Summer is in full swing and it’s time to pair the sweet sounds of live Jazz, Blues and even Classic Rock with your favorite pour! Santa Ynez Valley’s wine country offers a fantastic menu of summer sounds and it’s not too late to sip and savor from them all. Here’s where you can sip to the sounds of Live Summer Concerts in Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country:
Solvang Summer Concert Series – These free, Wednesday evening concerts offer the opportunity to picnic in the park while enjoying great company, delicious food and live music. Concert-goers are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs and fully-outfitted picnics – including their favorite beverages (think local vintners!). Edible delights are available for purchase as is the nearby Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market for stocking up on perfect picnic provisions.
Soirée Thursdays at Refugio Ranch – Visit charming Los Olivos Thursday evenings for Refugio Ranch Tasting Room’s weekly celebration, featuring the best in local live music, food pairings, and wine by the glass specials.
Music on the Patio at Root 246 Solvang is the spot for your favorite songs on this covered patio every Friday evening from 6 – 9 p.m. Happy Hour from 4 to 6:30 p.m., a full menu of craft-based cuisine, one of the most extensive selections of local wines, whiskey and craft beer, and refreshing signature cocktails unlike anything you’ve tried before.
Standing Sun Live – Stop on by, grab glass of Syrah, check out the local food truck options, take a walk through The Gallery, and then take a seat and tap your toes to some great artists in a unique intimate setting. Bands from Seattle to Los Angeles, from Austin to Nashville – and everything in-between are featured at this unique industrial winery.
Sunday Concert Series at Zaca Mesa Winery – The last Sunday of every month features live local music out on their patio from 12-3 p.m. It is free for everyone, so bring your friends, pack a picnic, and enjoy a bottle of wine to enjoy for a great afternoon! Don’t miss the summer season wind down with live music by local artist Sean Wiggins on Labor Day, September 5, from 1-4 p.m.
Jazz & Beyond in the Garden Series at the Solvang Festival Theater –
Wine country ambiance under the oaks in the garden and delightfully diverse music ranging from a Grammy Award winner to the local best, may be just the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon! Wine, beer and snacks available for purchase. Tickets are $30 at the gate.
We can’t think of too many things that pair better with a notable glass of Santa Ynez Valley wine than great live music in a cozy, relaxing venue. Well, perhaps delicious craft food bites and a relaxing place to stay the night would complete the picture, but you can be sure Santa Ynez Valley had that covered too! Complete your perfect sounds of summer getaway with a perfect stay. The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is located just minutes from many of the SYV area wineries and Solvang, so don’t worry. Contact us to find out about our current specials and packages.
Ah, yes, springtime has officially arrived in the Santa Ynez Valley! Located in the heart of sunny California’s Wine Country, Santa Ynez Valley must have been in mind when the phrase “the great outdoors” was coined. From the mountains to the golf courses, SYV is the perfect destination for your springtime getaway.
Did someone say golf? (We did.)
Santa Ynez Valley plays home to two world-class golf courses, Rancho San Marcos and Sandpiper Golf Club. Both offer a challenging, championship-caliber round whilst being set on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
Sandpiper Golf Club was built in 1972 and features rolling fairways, challenging greens, and has been rated by Golf Digest in the top twenty-five public golf courses in the country. Take advantage of our Sandpiper Golf Club Stay and Play Package which includes: deluxe guest room accommodations, green fee, cart fee, drive practice tee, and Titleist rental sets that are readily available.
Rancho San Marcos offers a par 71 and 6,939 yards of pure California bliss, exuding elegance and exclusivity that only private clubs extol. Enjoy our Rancho San Marcos Stay and Play Package that includes deluxe accommodations for two at the SYV Marriot, breakfast for two at Starting Gate Restaurant, 18 holes of golf for two with cart fee included, and Titleist golf club rental upon request.
If golfing isn’t your thing, the SYV also offers parks that are not only beautiful but also historic!
Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park offers some of the last remaining art of the Chumash Native Americans. Located in the shadows of the Santa Ynez Mountains, the sandstone walls of the cave are believed to date back to the 1600s and earlier. For your more classic park adventures, such as swimming, picnicking, surf fishing, and camping, you’ll want to check out Gaviota State Park! The park also plays home to the Gaviota Peak that offers views of the coast and the Channel Islands.
When searching for a Santa Ynez Valley hotel, look no further than SYV Marriot. A place where business meets pleasure, where your senses are indulged and your spirit is renewed, a place where your most pressing decision is shiraz or chardonnay. A mix of countryside charm and modern amenities, the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is designed for an unpretentious Santa Barbara wine country escape. Envelope your senses and renew your spirit in the serenity and beauty of the Santa Ynez Valley.
Beyond the rolling hills of California wine country, there’s a lot of happiness spreading thanks to artisan cheese farms and shops popping up across California. A perfect match to the region’s first love, wine, the specialty of craft of artisan cheese is entering a new era in Santa Ynez Valley.
Image via matchmywine.com
Artisan Cheese in Santa Ynez Valley
So what exactly is “artisan” cheese?
Artisan cheese is made by hand, using the craftsmanship skills of traditional cheese makers. It is the old-school, slow, small-scale creation of cheese.
What makes artisan cheese special?
Each artisan cheese undergoes a specific aging and ripening process in order to achieve certain aesthetics including a more developed flavor and texture. As a result, the cheeses are more complex in their taste and variety, reflecting the environment they were produced in.
Where in Santa Ynez Valley can the trend be found?
A number of businesses, including the recently opened Santa Ynez Valley Cheese Company are proud carriers of artisan cheese. Here are just a few of Santa Ynez Valley’s best options:
Santa Ynez Valley Cheese Company
If you’re not a cheese lover yet, owners Russ and Kristin Collins promise to make you one by the time you leave their newly opened shop! Located in downtown Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Ynez Valley Cheese Company is a new favorite among locals. Currently selling artisan cheese and cured meats, the Collins family has plans to one day produce and sell their own brand of artisan cheese thanks in large part to their own herd of sheep.
Follow SYV Cheese Company on Facebook and read more about their journey here.
Los Olivos Grocery
The Los Olivos Grocery store is perhaps one of the best kept secrets when it comes to artisan cheese in Santa Ynez Valley. Offering an array of cheeses from around the world, the grocery store also has a cheese course available to teach you everything you need to know on how to become a connoisseur.
The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott is thrilled to play host to your California foodie adventures. From wine to cheese, our staff is prepared to help you plan the perfect outings to experience the taste of Santa Ynez Valley. Book our Santa Ynez Valley Grapeline Wine Tour Package for a carefree day in the Santa Ynez Valley hosted by a wine country insider, room accommodations and lots of foodie extras upon arrival in your room.
We’ve officially entered the long and sweet days of summer. There’s something about this season that calls for a slower pace, more time dedicated to simple things and dates with our favorite people. Whether you’re an SYV native or visiting for the week, make this list of events a part of your own summer 2014 in Santa Ynez Valley.
Santa Ynez Valley Dreamin – Summer in SYV
Wine Tasting All Summer with the Summer Pass
Your ticket to wine tastings at 15 premier boutique wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley, the Summer Pass at $40, is perhaps the best deal of the season! No reservation required, pass is good through August 31, 2014.
Fourth of July Festival & Fireworks Show
Sponsored by the Rotary Club of the Santa Ynez Valley, these explosions in the sky are considered the best on the Central Coast. Gates open at 1 p.m. and fireworks begin at 9 p.m. with fun, games and food in between.
Movie Night at Sevtap Tasting Room
Join the fine folks of Sevtap every Thursday for movies and good drinks. Movies range from cartoons to classics, including Casablanca later this month.
Jazz Under the Stars
Every Wednesday, dine under the shade of beautiful trees at The Vineyard House and enjoy the sounds of cool jazz all night long. A different artist or band every week, they’ll keep you coming back all summer.
Blind Tasting Thursdays
At Wandering Dog Wine Bar, every Thursday night is a great foodie adventure as you challenge your palate and learn about wine at the same time!
3rd Annual Santa Ynez Valley Polo Classic
Benefiting People Helping People, join one of the area’s favorite summer events on July 19, 2014. Enjoy the thrill of polo – live and up close, along with a champagne reception and 3-course gourmet lunch. You’re invited to dress for the occasion with creative hats and festive charm.
Summer Concerts in Solvang Park
Every third Wednesday of the month, Solvang Park is filled with the music of the night. Open to the public, the concerts are free so grab your chairs, blankets and picnics and revel in a night of summer air and great music.
Solvang Farmers Market
Every Wednesday, enjoy all things local by shopping at the neighborhood Farmer’s Market.
Movies in Solvang Park
Grab the family and head to Solvang Park this summer on Friday nights for classics of all kinds. Still on the roster for this summer? Despicable Me 2, The Lego Movie, Frozen and Star Trek.
In the Vineyard and on the Farm
Seated beneath the sky and between the vines at Bernat Vineyards, join wine maker Sam Marmorstein, farmers Debby and Shu Takikawa and Chef Chris Joslyn for an unforgettable dining experience this August.
All Farm Dinner at Buttonwoods
Celebrating the farm-to-table tradition and their 8th year of bounty, Buttonwoods Farm, Vineyard and Winery invites you to a dinner under the stars. In true farm-to-table form, all parts of the meal, from arm-raised meat, farm-grown fruits and vegetables to Buttonwood’s famous peaches and award-winning wines will hail from Buttonwoods own land.
28th Annual Los Olivos Quick Draw & Arts Festival
This August, enjoy the arts in Los Olivos! This festival invites you to step into studios, observe talented artists as they work to complete original pieces of work within 1 hour and then sell them to the highest bid during an exciting live auction. Peruse different artists showing and selling original work, listen to live music, and enjoy delicious food and wine served by Chef/Partner Robbie Wilson and his team as well.
The Santa Ynez Valley Marriott appreciates all the best things about summer – and we’re proud to help you experience them all during your stay. You’ll enjoy fabulous coastal weather and breathtaking sunsets as you pedal past miles of vineyards and cattle grazing the gentling rolling hillsides of SYV. Dinner al fresco by our outdoor pool will bring your night to a relaxing close while a sound sleep in one of our Marriott Revive beds will ready you for another day of SYV summer adventure! Book your summer stay now.
There’s no denying the beauty of Santa Ynez Valley. Generations of families have made their home here because of it. Thousands of people visit every year because of it. Even film directors, so delighted with the area, decided to make their movies here because of it. Forever immortalized on the silver screen, here is a brief film guide to Santa Ynez Valley.
Scene It – Movies filmed in beautiful Santa Ynez Valley
Sideways: Perhaps most famous, Sideways is the 2004 Oscar-award winning film by Alexander Payne. Following Miles and Jack (Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church), the movie traipses through California wine country as the men take one last road trip before Jack’s impending wedding. Capturing the Santa Ynez Valley in a tender, evocative way, Payne makes the land a character all its own, masterfully capturing small towns such as Solvang as well as local wineries, Ostrich Land and Gaviota State Beach. Lacing the land through the scenes and emotions of the men’s journeys, the film instantly makes you want to pay a visit, too.
Following the film’s success, fans began making their own journeys to the area to retrace the men’s steps. Maps for self-guided tours are available as well as professionally led ones. And ten years later, a celebration is planned this coming October for the film’s 10th anniversary.
Flying Lessons – A 2010 indepent film, Flying Lessons stars Maggie Grace and Hal Hol Brook as an unlikely pair, both struggling to remember their pasts. Shot solely in the Santa Ynez Valley, local director and producer Derek Magyar chose his home turf for the film because he believed it to be a picturesque canvas. Filming locations included downtown Santa Ynez streets and local spots like Maverick Saloon, Artiste Wine Tasting & Gallery and the Fossemalle Dance Studio. In an interview Magyar says this of the experience of filming in SYV: “The story was not originally written for Santa Ynez Valley but it fit like a glove…Santa Ynez Valley is an incredible place. We couldn’t have done it without the support of the local community.”
Of Mice and Men – The 1992 film of John Steinbeck’s Depression-era classic has roots in the Santa Ynez Valley as well. Filmed in California’s rugged countryside, the rolling hills of SYV play witness to the friendship, dreams and downfalls of Lennie and George.
It’s Complicated – Nancy Meyers’ 2009 film starring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin captures the complicated relationship of a divorced couple while simultaneously capturing the tranquil charm and cool of nearby Westlake Village and Santa Barbara. It’s Meyers’ well-known eye for gorgeous backdrops that pushes SYV into the film as a quiet, but unmissable character.
Knowing that Hollywood has already give its stamp of approval, isn’t it time to experience the movie magic of SYV personally? Proud to be in the very center of the scene, it’s Santa Ynez Valley Marriott’s pleasure to make your stay as film-worthy as possible with adventure packages including bicycle tours, wine tours and romantic getaways as well as VIP accommodations and amenities.
Planning your next wine adventure? Trying to sound like a wine expert at your next after work get-together? Or what about just looking for tips on a great bottle for your next date night? Have no fear, wine lovers. From touring Santa Ynez Valley to local wine events to vino 101, there’s most certainly a (wine) app for that.
Getting Connected in the Santa Ynez Valley
Santa Barbara Wine Tour (East and West editions) – One reviewer said it best, “Don’t taste wine without it!” Complete with custom GPS interactive maps, behind-the-scenes videos, text narration, slide shows and picture galleries (that all run without cell reception) these twin apps take the guess-work out of vineyard hopping in Santa Barbara County. Plus, special offers like “2 for 1” tastings as well as discounts on hotels, restaurants and markets quickly make up for the app price.
Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association – Combining a touring map and area events calendar with an interactive listing of wineries, restaurants, hotels and touring and tasting companies, the Santa Barbara County app is a one-stop shop for planning your wine expeditions. And on days when you simply want to go where the road takes you, their Wine Trails feature provides one-day suggestions of places to visit following seasonal, geographic or wine themes. Don’t forget to use the “Favorite” folder to store frequently used entries to make the journey as care-free as possible.
Wine Map of Santa Ynez – A trusted source for locating tasting rooms and wineries in the area, the adventure begins when you let the Wine Map of Santa Ynez app lead the way.
Here are a few more of our personal favorites:
Wine Enthusiast Tasting Guide – Jam-packed with thousands of reviews and prices, this app is the perfect shopping partner for those moments when you’re standing in the wine aisle trying to decide what to bring to tonight’s party. Made by the editors of Wine Enthusiast Magazine, the app also dishes the latest in wine and travel news as well as teaches all you need to know to move from wine novice to vino expert.
America’s Wine Trails – Teaming up with industry heavyweights WineAmerica and Wines & Vines, this app crisscrosses North America, covering 270 wine trails from coast to coast. Search by winery, wine trail or grape to find your next great vino adventure and document your personal travel notes in the app’s journal section.
Vivino Wine Scanner –Backed by Forbes and Venture Beat, Vivino is a perfect fit for the casual wine-drinker. Scan a wine label and use the image to look up the wine’s tech sheets, ratings, winemaker’s notes and more. Once you’ve tasted the wine, rate it based on a five-star scale to remember which ones you want to savor again and which ones you wish you could forget.
LocalWineEvents.com –Explore upcoming local wine and food events while on-the-go. The app lets you search your area as well as other cities to find and read event details, purchase tickets and check-in to events – all with a single click. This is the place to get in the (vi)know.
Wine Dictionary – Do terms like terroir, Bacchus or trocken ring a bell? If not, have no fear. Wine Dictionary, the secret to transforming into a true oenophile, covers 1,400 wine-related terms making it your go-to for your next wine-tasting, head-scratching conversation.
And when you’re ready to close those apps and head home, we’ll be waiting to help you relax in true Marriott style. From a Pacific-coast sunrise and breakfast at the Starting Gate Restaurant to unwinding by the fire pit and in Marriott Revive beds, the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Hotel is the perfect home base for your wine adventures.
We’ll coordinate your stay with a Cycling, Vintage Auto or Limousine Package to ensure a relaxing escape into the county’s rolling hills, making sure that you drink in – from wine to scenery – the very best of Santa Ynez Valley.
If you are familiar with wine tasting protocol, the 5 S’s are nothing new: See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savor. It is a simple way to ensure that all of one’s senses are invited to take part in the richness of the wine experience. In the flavor of this ‘S’ theme, we invite you to one more ‘S’…September. An entire month dedicated to honoring the bountiful story in your glass. The state of California and in particular the incredible Santa Ynez Valley region is embracing the multi-leveled experience of wine and celebrating all things wine from grape to glass and then some. Although wine lovers rarely need an excuse to raise their glass, this is truly the opportunity to explore and appreciate the fruit of the vine.
California’s Commitment to Wine
A little background on the source: California wine is a major contributor to the economy; the state is the fourth largest wine producer in the world. Making a full 90 percent of American wine, the golden state is responsible for $18.5 billion in retail wine sales in the U.S. Its broad industry encompasses may tiers from the scenic, historic, cuisine enhancing, travel and tourism, environmentally enhancing with committed sustainable practices, to jobs for 1/3 of a million people.
That brings us to the small but wonderfully rich Santa Ynez Valley. Worlds away from Los Angeles and San Francisco, yet just a short travel distance down the road. Here there is no mystery…no pretense, as simple as See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savor…in September most especially. Plan your visit soon to Uncork the Story!
Horse lovers know that there is nothing like time with their equine partners. There is something truly magical about it! No matter how pressing life is, moments spent with a horse somehow insist you slow down and be present in the moment. Now pair that equine zen with a travel destination in which time slows down enough to set aside the details and stresses of everyday life…and an opportunity for true vacation bliss is born. The Santa Ynez Valley is one of those gems, where the pastoral ambiance affords visitors with an ease as promising as the ‘equine therapy’ also available there. Meander the country roads and stop to meet up with one of the many horses along the way or join in a twilight ride followed by world-class yet unpretentious wine tasting. It is an equestrian paradise offering a multitude of choices for all levels of horse expertise: from the city slicker to the seasoned rider, from trail riding to tours of breeding farms. Here’s a glimpse into it all.
A DAY OF WINE & HORSES – offers customized tours to world famous horse facilities and professionally guided tastings in the Santa Ynez Valley’s fabulous wineries. A delightful gourmet lunch is served on location and tours are based on the individual preferences of guests (riding or simply touring), assuring an unforgettable experience sampling the finest the Santa Ynez Valley has to offer. Whether you are a horse lover or wine lover, or better yet, both, it is an unforgettable experience.
Quicksilver Ranch – There isn’t much cuter than these tiny equines. Get up close and personal with miniature horses. Open to visitors every day from 10am-3pm. Tours are available by appointment also.
Vino Vaqueros, located along the Foxen Canyon wine trail, Vino Vaqueros lets you experience the rustic beauty, splendid vistas, and verdant vineyards of Santa Ynez Valley, cowboy style.Travel through Fess Parker Winery’s cattle ranch and up a mountain to a view that stretches for miles, then descend through the vineyard for a close-up tour of the vines. Your experience is completed with wine tasting and lunch or dinner.
Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary is dedicated to the preservation of the freedom, diversity and habitat of America’s wild horses through sanctuary, education, and conservation. The organization strives to enrich the human spirit through direct experience with the natural world and offers the opportunity to connect to your inner self, nature, and wild horses. Experience yoga outdoors in the fresh clean air and rolling hills of Santa Barbara’s Central Coast. Dine (al fresco) on fresh organic vegetarian fare. Practice stillness and mindfulness both in motion and sitting meditation. Journey into the world of wild horses with morning and evening hikes. Experience progressive healing including Reiki, crystal therapy, aromatherapy and yoga. Special events include: Guided Wild Horse Walks, Wild Horse Photography Workshops, Guided Wild Burro Walks, Private Tours, Photo Safaris, Kid’s Days and Nights at the Ranch, and more!
The 2nd Annual Santa Ynez Valley Polo Classic in Buellton takes place Saturday, July 20, 2013. Fast paced polo action, world class skill and those fabulous hats all benefiting People Helping People. Featuring several of the highest rated players in the world in addition to local Santa Ynez Valley polo celebrities, it is sure to be the event of the season!
Father’s Day is right around the corner so we’d like to share a bit of heartwarming insight into this annual third Sunday holiday in June…it’s actually not a holiday that was cleverly manufactured by the greeting card industry!
It’s roots go back to the wishes of a young girl from Washington State who wanted to honor her father for the incredible devotion he held in raising her and the 5 siblings that were left, without a mother, early in their lives. Today, millions of ‘children’ of all ages honor the dads in their lives as they celebrate Father’s Day.
The true beauty of this holiday is that it can be tailored to fit the father in your life, whether it is dad, or grandpa or your favorite uncle, in whatever way best shows your appreciation. In a special wine country toast to Dads, let us help you get a jump on that celebration planning for this year. Consider going for that hole in one, sip,swirl and catch some fantastic live music at the local wineries, bike for a cause, catch some live theater under the stars, and wind down with a seamless blend of sophisticated comfort and relaxation at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott. Check out these great Santa Ynez Valley events for Dad and show him how important he really is to you and your family.
All Things Golf
The River Course at the Alisal in Solvang offers breathtaking panoramas of the serene foothills, the meandering Santa Ynez River and four lakes surrounding the course. Gentle mounds of bentgrass greens define the manicured fairways, magnificently accented by mature live oaks, native sycamores and elderberry trees.
Robert Scarpati, PGA Member at the River Course, describes the magnificent course as “extremely playable for all levels.” For Robert’s tips on this spectacular course click here.
The La Pruisima Golf Course, in Lompoc, is a superior 18-hole Championship design by world-renowned architect Robert Muir Graves. Welcoming golfers of all abilities to come play and test their game here, from PGA pros, celebrities, amateur hopefuls, low handicappers, or just those who enjoy the game. Thousands of golfers visit each year calling it “One of America’s Best Designed Courses…” Known as a challenging test of skill and character, La Purisima rewards the bold and leaves the recently-hooked newcomer loving the game even more. It is beautiful in its naturally undulating landscape, challenging in its hole designs, with tees never far from the preceding greens. La Purisima is a remarkably enjoyable walk, or a pleasant ride on power carts. It is truly the essence of playing golf in a natural environment.
Your Package will include:
Deluxe accommodations for two
Round of golf for two
Cart Rental and green fees
Sumptuous breakfast buffet for two featuring cooked to order omelettes at the Starting Gate Restaurant. Contact our Reservations Department at (800) 638-8882.
Proceeds from the tournament will benefit two amazing charities. The first is Children’s Miracle Network, funding 170 hospitals that work to save the lives of kids in your community. In fact, 62 children enter a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital for treatment every minute – that’s one child every second. People Helping People Children’s Health Services in the Santa Ynez Valley, Lompoc and Los Alamos is the second of the two charities. It is dedicated to improving the lives by addressing emergency and basic needs and furnishing comprehensive integrated family and individual support services.
The Miracles Happen Tournament will be played as a Texas Scramble with 4-player teams. Over $2,000* in total cash prizes will be distributed with classic tournament fun including longest drive, closest to the pin, putting contests and more being played throughout the day. Registration includes golf, barbecue lunch and raffle ticket for prize drawings.Click here for team and individual registration forms. For organizations and individuals who would like to increase their exposure and support of these deserving organizations, sponsorship opportunities are still open. Contact the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott sales team today for more information regarding tee and corporate sponsorship level availability at 805-325-202. Generous sponsorships to date include the Rabobank Corporation and Jim Vreeland Ford of Buelton.
Live Theater under the Stars
In the quintessential story for Father’s Day, treat dad to an outdoor live theater presentation of Fiddler on the Roof. Solvang Theaterfest, a community based non-profit organization, is proudly presenting the story of Tevye, his dairy cart, his wife and five daughters. As the sun rises and sets on his beloved Russian town, he dreams of a better future for his family. In the face of Czarist incursions, his world is changing. Fast. Each daughter makes her marriage match as Tevye stands poised in the precarious balance between tradition and life’s great unknowns. With melodies descending from the rooftops, we’ll discover that ‘wherever you love is home.’ For information and tickets call PCPA at (805) 922-8313 or check online.
Cycling for a Cause
The Wine Country Bike Trek, June 14-16, is the annual fundraising bike ride event that allows participants to choose from a 30 or 50 mile route each day that leads them through the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley and covers both flat terrain and rolling hills, and past regionally and nationally recognized wineries and ranches. This is a go-at-your-own pace, fully-supported ride for cyclists of all levels of experience, with free safety checks, well-marked routes, roving support vehicles, and fully catered food and rest (SAG) stops every 10 miles. For the truly adventurous types, camping is offered for two nights in Los Olivos, in which rider’s camp gear is delivered to the campsite and there is a complimentary continental breakfast each day, tee shirts, swag bags, live music and dancing each night. Trattoria Grappolo will be serving delectable Italian fare on Friday and the Kiwanis Club of the South Coast will be contributing and serving the Victory Celebration feast featuring BBQ chicken, tri-tip, and vegetarian options – a donation they have made for 30 years, on Saturday. There is even an event farewell luncheon BBQ on Sunday prepared by the Buellton Rotary Club at Hans Christian Anderson Park. Dad’s bring your family! Children are welcome; under 8 are free.The Spirit of the Wine Country Bike Trek is community, family, and friends.It’s about taking what you thought you knew about yourself and the world and looking at it again, from a new perspective—a perspective where, suddenly, what you thought were only hopes or ideals are real. You may doubt that 150 people will be able to make a difference in the lives of those in need but they will. This is a fundraising event for People Helping People and while fundraising is not required, it is an option. Fundraising efforts will be rewarded with a variety of great prizes and those who qualify for the “Winner’s Circle” will be honored guests at a luncheon celebration in August, a fun reunion for all. Registration is now open.
Money raised from the Wine Country Bike Trek will help support People Helping People’s emergency and basic needs programs, including a Food Program, which provides groceries to over 1,300 people bi-weekly, health care access for adults and children that are underinsured and uninsured, and programs such as counseling for children and teens and an after school youth program. People Helping People has a vision that all men, women and children in the Santa Ynez Valley community have the opportunity to access necessary resources to achieve self-sufficiency with dignity and are able to fulfill their potential.
June 14, 6-9pm, Burning James and the Funky Flames is the feature band at this FREE vineyard concert. Join the fun with great live music, local food and fabulous wine for purchase. The tasting room will offer wine specials all night long and Big Tom’s Backyard BBQ will be on site offering your favorites hot off the grill so come celebrate music in the wine country.
Fantastic Father’s Day Accommodations
Whether its simply you and dad or the entire family including your family pup, just for a night or an extended getaway…celebrate Father’s Day and book your stay at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott. Located in the heart of of the Santa Ynez Valley, it’s the perfect destination to make sure this Father’s Day is a memorable one. Relax in our outdoor heated pool, savor delicious, innovative cuisine made with local produce and house-made ingredients and sample from a world-class selection of wines from local vintners at our Starting Gate Restaurant. Why not treat Dad to the Father’s Day he deserves!
The Santa Ynez Valley Tasting Trifecta: Wine, Craft Beer…and Olive Oil
Chances are, most Santa Ynez Valley visitors have delighted in the offerings of regional world class vintages and brews from local wineries and craft breweries, yet there is another fascinating tasting adventure that affords your taste buds a reason to celebrate in the valley. Olive oil! Like wine and craft beer, this magnificent treasure comes in a wide and distinctive range of varieties and flavors. So also parallel to wine and craft beer, a true tasting experience is indispensable in order to fully understand and appreciate it.
Ready for a little Olive Oil 101…
Why Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Known in American kitchens as EVOO, extra virgin is an internationally recognized standard that designates the highest quality olive oil. It is produced by cold pressing, a process that extracts the oil without chemicals or excessive heat. The oil must pass rigid standards and taste specifications as determined by a certified tasting panel. Extra virgin olive oil is not filtered (which often in mass produced oils, introduces chemicals to the product). Although filtering does extend the shelf life by removing any actual bits of olive, which will ferment and cause the oil to spoil, it also diminishes the flavor in doing so. With that in mind, extra virgin olive oil is allowed to ‘rest’ in air-tight, steel tanks for a couple of months after crushing to allow some of the fruit particles and remaining water to settle to the bottom of the tanks and let the oil’s flavor mellow and stabilize. The oil is then taken from the top of the tank throughout the year ensuring a fresh supply of oil for bottling. A few producers bottle a small portion of their new oil directly from the mill after pressing. This olio nuovo or new oil is available only in late November through the early part of Winter and is often accompanied by a seasonal celebration at the mill. It is the freshest and finest extra virgin olive oil available – brilliant green and the essence of olive oil goodness!
The typical “extra virgin” olive oil you find in the supermarket today is an industrial product that has been heavily processed and is often labeled strictly for marketing rather that actual content. Since there is no real label enforcement through the USDA or FDA, it is helpful to be educated in label decoding. California, though, does adhere to an Extra Virgin Certification program that ensures quality. Bottles that are marked with the‘COOC’ seal are guaranteed certified.
What makes Olive Oils taste differently?
Four main factors account for the variety of flavors:
type of olives – borrowing from wine tasting 101: varietals of olives offer distinctive flavors. Producers can make their oil from single variety of olive, or a blend to create interesting and unique flavor combinations.
ripeness of olives – early harvested green olives tend to have ‘grassier’ flavors, while the later harvested darker olives tend to have ‘buttery’ ones. Additionally, a shorter gap between harvest and processing will produce a fresher, stronger oil. Olives harvested late, in January or even February, will produce a darker, milder oil.
growing and harvesting conditions – climate, soil and harvesting techniques all impact olive oil flavor. Many producers pick their olives by hand to avoid bruising. The olives are then pressed within 24 hours of being picked because like all fruit, they will begin to ferment, which will lessen the quality.
oil storage – exposure to heat, light, and oxygen can also impact olive oil taste. Light is very damaging to olive oil, as is heat; so unlike wine, olive oil does not get better with age. It starts out most pungent, and then softens over time, until it finally turns. Your best bet is to keep your oil in a cool, dark place.
Which brings us to taste. Ranges vary from delicate and buttery, to fragrant and fruity, to olive-y and peppery, or leafy green and grassy. With this in mind, the logical place for an olive oil education to unfold is with tasting. All the reading in the world isn’t going to mean a thing unless you can connect it to the sensory experience—the aroma and taste of olive oil. The Santa Ynez Valley is host to a distinctive array of hand pressed olive oil farms, making it the ideal location to taste, learn, gather recipe ideas and explore the health benefits of this ‘other’ Santa Ynez Valley fruit. Check out the olive oil experiences the valley has to offer:
Santa Ynez Valley’s charming town of Los Olivos is hosting its Annual Jazz & Olive Festival, Saturday, June 8, at Lavinia Campbell Park from 1-4pm. Enjoy all things olive paired with world class, professional jazz, fine wine tasting from 20 local wineries, vendor booths from over 10 regional olive oil producers, professional chefs cooking demonstrations, an amateur cook-off, great home-made food and the ambiance of one of the most charming small towns in America. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Los Olivos and benefiting local charities, the festival celebrates the growing contributions of the Santa Ynez Valley’s olive producers. Rumor is that this event ALWAYS sells out…so don’t miss out! Tickets include a free souvenir wine glass and plate, and are available for $50 each, from local Rotarians, at the Book Loft in Solvang, Coghlan Vineyard & Jewelers, the General Store in Los Olivos, Lucas & Lewellen Tasting Room in Solvang and Pea Soup Andersons’s in Buellton, by calling 805-325-9280, or on-line. Tickets can be held for you at Will Call or mailed to you if you order early enough.
The local Olive Oil community in the Santa Ynez Valley is abundant. Some of the offerings include:
Olive Hill Farm – Employing certified organic farming techniques as well as the solar power, Olive Hill Farm takes pride in producingsome of the finest olive oils available as well as balsamic vinegars, wine vinegars, truffle oils, table olives, and other gourmet food products.
Rancho Olivos – Sustainably growing olive trees which produce their award winning handcrafted gourmet olive oils.
Global Gardens – featuring olive oil from some of the most renowned groves on the planet, including countless Gold Medal Winners, Global Gardens also offers home-made fruit balsamic vinegars, organic mustards, organic snacks and other local California food items made in their kitchens.
For a memorable getaway, consider arriving early to visit the Los Olivos art galleries and shops, and tour the Santa Ynez Valley’s beautiful rolling hills,horse ranches, and vineyards. The Annual Summer Wine Pass Event is just kicking off and is the only ticket you’ll need this summer to enjoy fabulous wine tasting at the premier boutique wineries of the Santa Ynez Valley. Learn the ropes, tips for tasting and while in the Valley take advantage of an excellent opportunity…
The pass (available online for $40 and on-site for $45), includes one wine tasting flight (usually 4-5 wines) at each of the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association participating tasting rooms (a $130 value). You choose the dates anytime between May 1 and August 31. There are no reservations required and no blackout dates. Your pass will expire when you’ve tasted at all 13 wineries or on August 31, 2013 – whichever occurs first.
Make it a true custom getaway and book your stay at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott. Enjoy the unspoiled, relaxing charm of the valley and all it has to offer. The Los Olivos Olive & Jazz Festival as well as the Summer Wine Pass are just two of the many adventures waiting for you in the unforgettable Santa Ynez Valley. Visit the Starting Gate Restaurant, on-site at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, for cooked to order wood-fired pizza on the patio made with fresh, local ingredients,house-made dough and sauce on Wednesdays and Fridays, 5-8pm. Pair with a wide variety of local vintages and craft brews for a memorable summer evening meal.