Self-Guided Day Tour of Wine Country In Santa Barbara County, CA
Santa Barbara/Solvang California Wine Tour
by Billie Kelpin
Never been on a wine-tasting tour? Below, you'll find everything you need for your wine adventure in the Santa Barbara/Solvang area in Southern California. You can do this trip in a day leaving early from the Los Angeles area. Better yet, drive up and stay overnight in Santa Barbara or Solvang.
The directions start with the first winery. (You will have to mapquest this first leg of the trip from your home or hotel.) After that, all directions are included!
This is super fun! You will drive through wineries and see all sorts of nature - horses and cows! Don't feel weird about the tastings - the folks that conduct them are gracious workers for the wineries. And don't worry about buying wine - lots of people don't and they expect you that you might not. You will have paid for the wine-tasting, so no worries. So you can buy a bottle of wine if you'd like or just say "Thank you!"
Origin of This Hub
This Hub is actually a Christmas present that my daughter gave to me! A Christmas present, you say? Well, yes. My daughter had a short, wonderful trip from her apartment in Los Angeles to the Santa Barbara/Solvang area several years ago. Because she had limited time, she researched the area carefully and mapped out the wineries that she wanted to see and which were close to each other. Because my husband and I moved to California only a few years ago from the mid-west, my daughter knew that we had never been to a winery before. So for Christmas that year, she simply typed all of the information she had and put it into a nice little booklet for us. None of us have any connection to the wineries chosen; they are merely listed because they were in close proximity to each other, making for an efficient and hassle-free trip. (Added note: I think this is a great idea for a gift to someone you know would enjoy a trip you took. Just type up your the googlemaps or mapquest maps you used, add your own tips and some lovely postcards, and slap it into one of the slide type binders with the transparent covers from your favorite office supply store, and there you go - a present that is thoughtful and meaningful!)
We took the trip. The itinerary worked! I must add, however, that my daughter is a right-brained singer/actor and had to follow the directions very carefully to get to where we were going. The roads are wind-y up in this area, but if you have a navigator to read the directions and be alert to the signs, you'll have a delightful time and will be able to pack in more to your day than if you wandered around alone.
So I raise my glass and toast to your joyful trip.
Follow the Winery Guide
Stop 1 of 4 Rideau
1562 Alamo Pintado Rd.
Directions from Los Angeles :
Rt. onto CA-246E (this will take you through the town of Solvang. But don't stop yet - you'll end up back here later:)
Lt. onto Alamo Pintado Rd.
Rt. to stay on Alamo Pintado
End at 1562 Alamo Pintado
Park and then enter the building - skip the tasting up front and go to the back to the reserve tasting. Tell the person behind the little booth you would like to share one tasting. It will be $15. There is always a little basket of bread on the counters. This is to have in between wines if you like, but you don't have to. Included in all the tastings is the glass - they will put it in a bag for you.
When you're done, have a look around and then move on to...
Stop 2 - Rusack
1819 Ballard Canyon Rd
Directions (from Rideau)
Rt. onto Alamo Pintado Rd.
Continue onto Santa Barbara Ave.
Lt. onto Alamo Pintado Rd.
Alamo Pintado "Rd., turn right (becomes Steele St.)
Continue on to Ballard Canyon Rd.
Turn Rt. to stay on Ballard Canyon Rd.
End at 1819 Ballard Canyon Rd.
Go into the tasting room. You can share a tasting or each get your own. They are $6 each. Have fun. Enjoy the view and don't forget your glass!
Stop 3 - LaFonde - 6855 Santa Rosa Rd. (805-688-7921)
Directions (from Rusack)
Take right on Ballard Canyon Rd.
Sharp rt. to stay on Ballard Canyon Rd.
Rt. onto CA-246
Lt. at Avenue of the Flags
Continue strait onto Santa Rosa
End at 6855 Santa Rosa
Enter the tasting room. Again you can share a tasting or each do your own. A tasting is $6 or $7 each. Check out the local art on the walls, and don't forget your glass!
Now it's time for dinner and window shopping in Solvang
Red Viking Restaurant - 1684 Copenhagen Dr. (805-688-6610)
Directions (from La Fonde)
Go E. on Santa Rosa Rd. toward Avenue of the Flags
Rt. to stay on Santa Rosa Rd.
Merge onto 101 N via ramp on the left (on for only.4 miles)
Take CA-246 ramp
Rt. onto CA-246-E
Rt. onto Atterdag Rd.
Lt. onto copenhapen Dr.
End at 1684 Copenhagen Dr.
Enjoy Dinner. Take a walk. Buy some little wooden shoes. Head back home or grab a hotel in Santa Barbara!
Yea! Wine Tour