We’re going on a Southern Central Coast wine road trip! Got any tips?

It’s time for our first — but hopefully not last — wine road trip!

On our upcoming wine road trip we will be visiting:

  • Paso Robles. Paso was our first stop on our very first vacation together, all those years ago. Our visit to Paso gave us the first inkling that our relationship would actually be a threesome: me, Mike, and wine.
  • The wine country around San Luis Obispo (Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley).
  • Santa Maria wineries. We know nothing about these other than that they’re on the Wine Country This Week map.
  • Santa Rita Hills and Santa Ynez Valley, around Solvang, Buellton and Los Olivos. These were the wine areas that were heavily featured in that I’m-mystified-at-its-popularity film, Sideways.

Clearly, this will be one epic wine-tasting road trip!

However, we’re going in blind to this adventure. Once we get south of Paso, our familiarity with what the region has to offer extends solely to the Firestone Walker Brewery in Buellton and the exits off the 101 that have In ‘n Outs. (For the record: Cathedral Oaks exit at Goleta, South Bradley Road at Santa Maria, San Anselmo Road at Atascadero.) And we’re sure that Paso has changed as well; it’s been over a year since the two of us have been there together.

Have you been? Do you live there? Do you make wine there? Do you love the area? Where should we go? What should we taste? Give us your recommendations!

5 Replies to “We’re going on a Southern Central Coast wine road trip! Got any tips?”

  1. Hi!
    I live in the Santa Ynez Valley and hope I can help out a bit….enjoy your visit!

    As far as Paso Robles- I can recommend a bus service – The Wineline- to take you around if you need. Hear really good thinga about a place called Chicos Cafe (834 11th street) for american breakfast and fish at night (??).
    Coming down the 101, at the East junction of hiway 46 is a FANTASTIC fish joint called Pier 46. pier46seafood.com

    In the Santa Maria Valley- you can take Betteravia rd EAST and it will link you to the “Foxen Canyon Wine Trail”, which will end in Los Olivos/Santa Ynez Valley…..Besides getting you to one of the prettiest areas around- exactly 1 mile E from the hiway 101 is a taco truck serving great sandwiches- the ladies here are wonderful. For $5-$6 you can eat a wonderful lunch!
    Oso Flaco is a nice diversion, off the 101 West of Santa Maria- a brackish lake with a boardwalk to the ocean- google it- worth a stop!
    On the 101, south of Santa Maria- a small town of Los Alamos- a few antique stores and a biker bar, plus a tasting room or two… but the best reason to stop in on Fri Sat & Sun night Full of Life Flatbread is open for dinner @5 pm- a MUST STOP. Also good are Twin Oaks for diner fare and Cafe Quakenbush for delicious lunches.
    Once in the Santa Ynez Valley- there are many options for wine. Solvang has many tasting rooms- so many you can make an afternoon of just walking around this small town. I recommend Lucas & Lewellen, Olive House, Presidio, Tastes of the Valley and Lions Peak. Lots of food- best sandwiches are at Panino- 30 great choices and salads too.
    In Los Olivos- there are many tasting rooms as well. Another place you can make a day of it without getting into your car. Andrew Murray, Tensley/Carina Cellars, Qupe- all Syrah/Rhone varietal kings. Pinot is done well at Byron and a great place called Consumable Art. Another Paninos sandwich place here- as well as Los Olivos Cafe (yum!), Petros Greek food, Matteis Tavern (dinner only) and tri tip sandwiches at The Corner Store.
    Outside of town, there are so many choices- on Foxen Canyon- Foxen and Zaca Mesa are must stops- Tres Hermanas is newer and Rancho Sisquoc is a off the beaten path favorite of our- great picnic spot. On the West side of the Valley- Melville and Babcock- plus the “ghetto” in Lompoc- SeaSmoke and Palmina are names to look for. On the East side- Brander for Sav Blanc and Bridlewood for more Syrah.
    Great food found in Santa Ynez- Red Barn for steaks, Dos Carlitos for gourmet mexican, Grappolo for Italian, and Santa Ynez Burrito for delicious to go meals.
    Lake Cachuma is nice- between Santa Ynz and Santa Barbara. Jalama is a county park on the beach , south of Lompoc- camping and WORLD FAMOUS JALAMA BURGERS- 45 minutes from Santa Ynez Valley. Cold Spring Tavern- a stagecoach stop in the 1800’s- is between Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara on the 154- worth a stop.
    Sorry for not being too organized- but hope you get a few days to explore here- if I can answer any questions- let me know…

    1. We visited several of your recommendations over the course of our road trip! I can’t wait to see what you think of our write-ups! You never steered us wrong – let us know if you ever have any other recommendations!

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