognier, 25% Marsanne, 13% Roussanne, 12% Grenache Blanc. Ideal for summer sipping on the patio!

Bubble Shack

Adjacent to Epiphany is the Bubble Shack. Siblings Ashley Parker Snider and Eli Parker created this special tasting room for their line of bubbles. Ashley and Eli collaborated to bring sparkling wines to their customers. Their Fesstivity Blanc de Blanc and Brut Rose from Sta. Rita AVA are their first releases.

While we weren’t able to experience the Bubble Shack during our visit, it’s certainly on my list of things to do next time!

BALLARD INN & RESTAURANT

After our visit to Epiphany Cellars concluded, it was time to eat! We went to The Ballard Inn’s restaurant, The Gathering Table. What a romantic and relaxing atmosphere! Candle lit tables, a roaring fire in the dining room’s fireplace, and only 12 tables in the entire restaurant. Chef Budi Kazali, named CCM’s Ultimate Chef, has been the owner of this beautiful property since 2004.

I sat with Emily and two other influencers at the end of our long table. We decided to order several plates to share – cheese fondue, fresh oysters on the half shell, a salad and hamachi. Delicious, fresh and flavorful!

Not wanting to miss out on any desserts, we ordered three to share. All three were delectable but I loved their bread pudding!

GAINEY VINEYARD

Photo Courtesy of Gainey Vineyards

The next morning, we had breakfast in the hotel before heading to Gainey Vineyard for a tour and tasting. It was such a gorgeous winter day with sunshine and blue skies.

I was excited to see that Gainey has such an expansive and picturesque ranch with vistas as far as the eye can see.

If you look closely, you can see the Santa Ynez Mountains in the background were capped with a bit of snow.

We would be taking a tour of the property – not by foot but by jeep. What an adventure! Cloud Climbers Jeep and Wine Tours provided the jeeps and the skilled drivers. I love the yellow color of the jeeps – my favorite!

Our guide and driver was Michelle. She was so friendly! Doesn’t this seem like such a fun job to have?

We stopped by a vineyard to learn more about Gainey Vineyard.  It’s a family owned winery that was established in 1984. Gainey makes small quantities of high-quality wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling,  and Cabernet Sauvignon Wines.

The Gainey family owns three properties in two appellations – Santa Ynez and Sta. Rita Hills – and is able to produce enough fruit to produce 18,000 cases of estate wines each year, meaning they don’t buy grapes from other growers.

Driving up and down hills, through some mud and over rocks, we explored a good portion of the ranch. When we came upon a rustic barn, we stopped for a break and some photo opportunities. The Gainey’s use this barn for events, like weddings. Wouldn’t this be such a great place to get married?

It was a lovely and peaceful place to walk around. The day was sunny but a little cool – it was wintertime after all –  so I wore a sweater poncho, a long-sleeved tee, jeans tucked into tall cognac boots and my wool Australian Outback hat. For jewelry, I wore a beaded necklace with a tassel necklace from KayandStar (similar).

I ventured into the barn with Amy Lieberfarb who is a friend and fellow blogger, also from a Sonoma Valley. Amy has the blog Sip on this Juice and does the wildly popular weekly wine discussion on Twitter called Sonoma Chat (#sonomachat).

Photo Courtesy of Gainey Vineyard

Once the jeep tour was complete, we went back to the winery and visited the barrel room.

 

Once there, we had the chance to sample a few more Gainey Vineyard wines right out of the barrel!

Stay tuned for Part Two of the Santa Barbara Wine Country adventure!

Have you ever visited Santa Barbara Wine Country?

Disclosure: My hotel room, meals (except for Bacon & Brine) and wine tasting experiences were part of the blogger/influencer trip and I was not charged. All opinions expressed here are my own, as always. 

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Welcome to March’s How I Wear My, the 68th post in this long-running monthly fashion series!

With St. Patrick’s Day quickly approaching, Jill of Everything Just So and I thought it would be fun to focus March’s “How I Wear My” on any accessory or item of clothing that could be considered a Lucky Charm 🍀 whether you attribute actual luck to it, or it just brings you joy every time you wear it.

Let’s get right to it and see how March’s participants style their Lucky Charms, starting with my How I Wear My partner, Jill!

Jill of Everything Just So

“I consider this Hermès scarf a lucky find. The pattern is called ‘Faubourg by Night’ by Benoît-Pierre Emery and I found it several years ago in perfect condition at Ann’s Fabulous Finds. I love the pattern and the different tones of gray and beige on black, as well as the scarf’s contrast hem. I, of course, wore the scarf with my trusty L’Wren Scott sunglasses, which were another lucky find, this time from eBay.”

Malia of Style by Malia

“My Chanel Brooch is a success symbol to me. I set a goal for my business in 2016 and this was the reward for achieving it. Now every time I need a bit of courage in business I wear it.”

Yvonne of Funky Forty

“I love wearing bracelets as lucky charms. Often I wear my little Tiffany bracelet but recently whenever I wear yellow, I wear this favourite newish charm bracelet of mine made by my favourite jeweller here in Zurich.”

“I can’t wait until Spring and Summer really come as then I will be wearing my lucky bracelets matching to each outfit.”

Rena of It’s All Fine. Whatever Tickles the Fancy.

“My good luck charm in this outfit is my moto-style knit jacket that I bought some time last Spring. It hung in my closet for quite a while before I first wore it and now a week doesn’t go by without it being worn. While this jacket may not be a typical ‘lucky charm’, it does make be feel fairly invincible when I wear it so I consider it a wardrobe talisman.”

Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge

“There are certain pieces of jewelry that are so special to me and I wear them often. I have 2 Alex and Ani bracelets that my sons chose for me last Mother’s Day. I also have my ‘Lil Sis’ heart bracelet that my ‘Big Sis’ gave to me for Christmas a few years ago. Her matching ‘Big Sis’ bracelet has an open heart which fits my heart inside of it.

“I also love the powerful message that I get every time I am struggling and I look down at my Mantra Band that reminds ‘You Got This’. I purchased this bracelet and a matching one for my friend Amy when both of our husbands were deployed. And of course, my Jord watch which I acquired from one of the first blogger giveaways I ever won! And my locally-made silver cuffs which sport my blog tag lines ‘On the Edge’ and ‘Rediscover Your Edge’. I love that I can stack all of my special arm decor together!”

Nancy of Nancy’s Fashion Style

“The necklace I am always wearing and you often see it in my pictures. It is a gold necklace with a gold heart. I got it as a present from my boyfriend when we were together six months. This year we celebrate our 25th year together!”

Elizabeth of Midlife Eating Disorder

 “I did a quick head shot wearing my favorite piece, my pearl necklace. It marks the transition for me from boho hippie chick to a more sophisticated style. I guess I have finally grown up, admittedly not without a lot of kicking and screaming. I do like pearls against stark black and wish I could pull off a dramatic dark lipstick with it. Maybe next time but with sunglasses on!”

Ana of Mrs. American Made

“I have a special necklace from 7 or 8 years ago that my son picked out and bought for me from one of his teachers who makes jewelry. I thought it was super sweet of him and he chose the one with my birthstone.

“On the back clasp I attached a tiny gold key from my mother. I wore this necklace every day for many years, but a few years ago I started incorporating other ones into my looks, mostly for the blog. But this one is still the ‘special’ one. I have to add that I wear this with some gold tear-drop shaped earrings from my daughter 😉 not shown here.”

Nicole of High Latitude Style

“As a kid I was taught the fashion rule that green and blue cannot be worn together. Another one was not to wear red, white and blue together. Guess why? I love this lapis and malachite necklace that breaks the green and blue together rule. My husband designed it as a real surprise for Christmas in the early 90s. I like to wear it with pieces in similar colors.”

Jacqueline of Petite Silver Vixen

“This unusual necklace was a gift from my mum-in-law when she visited Chile a few years ago.  She bought it at a local, traditional market, from a stall where they hand made the necklaces.  She doesn’t know what it’s made of but the caramel coloured stone is so beautifully smooth.  Buying jewellery for other people can be tricky as it’s such a personal thing but she thought it would be my style and she was spot on. It’s one of my favourite pieces and I wear it a great deal.  It’s the kind of necklace that you can wear with so many things – dressed up or down.”

Colette of Styled Comfort

“When I wear this brushed gold-colored long pendant I always think of my mother She will be 90 years old in April and gave this pendant to me a few months ago saying ‘isn’t this sort of necklace back in style again?’ Some things never go out of style. This pendant is around 40 years old and still looks great and stylish. Just like my mother :)”

Cheryl of Northwest Mountain Living & Style

“I am wearing a necklace that I have had for many years. It makes me think about all the times I have worn it and all the good luck I have had in my life. It is a one of a kind, made in a little boutique in a very small rural town near where I grew up. I wear it so much I am afraid I will wear it out.”

My Look

For my Lucky Charm look, I chose my black pashmina which has been with me for about 25 years.

I wear it almost daily when the weather is chilly and I will never board a plane without it. Despite having left it behind countless times – in movie theaters, restaurants, friends’ cars and homes – it always comes back to me somehow. I’d say that makes this useful item quite lucky!

I wore my black pashmina with flared jeans, a lilac flounce sleeve top, black choker, simple high-heeled black pumps and a Louis Vuitton clutch.

I hope my lucky pashmina and I can stick together for another few decades!

Thank you to all the stylish participants for sharing their stories about their Lucky Charms! See even more Lucky Charm looks on Jill’s blog, Everything Just So.

For April, we are taking Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2017 out for a spin! Please join us for “How I Wear My: Greenery,” 🌿showing ways in which you style the shade that Pantone describes as “a fresh and zesty yellow-green.”

Send photos to us at [email protected] by April 3, 2017, and be sure to include a description of your outfit, which we will use directly in our posts.

 

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