Santa Ynez Valley’s Mother’s Day Toast

wineTulip18392572_sLooking for a memorable way to celebrate Mother’s Day? How about a relaxing getaway nestled in the enchanting, rolling hills of Santa Ynez Valley’s wine country. It’s the stuff mothers’ dreams are made of…Solvang’s Danish bakeries with made-from-scratch pastries, gourmet restaurants featuring fresh local ingredients and inspired cuisine, unique shopping and art galleries…all paired with world-class yet unpretentious wine tasting. A seamless blend of sophisticated style and unhurried, small town charm is the ideal escape for the mother in your life this May.


Check out our Santa Ynez Valley Mother’s Day ideas sure to make it a special occasion:

  • Solvang Village Farmers MarketWednesdays 2:30-6:30pm visit Solvang Village Farmer’s Market where local chefs routinely peruse the availability of fresh ingredients for inspiration and tonight’s menu offerings! Featuring fresh produce and flowers, culinary treats and much more.
  • Solvangs Third Wednesday Wine WalkContinue the Wednesday adventure with Solvang’s Third Wednesday Wine Walk kicking off May 15. Stroll through the Village of Solvang from 3-7pm and take advantage of the many wine tasting rooms offering special discounts. Tickets are $20 and include a Solvang Third Wednesday logo glass, map and tasting at 5 places of your choice.
  • Wandering Dog Wine BarWandering Dog Wine Bar presents Styles of Beer, Friday, May 10 from 6-7pm. This is an exciting opportunity to learn about various styles of beer while sipping and discussing in a relaxed and wonderful venue. Class includes 6 beers along with light cheese and crackers for $20. Please call 805.686.9126 to make reservations.

**Although individual registration it is sold out…

Team ASPCAConsider contacting the race’s Charity Partners: ASPCA, MMRF, and Lazarex Cancer Foundation Charities & Fundraising. Be a part of a special kind of cause by joining TeamASPCA or one of the other teams in the Wine Country Half Marathon. Click on the link to learn how you can walk or run to help save the lives of millions of animals (and enjoy some great wine!): Team ASPCA

  • Fess Parker Vineyard and Winery Finishers PartyFinishers Party at Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards Saturday May 11 2-5pm  is another fabulous way to celebrate the marathon and unwind with friends & family. Relax in the sunshine, out on the lawn at Fess Parker Winery, rimmed by mature oaks, and enjoy a Santa Maria style BBQ, two glasses of fabulous wine (of course!) and live music.
  • Zaca Mesa Winery Los OlivosGSM Blending Event at Zaca Mesa Winery – Come spend the afternoon on May 11, 10-1pm, with the talented winemaker, Eric Mohseni! He will instruct you on the art of blending the red Rhone varietals. From barrels to bottle you will have the chance to create your own Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah blend, done to your taste! Everyone will get to take home a bottle of their own wine to show off with family and friends. Lunch with the winemaker will be included: A gourmet picnic provided by Fresco Valley Cafe.

Cimarone Estate WInery

  • Celebrate the wonderful mother in your life with a day of wine tasting at Cimarone Wines in Los Olivos. Featuring free tastings Saturday May 11, join Cimarone and relax – you deserve it!

bottle-shock-movie-poster-2008Kalyra-1000737440 Join Kalyra Winery in their Summer Movie Night Annual Kickoff featuring:  BOTTLE SHOCK, Saturday May 11 5-9pm, on the big screen at Kalyra’s outdoor amphitheater. Admission is free to this fabulous outdoor movie adventure.They’ve wanted to show this fantastic flick since last year. Every wine enthusiast NEEDS to see it. It’s the true story of how California wines, starting in Napa, got put on the world map when Napa was a dusty hippy town in the 70’s. Arrive early to stake out your place on the grass (first-come/first-serve), and enjoy food, wines by the glass, music on the patio, and beautiful wine country sunsets prior to the movie. Bring your own blankets and chairs. No RSVP necessary!

Sunstone Winery Mothers Day Blending EventSunstone Winery’s Special Event: A Mother’s Blend is an exclusive Mother’s Day Wine Blending Experience May 12, 10:30-12 noon. Celebrate Mom with Sunstone at their intimate wine blending experience on the grounds of the majestic Sunstone Villa. Guests will start the morning with a gourmet selection of pastries, charcuterie, and mimosas while enjoying the Villa and sweeping views of the Santa Ynez Valley. After a glimpse into the origins, history, and traditional use of each grape varietal, Moms and guests will work together and create their own distinctive Bordeux blend to take home in a beautifully wax sealed bottle. Additional bottles of your custom blend will be available to purchase and take home as the perfect momento of the day. Unable to spend Mother’s Day with your Mom? Why not create the perfect blend and send the gift her way.

Santa Ynez Valley Marriott

Honor the mother in your life with a Mother’s Day getaway and book your stay at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott today. It is the picture perfect escape that is sure to make mom feel appreciated…luxurious linens,relax by the pool, work on your forehand at the on-site tennis courts and a fabulous Mother’s Day Brunch. Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Mother's Day BrunchWhen the mood strikes, venture forth and explore everything the Santa Ynez Valley has to offer, from over 141 wineries to the scenic streets of Solvang. It’s a fabulous opportunity to renew her spirit in the serenity and beauty of the Santa Ynez Valley.


Earth Day, Every Day, Santa Ynez Valley

Earth Day Santa Ynez Valley 2013Earth Day and wine…an excellent pairing.

How is your favorite wine made? What exactly is organic wine?

Wine labels today are often as intriguing and beautiful as what you find in the bottle but the labels’ semantics can get cloudy, to say the least. Eco-friendly, sustainable, vegan, green certified…how do these buzzwords translate to what’s in your glass?
Here is simple guide for decoding that label confusion:

  • Organic – This refers to wine that has 95% organically grown ingredients and is certified by the USDA.. No sulfites (preservatives) have been added, however naturally occurring sulfites may be present.USDA Organic
  • 100% Organic – This is wine that has been monitored throughout its entire production process guaranteeing all ingredients are chemical free and is certified as such.  Sulfites have not been added, though it also may contain naturally occurring sulfites.
  • Made with Organic Grapes or Organic Ingredients – Refers to wine that is made of 70% organic ingredients, meaning chemicals/pesticides may be present. Sulfites can be added for preserving, but it may not beyond 100 parts per million. This wine is not certified by the USDA as organic.
  • Biodynamic – Arguably the most progressive of the practices, this wine is 100% organic and it has been developed with a total balance method of a vineyard’s farming practices. It comes from a self-sustaining vineyard ecosystem that ultimately translates into a full and balanced end product. Biodynamic vineyards carefully build soil fertility and manage pests by encouraging biodiversity among crops, livestock and wildlife and by using on-site produced outputs like composted animal manures, plants and minerals. They also pay acute attention to water and soil resources. Techniques involve harvesting during evening hours and when gravitational pulls indicate the prime fruit ripeness. Unlike organic farming, which avoids synthetic fertilizers, and herbicides and substitutes them with naturally-derived products, biodynamic farming goes beyond that; it is agriculturally holistic and demands the farm be at demeter-sm-logowhat some interpret to be a spiritual level with the crops.  The certification is rigorous and demanding, through Demeter Certification.
  • Vegan – Wine made entirely without any animal products involved, which are often be used for filtration in the wine making process to remove solids. Although they are typically filtered out of the wine prior to bottling, the use of these animal ingredients can make many wines unsuitable for vegans. The most common animal ingredients used in making wine are: isinglass: very pure form of gelatin from sturgeon fish bladders, gelatin: extract from boiled cow’s or pig’s hooves and sinew, albumin: egg whites, and caseins: protein from milk.
  • SIP Ceritfied Sustainability in PracticeSIP Certified Sustainable – SIP Certified sustainably farmed vineyards and wines speak to the farmer’s commitment to protecting both natural and human resources. The comprehensive rules for SIP Certification (known as Standards) address many interrelated elements of the whole farm: the worker, soil fertility, cover crops, wildlife, native plants, irrigation, and more. The SIP Certified seal assures that the farmer has completed an extensive auditing process verifying that the fruit was grown with respect for the land and the wine was made with SIP Certified fruit.


A Toast to the Commitment in Santa Ynez Valley

In the spirit of Eco-friendly, forward thinking, the Santa Ynez Valley manifests its commitment to our planet with world-class, environmentally-conscious wine making. Take a peek at how these local wineries do their part:

Alma Rosa WineryAlma Rosa Winery & Vineyards boasts 40 years of sustainable wine growing history. With over 100 acres of certified organic vineyards, they practice and promote organic farming, sustainable agriculture, ecologically-responsible packaging and business practices, and green building. In addition, Alma Rosa supports earth-friendly causes such as the reintroduction of peregrine falcons to the Santa Ynez Valley, as their vineyards provides refuge for endangered birds and other wildlife.

Ampelos Cellars is proud to be one of the first US vineyards certified SIP- sustainability SIPcertifiedin practice, organic and biodynamic. Their vineyard practices include: 100% solar power, 100% estate-based composting, and animal-based insect control and fertilizing programs.
For a fascinating peek into their biodynamics click here. In their commitment to our environment, they have eliminated purchasing disposable plastic bottled water for employees and visitors and supplemented with reusable containers, implemented the use of CarbonNeutral® accredited wine barrels from Seguin Moreau, as well as usage of natural corks and100% recycled newspaper pulp in shipping box inserts.

Beckmen Vineyards began farming Purisima Mountain Vineyard 100% biodynamically in 2006 and completed the rigorous biodynamic certification process in 2008, in addition to being certified organic.

Cimarone Estate WIneryCimarone Estate Wine owners Roger and Priscilla Higgins are dedicated to the philosophy of sustainable farming and pay careful attention to addressing soil erosion and incorporating biodegradable and natural materials for pest and mildew management of their vineyard.

Coquelicot Estate Winery implemented sustainable and Coquelicot Estate Wineryorganic farming protocols in 2007 with the goal of obtaining organic certification in 2010. Their 58 acre vineyard practices include management of healthy and balanced soil, water conservation, composting, natural critter and weed management, and renewable resource usage and cover crops.

Demetria Estate Winery

 Demetria Estate Winery practices organic farming methods and is one of the first practitioners of biodynamics in Santa Barbara County, starting back in 2005.

Dragonette Cellars collaborates with sustainable, organic, and biodynamic vineyards and focuses on ‘minimalist wine-making’.

Grassini Family VineyardsGrassini Family Vineyards and Winery are farmed organically.


Stolpman VineyardsStolpman Vineyards promotes both organic farming and bio-diversity with over 50 acres of fallow space, an organic vegetable farm, olive trees, owl habitats and the use of varying cover crops every year. Their vineyards also proudly implement dry farming with their 152 producing acres, which translates into naturally yielded fewer grapes, allowing the vines to ripen with concentrated, vibrant, undiluted and balanced grape clusters. The Stolpman tasting room is also planing to introduce a system that will allow people to bring in bottles and growlers for refills making for a smaller environmental impact.

Presidio Winery

Presidio Winery & Vineyard uses organic and biodynamic methods of grape cultivation.


Sunstone WinerySunstone Winery  has been committed to growing wine grapes without the use of herbicides, pesticides, or synthetic fungicides since the initial planting in 1990. Their 28-acre estate vineyard certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (C.C.O.F.)

Verdad WineryVerdad Wines hail from the organically farmed Ibarra-Young Vineyard and the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard which is Demeter certified organic. The wines are produced at the Clendenen Lindquist Winery in Santa Maria, home to Qupe Wine Cellars and Au Bon Climat Winery.


Santa Ynez Valley MarriottCelebrate Earth Day in the Santa Ynez Valley with a toast to our planet! Make it a Green Getaway and book your stay at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, the first certified green hotel in Santa Barbara County. The hotel’s Eco-friendly practices include:

  • energy efficiency
  • water conservation
  • introduction of bulk soap and shampoo dispensers in guest rooms to reduce plastic bottle waste
  • upgraded lighting throughout the hotel and controls on vending and ice machines to reduce energy use
  • landscaping with native plant material
  • recycling programs throughout the hotel, including kitchens
  • employee ride sharing with a monthly raffle for participating staff.

Pair your stay with a first-hand experience of the environmentally mindful wineries!             Check out the one-of-a-kind Sustainable Vine Wine Tour which includes tastings at 3 locations, a made-to-order gourmet organic picnic lunch and door-to-door transportation. A friendly and knowledgeable guide will take you beyond the tasting room and venture into the vineyards! Then relax and rejuvenate at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, with modern amenities, natural beauty and a wonderfully attentive staff.


Santa Ynez Valley Sipping into Spring

The vines have been sleeping through the cool, dark winter months in the Santa Ynez Valley and now as their buds awaken, the dreams of promising new vintages unfold. Local vintners emerge revitalized and ready to pour…

Santa Barbara County Vintner's Festival 2013 Santa Ynez Valley

Celebrate the arrival of spring in the Santa Ynez Valley with a fabulous immersion into more than fifty varietals and over one hundred, world-acclaimed wineries.  Santa Barbara County Vintner's Festival 2013 Santa Ynez Valley An annual rite of spring, the Vintner’s Festival held on April 19 – 22, returns to Mission Santa Ines in Solvang where it was born 30 years ago! What started as a small food and wine event for the locals in order to raise funding to print a visitors map of the 13 local wineries, has evolved into pure world-class wine bliss paired with homegrown gourmet flavor featuring celebrated local chefs and culinary professionals. The four day celebration features live music by Donna Greene & the Roadhouse Daddies and The Rock ‘n’ Blues Band, a silent auction benefiting People Helping People and complimentary hand and arm massages from Massage Therapy in Old Town Orcutt. Whether your wine appreciation status is novice or sommelier, the Santa Ynez Valley’s Vintner’s Festival embraces all…join a community of food and wine for the ultimate sip and savor event of spring.

Santa Barbara Vintner's AssociationHosted by the Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association, the main festival takes place Saturday afternoon but the celebration runs Friday through Monday with many wineries offering tastings of library wines and barrel samples, vineyard barbecues, winemaker dinners, wine & food pairings, cellar lunches and open houses and discount specials. Local Santa Ynez Valley restaurants are also in on the festivities as well with participating wineries pouring at the eateries.

Santa Barbara County Vintner's Festival 2013 Santa Ynez ValleyVintner’s Festival 2013 local food participants include: Avant Tapas & Wine, New West Catering, Stafford’s Famous Chocolates, Babé Farms, The Olive House, Starting Gate Restaurant at the Santa Ynez Valley MarriottBacara Resort & Spa, Panera/Ventura Café, Trattoria Uliveto, Cattaneo Brothers, Petros, The Willows Restaurant, Il Fustino, El Rancho, Valley Grind, Luna Olivo and Rancho Olivos.


Santa Barbara County Vintner's Festival 2013 Santa Ynez ValleyVintner’s Festival 2013 participating wineries:

  • Ampelos is offering a 10% discount on wines.
  • Andrew Murray Vineyards is offering a 10% discount on any wine purchases. Friday 11 – 2, features a Blending Seminar with Winemaker Andrew Murray with the chance to learn about the process of blending and have the opportunity to blend your own bottle of wine, followed by a catered lunch (limited to 25 people). Saturday, 11-4 join the Spring Release Party and celebrate the launch of Andrew Murray’s new label This is E11even. Plus try all the new Andrew Murray Vineyards releases with music, food, and wine discount specials.
  • Au Bon Climat & Qupé 11- 3 offers an open house featuring library wines, current releases, and bargain wines. Wine from many of their labels will be presented including Au Bon Climat, Qupé and more during this special event as the winery is only open twice yearly to the public.
  • Baehner-Fournier at Bin 2860 is featuring a 20% discount on all current wines.
  • Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard, Sunday at 10:30 is featuring a Vineyard Walk & Brunch with winemaker, Karen Steinwachs and soil guru Stan Katoda. Featuring a hike through the 39-acre estate vineyard with stops to taste various varietals, check out the progress of 2013 bud break, chat about soils, cane pruning and insight into why they grow wine and farm the way they do. To celebrate both Vintners’ Festival weekend and Earth Day Eve, they’ll conclude the walk with brunch at the vineyard pond and raise a glass in toast to the upcoming vintage!
  • Brander is hosting an open house Saturday 12-4pm with special wine tastings, BBQ and music.
  • Clos Pepe is hosting a Barrel Tasting and Bubble Bash, opening their winery in Lompoc Sunday 11-3 for a rare barrel-tasting and educational opportunity with wine educator and winemaker Wes Hagen. If you’ve ever attended a wine education event with Wes Hagen, you know his straight-forward, passionate delivery of the most interesting geeky tidbits in the world of wine. Taste current releases, the Homage to Chablis Chardonnay (the first stainless SRH Chardonnay, now in its 12th vintage), the rare Clos Pepe Estate Brut Rosé sparkling wine (the first SRH labeled bubbly), library wines and have the chance to take some of these rare bottles home with you. Barrel Tasting at the top of every hour: noon, 1 and 2 pm.
  • Dascomb Cellars offers 10% off any purchases and Friday 4-7 in their tasting room in the heart of Solvang, barrel tasting and cheese pairing with winemaker David Dascomb.
  • Demetria offers Visa holders a 10% discount with a purchase of 3 bottles or more.
  • Dierberg offers Visa holders a 10% discount on all wine purchases.
  • Fiddlehead Cellars, Sun 11-5, features Tasting in the Cellar with Kathy in the Lompoc ‘Wine Ghetto’! Highlighted with goodies on the grill, lively tunes (get out your dancin’ shoes!), Kathy and Rob behind the bar, and stories of travels near and far! Featuring a taste of their new releases – ‘Goosebury’ Sauvignon Blanc, ‘Pink Fiddle’ Rose of Pinor Noir and ‘728’ Fiddlestix Pinot. To top it all off, they may even give you a taste of the sparkling wine ‘Bubbles’. You will love the special deals offered Sunday only. Another Fiddlehead party not to be missed!
  • Flying Goat Cellars is hosting their Annual Winemakers Dinner, Friday at La Purisima Mission. Experience a food and wine pairing that you will never forget when winemaker Norm Yost collaborates with Bouchon Santa Barbara proprietor Mitchell Sjerven. Chef Greg Murphy complements a selection of our wines with his unique culinary creations. The evening begins with a sparkling wine reception in the mission garden, followed by an intimate dinner in La Sala, where seating is limited to 40 guests. An adjacent room is available for a private party up to 10-12 guests. Sunday from 11-4, join Flying Goat Cellars in launching a Bubbles Bar at the tasting room with an flight offering of all four Goat Bubbles sparkling wines: Rosé, Crémant, Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs. Winemaker Norm Yost will be pouring some of his finest vintages of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and sparkling wines. His recently-released 2012 Pinot Gris is flying out the door so get it while you can. We will also have light snacks and other surprises so be sure to come by!
  • Foxen is hosting and Open House Saturday and Suday 11-4. Be sure to stop by the tasting rooms for light hors d’oeuvres and special library wines. Also, Saturday at 6pm, a Winemaker Dinner at Alisal Guest Ranch is offered. Join Dick, Billy, Jenny and Becky for another fun-filled evening! For reservations call 805.937.4251. Sells out quickly!
  • Huber Cellars is offering Visa holders 10% discount on purchases of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and 25% on case purchases.
  • Kalyra is featuring their 2nd Annual “Around the World” Wine & Food Pairing Sunday noon – 3pm. Spend a jazzy afternoon at Kalyra Winery as you explore the winery and tasting room following a specific route of stations that pair a full flight of Kalyra wine with artisan cheeses, meats and desserts. This event, introduced last year to their blooming roster of fun events, became an instant hit with guests!
  • Kenneth Volk, Saturday adn Sunday 10.30-4.30 features Open House Specials, Magnum Tastings, Pre-releases and light appetizers are featured this weekend.
  • Longoria is hosting a Winemaker Dinner with Chef Budi Kazali and Winemaker Rick Longoria for their annual celebration of food and wine at The Ballard Inn Restaurant, Sunday noon – 3. Space is very limited and sells out quickly.
  • Lucas & Lewellen & Toccata are each featuring their annual Vintner’s Festival Wine & Cheese Pairings with live music and wine specials, Saturday 5-8pm, no RSVP is required.   Also, Saturday evening 6pm, they are hosting a Winemaker Dinner at The Petersen Inn A featuring the cuisine of Chef Mini Dalfuoco paired to exciting new Lucas & Lewellen and Toccata wine releases. Reserve your place early to avoid the wait list.
  • Margerum’s owner Doug Margerum will be cooking up a three-course dinner for 48 people which will be paired with a selection of their wines. The evening will begin with barrel tasting and reception featuring their new Rosé. Dinner will take place among the barrels in our winery. This is a great chance to tour the facility not normally open to the public and interact with their team in an intimate setting.
  • Melville is hosting an Open House Saturday and Sunday 10-4, with pourings from their small lot collection and serving artisan cheeses and savory treats prepared by Lynn Sigafoos. Complimentary tours by reservation will also be offered at 11:30 1pm. Then at 6 pm, join winemaker Greg Brewer and the Melville family for an intimate five course dinner that will be paired with selections from their library and current release wines. Reservations are required.
  • Oreana Winery is featuring a Weekend Winedown with live music on the patio, Saturday and Sunday 2 -5pm, and 10% off purchases with Vintner’s Visa.
  • Point Concepción Wines will be open on Sunday 10-4 for a special opportunity to taste their current vintages and chat with winemaker Peter Cargasacchi.They are only open to the public three times a year, so come and take advantage! They are also offering a 10% discount with Vintner’s Visa.
  • Rancho Sisquoc is featuring  light appetizers and a 15% discount on any case purchase for Vintner’s Visa holders.
  • Rideau is host to a Vintners Festival Mardi Gras in a true New Orleans tradition. Iris will prepare of her famous Cajun/Creole inspired food that will be paired with newly released Rideau wines. Dance to the sounds of live Jazz, Funk and Blues that will fill the air. This is one event you won’t want to miss starting Saturday 11.30am!
  • Stolpman Vineyards is featuring an Educational Vineyard Tour, Tasting and Lunch in the beauty of Ballard Canyon. Join Pete, Tom and Ruben for an educational vineyard walking tour, followed by a tasting of our new releases and boxed picnic lunch Sunday at 11am. Also enjoy 10% off bottle purchases and 25% off case purchases for Vintner’s Visa holders.
  • Tercero Wines offering Visa holders a 10% discount on all purchases.
  • Zaca Mesa features live music from Sean Wiggins Sunday 10-4 in their courtyard. Epicurean Cowboy will be grilling up something amazing you can buy for a picnic. Wine by the glass available.

Explore the wide range of ticket options available for purchase on line: Vintner’s Festival, VIP Early Entry, Vintners Visa Voucher, Combo Ticket, Ultimate Combo Ticket, and Designated Driver.

Vintner’s Festival 2013 Getaway

Santa Ynez Valley MariottSpring into the season with a celebration of vintages and culinary delight. Book your stay for the 4 day Vintner’s Festival at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott. As one of the featured Vinter’s Festival culinary participants, the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott’s own Starting Gate Restaurant features local selections prepared daily by Chef Ofelio’s culinary team.


 Later in the month, join us at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott for our chef’s special 2013 Easter Buffet. Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Easter BrunchClick here. Reservations are recommended and are available for seatings at 11:00am and 1:00pm. Highlights include omelets & Belgian waffles made to order, eggs benedict, mango shrimp with tropical fruit relish, smoked orange glazed salmon, chef carved prime rib and much more!



Savor the Adventure in the Santa Ynez Valley

Hungry for a bit of epicurean adventure?

Taste of Solvang 2013 Santa Ynez ValleyNestled in the heart of Santa Ynez Valley’s scenic rolling hills, lush rural pastures and fabulous vineyards you will find a charming surprise…the Danish capitol of America. This time of year, the European-inspired, flower-lined streets of Solvang are a truly enchanting springtime destination and also happen to be hosting a cultural food-forward adventure. Solvang Santa Ynez ValleyThe 21st Annual Taste of Solvang, March 13 – 17, invites fellow epicurean explorers to a delightful spring celebration of food, wine and entertainment. Featuring five days of flavor offerings highlighted with samples of locally grown foods, wines and the rich culinary and cultural heritage of Solvang, it is sure to have something for everyone.

The event kicks off Wednesday March 13 with a Special Chef Walk & Demo through Solvang’s local farmers market. Join local Chef’s David Cecchini of Cecco Ristorante, Master Chef Norbert Schulz of Mirabelle Restaurant and Chef Heather Rae Hovey of Hadsten House Restaurant for a personalized tour through the market as they search for seasonal ingredients and share farm fresh menu inspiration (reservations required). Taste of Solvang 2013 Santa Ynez ValleyLearn from the masters how and why cooking in-season is a great way to utilize healthy and regional food from local suppliers. The last part of the afternoon will be highlighted by the Chef’s cooking demonstrations, a personalized cooking lesson and a unique dining and wine pairing experience at the Mirabelle Restaurant from Chef Norbert and special farmer’s market dinner with Chef Heather Rae Hovey (reservations required).

Taste of Solvang 2013 Santa Ynez ValleyLater in the evening, the Taste of Solvang Dessert Reception wraps it all up with delicious sweet treats, wine and live jazz entertainment.

The Walking Smorgaasbord on Saturday features 40 taste stops
around the village of Solvang featuring delicious bites of Danish, American, Latin, Japanese and Italian cuisines offered by Santa Ynez Valley restaurants and bakeries.Ticket purchase includes a detailed map and menu plus valuable coupons for “day of” specials and some coupons for future dates as well.

Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon, savor the Wine & Beer Tasting Walk through the village of Solvang with a dozen local tasting rooms pouring their vintages into your souvenir Taste of Solvang etched wine glass. Taste of Solvang tickets may be purchased a la carte or all inclusive with a Weekend Passport which includes a logo wine glass, wine charm and souvenir canvas tote bag.

Throughout the event, wine tours of Santa Ynez Valley vineyards will be offered including taste stops at four wineries, gourmet picnic lunches and souvenir wine glasses. Special pricing and itineraries will be offered by Grapeline Wine Tours, Serenity Limousine & Sedans and Stagecoach Tours. Advance ticket purchases are highly recommended.

Buellton Wine Chili Festival Santa Ynez ValleyWrap up your Santa Ynez Valley culinary journey with Buellton’s Wine & Chili Festival where a gathering of talented local chefs will compete to take home cash prizes for the best Red Chili, Chile Verde and Homemade Salsa in Santa Ynez Valley.

Guests are invited to vote for the People’s Choice awards. You decide who has the finest Red Chili, the winning Chile Verde, the championship Salsa, the best Booth Showmanship, and top-notch red and white wines. The festival takes place at the Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground and tickets available for purchase on line include a souvenir wine glass and unlimited wine tastes, ten chili tasting tickets, a tri-tip BBQ lunch, entertainment by Unfinished Business. The Buellton Wine & Chili Festival is proudly sponsored by Kessler-Haak Vineyard, Avant Tapas and Wine, the Buellton Chamber of Commerce, Chumash Casino and the Santa Ynez Valley Hotel Association. Featured Santa Ynez Valley local wineries include Ampelos Celllars, The Hitching PostAlma Rosa Winery & Vineyards, Dog Hill Vineyard, Falcone Family Vineyards,Sort This Out Cellars, Hoyt Family Vineyards, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co, Press Gang Cellars, Lucas & Lewwllen Vineyards, and Zotovich Cellars.

Santa Ynez Valley MariottStep into Spring and make this a refreshing and delicious getaway. Book your stay at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott today for the full Taste of Solvang experience. Relax in the perfect blend of countryside charm and modern amenities. The Santa Ynes Marriott is the ideal destination to renew your spirit and enjoy the season’s splendor!






Santa Ynez Valley Unleashed

Santa Ynez Valley Dog-friendly WineriesPair your love for wine with your four legged friends in the Santa Ynez Valley! As dog-friendly wineries are on the rise in California, dog owners who treat their canines like family no longer have to leave their pooches home when they head out to explore the vineyards. The Santa Ynez Valley is the ideal pet-friendly destination for you and your canine companion for wine tasting adventures and more.  Many wine lovers know that dogs have been the real hosts at local wineries for a very long time, and so it is in the Santa Ynez Valley; you’re likely to find a loyal pup greeting guests and anchoring the heart and soul of the vintner’s offerings. So perhaps it’s time to share the love with your own canine family member? Pack up your pup, his leash and favorite toy and experience a getaway sure to make tails wag and wine tasting wishes come true.

Check out these local Santa Ynez Valley vineyards offering friendly dogs and their owners more than just exceptional pours...

Carivintas Winery Solvang Santa Ynez ValleyCarivintas Winery in Solvang truly embraces the animal lover in everyone. Celebrating their passion for creating great wine with helping animal rescue organizations, Carivintas Winery showcases inspirational and heartwarming stories of rescued animals on the labels of their incredible bottles. A percentage of every animal-themed bottle of wine sold goes to a pet-friendly organization. Carivintas’ tasting room itself is truly pet friendly, offering dog treats, toys, beds and water bowls for your visiting pup. Carivintas Winery SolvangOn the 2nd & the last Saturday of each month,  they team up with the local Animal Shelter and have “Adoptable Pets” day featuring several dogs and cats with the help of many wonderful volunteers.



Kalyra Winery Santa YnezKalyra Wineries offers some of the most magnificent views in the Santa Ynez Valley. A wonderful blend of imagination and flair make for a memorable tasting experience. Step up to the bar made famous in the movie ‘Sideways’  or venture out to its full-length deck complete with a tranquil dog-friendly picnic spot.


Firestone Winery Los OlivosFirestone Vineyard in Los Olivos features a wonderful blend of fantastic premium tasting and idyllic picnic opportunities. Friendly dogs are cheerfully welcomed both on the vineyard grounds and in the tasting room.

Alta Maria VineyardsAlta Maria Vineyards in Los Olivos, is a tasting experience where canine companions are welcome to stretch out and relax on the cool tile floor of the tasting room on-leash while you settle in for a relaxing afternoon of wine bliss.



Alma Rosa Winery Buellton Santa Ynez Valley

Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards in Buellton, is a  rustic, creekside winery that some may remember from the movie Sideways.  Friendly pups are welcome to relax inside the tasting room, as well as roam around outside on Alma Rosa’s magically scenic property.


Rideau Vineyard, Solvang. Rideau Vineyard SolvangSmall dogs are invited into the tasting room as well as outside while leashed, where guests can easily keep an eye on them. They also have a beautiful deck and outdoor seating for picnicking opportunities.


Wondering Dog Wine BarWandering Dog Wine Bar in Solvang always welcomes small, friendly dogs. Guaranteed something for every wine lover, Wandering Dog Wine Bar’s atmosphere is sure to make your tasting experience memorable.


Zaca Mesa Winery Los OlivosZaca Mesa Winery in Los Olivos offers plenty of options for you and your pup. Relax at their outdoor picnic tables or step up to the challenge of a game of chess on their life-size chessboard. Perhaps take a walk on the hiking trail with extraordinary views of the Santa Ynez Valley. Of course there is always the rustic tasting room to complete the experience.


Presqu'ile Winery Los OlivosPresqu’ile Winery in  Los Olivos offers a friendly, modern and fresh atmosphere that pairs perfectly with the fantastic vintages.  Friendly dogs are always welcome in their tasting room.



“A dog wags its tail with its heart.” — Martin Buxbaum

Greyhound Fest 2013 SolvangJoin the town of Solvang in celebrating its annual  

February 22 – 24

Word is the whole town is excited (right down to the Mayor, shop keepers and hotels) about the Greyhounds visit.

Festival highlights include the Solvang Streak, Saturday, February 23rd, featuring the amazing speed and grace of these beautiful sight hounds, shopping, a silent auction, the Greyhound Walk, the Blessing of the Hounds at the Santa Ines Mission, special speakers, a Greyhound Nose Work Demo, and many more festivities.

A few extras for canines in the know:

Paws Park Buellton Santa Ynez ValleyLooking for a place  for your pooch to strech and run off that extra energy? Check out Paws Park Off leash dog park in Buellton.  Graciously supported by the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott through local volunteer clean up and donations, it is completely fenced with separate large and small dog areas.

Want to grab a bite to eat with your pup? Solvang is home to over 20 dog-friendly restaurants that provide outside seating for you and your canine companion


Santa Ynez Valley Pet Friendly Hotel

Santa Ynez Valley MarriottMake it a true canine companion getaway and book your stay at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott. Take advantage of great mid-week rates, particularly for the Greyhound Fest events running the weekend of February 22- 24. Arrive early to explore the local area before the crowds! Watch Solvang come alive right before your eyes during Solvang’s Third Wednesday Celebration taking place February 20th with over 60 stores, restaurants, and wine tasting rooms offering special discounts and sales all day.

Santa Ynez Valley MariottThe Santa Ynez Valley Marriott in Buellton, a Certified “Pets Can Stay Hotel”, believes your pets are part of your family. All pets receive a special welcome and a Pooch Pack upon arrival. Your pet will feel pampered and at home with their Pooch Pack containing a food dish, water bowl, food scoop, dog tag, Frisbee, and doggie bags. Please let them know your pet will accompany you so that they may prepare for their arrival. There is an $80 non-refundable cleaning fee charged, $5 of which is donated to the local Santa Ynez Valley Paws Park – off leash dog park in Buellton.


Romance in the Santa Ynez Valley

Surprise your loved one with the gift of wine country romance…cupid approved!

Santa Ynez Valley MariottThe enchanting Santa Ynez Valley, celebrated for its world-class vineyards and wineries, miles of rolling hills, gnarled oaks, blue skies, innovative cuisine and artistic treasures, is the ideal destination for an intimate romantic getaway.

We’ve gathered some fresh ideas for you and your valentine to explore in and around the bountiful Santa Ynez Valley.

Your Santa Ynez Valley romantic adventure awaits…

Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Valentine's Day Dinner“Share the Love” Valentine’s Dinner, February 14th at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott
A fabulous four course gourmet dinner served in the elegant Jockey Club includes:
Amuse Bouche & Salad Course
Lobster Tail with Newberg Sauce or
Filet Mignon with Balsamic Syrup and Goat Cheese or
Portebello Napoleon
Dessert First seating 6pm ~ Last seating 9pm, $80 per couple, plus tax, Reservations are suggested – 805.688.1000

A Wine Fantasy in February 

A Wine Fantasy in February Santa Ynez ValleySanta Ynez Valley’s most popular wine tasting passport event, taking place this year February 15 – 18. With passport in tow, visit 15 world class winery tasting rooms located in Los Olivos, Solvang, Buellton and Santa Ynez, over the four-day weekend. This is a stellar opportunity to discover new wines and revisit old favorites. On Saturday, each tasting room will be serving catered hors d’ourves and you will have the opportunity to meet many of the vinters and owners. Take home a signature logo glass along with your memories. Passports are $45 and available online. Buy your passports early, as this event will sell out!  Designated driver tickets are available for $10 each and include soft beverages and hors ‘dourves on Saturday.


Valentine’s Day Dinner 

Firestone Winery Los OlivosJoin Winemaker Paul Warson at the Firestone Winery in Los Olivos as he guides you through a thoughtfully constructed cocoa themed menu paired with award winning wines. February 16, 6:00-9:00pm, Wine club members:$60,  Non-members $75. Tickets will go fast, so please RSVP to



The Garagiste Festival: Southern Exposure

Garagiste2013SYVlogo-215x300Cutting-edge Wine Making without the Rules! A non-profit festival featuring 30 of Santa Ynez Valley’s signature high-quality, small-production, artisan winemakers, all pouring under one roof on February 16th, in Solvang. This is an unprecedented event combing personal winemaker interaction and renegade spirit. Showcasing high-quality, cutting-edge, small production, commercial wineries that produce fewer than 1,200 cases a year, the one-day festival begins at 11:00 AM with “The Ultimate Barrel Tasting – Oak Flavors Tasted and Explained”  seminar. Winemaker and vineyard owner Michael Larner, of the renowned Larner Vineyard, and winemaker Ryan Render, of Rendarrio Vineyards and cooperage Tonnellerie Saint Martin, bring their knowledge of viticulture, winemaking, and barrels to the table. Attendees will learn (and taste) how different oak treatments – from type to region to toast – can affect the finished product and change the profile of a single wine.  Grand Tasting runs from 2 PM – 5 PM. VIP All Access Pass:  $80 per person, Grand Tasting – $50 per person. Tickets available online.


Valentines Carriage rides in SolvangValentine's Day Carriage Rides Solvang Relax with your Valentine! The 30 minute horse drawn carriage ride includes: Wine-tasting at a local winery (21 and over only), a rose for your sweetheart, a handcrafted fudge-art heart piece with your names on it and dessert or coffee drink at Solvang Trolley Ice Cream Parlor.


If you are looking for an even more adventurous romantic plan…

bike-tourWine tasting series on bike. Why not combine cycling the beautiful scenery with great wine and food to create the perfect valley experience. Local operations are custom-tailored and day tours can include a romantic gourmet picnic lunch within the wine tasting and cycling routes.

wine-taste-horsebackWine tasting series on horseback
. Local stables offer horseback riding and wine tasting tours in the gorgeous Santa Ynez Valley. The scenery is breathtaking, and what more romantic way to travel from vineyard to vineyard than on horseback with your loved one?

Nijoqui Falls Santa Ynez Valley

Take a hike and a picnic at Nojoqui Falls. The Nojoqui Falls Park has a short trail to gaze at the falls in a gorgeous outdoor setting. The park has plenty of places to enjoy a picnic for two after you’ve taken in all the beautiful scenery.


 Santa Ynez Valley Romance Package

Santa Ynez Valley Marriott Romance Package Searching for that memorable gift for your someone special? Combine one or more of the fantastic local Santa Ynez adventures with a romantic stay at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott.

Celebrate your love with a romance-filled escape that includes:
A bottle of champagne or wine upon arrival, roses and truffles, and deluxe overnight accommodations for two.
Also includes your choice of: sumptuous breakfast buffet for two featuring cooked to order omelets at the Starting Gate Restaurant or breakfast for two in bed from room service. Why not pair your overnight stay with the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott’s  “Share the Love” Valentine’s Dinner on February 14th.

SYVMarriott-Valentines-2013-adMake this Valentine’s celebration one to remember!