Here’s exactly how to eat and drink your way through the most singular and exciting wine region in the country.

By Chris Hughes
March 22, 2019
Santa Barbara's West Beach
Jessica Sample

Santa Barbara has long been a glamorous, beachy playground, and now it's California's hottest destination for lovers of food and wine, thanks to a new wave of creative winemakers. Here's our master plan for the perfect long weekend on "The American Riviera," filled with fresh cuisine and fun, unfussy wine, from floral Chenin Blancs to silky Pinot Noirs.

The bacon-egg- Cheddar biscuit, grits bowl, and morning bun at Helena Avenue Bakery
Jessica Sample
Municipal Winemakers
Jessica Sample

Day 1

Start strong with local Dart Coffee Co. brew and bread-forward plates at Helena Avenue Bakery. Explore the art galleries, vintage shops, distilleries, and, of course, wine tasting rooms in the converted warehouses of the Funk Zone. Soak up some rays (and Riesling) on Municipal Winemakers’s outdoor patio, and then walk two blocks to East Beach to indulge in some of Santa Barbara’s best ocean views. Head to the Santa Barbara Public Market for Corazón Cocina’s superb spread of ceviches and tacos.

The Yoga Pants Salad at Satellite
Jessica Sample
Stolpman Vineyards in Ballard Canyon
Jessica Sample

Day 2

Breakfast like a Parisian with an expert croissant at Pierre Henry’s Bree’osh in Montecito. Midday, head to Satellite for lunch and a great rotating selection of Santa Barbara wines, including Roark Wine Company’s Chenin Blanc. At Presqu’ile Winery in Santa Maria, sample elegant Chards and Pinot Noirs. For an added treat, have Amplify owner Cameron Porter (who also works at Presqu’ile) guide you through his eclectic bottlings. Book in advance at Drop by Stolpman Vineyards’s Los Olivos tasting room to get your hands on their La Cuadrilla Syrah blend. For dinner, chef Jessi Singh’s vibrant curry platter at Bibi Ji pairs perfectly with standout local labels like Lo-Fi and Storm Wines.

Lieu Dit pours at the Tyler Wines tasting room
Jessica Sample

Day 3

Drive up to Lompoc for Lieu Dit’s Loire Valley lineup at Justin Willett’s Tyler Wines facility (appointment required), and then head over to Liquid Farm Winery for the area’s best Burgundian-style Chardonnays. Finish with a cheese board with scratch-made ciabatta to go from Bob’s Well Bread Bakery in Los Alamos, and bring it back to the beach to watch the sunset. 

Get Here

Most airlines fly into Los Angeles International Airport, which is 95 miles south of Santa Barbara. Be sure to rent a car for exploring wine country.

High curb appeal at Hotel Californian
Jessica Sample

Check In

Two blocks from the Funk Zone (home to the  city’s urban wine trail with more than 20 tasting rooms) and one block from the beach, the recently opened Hotel Californian features stunning interiors by celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard. Classic Spanish Colonial on the outside, modern Moorish on the inside, the hotel has a pair of great restaurants and on-site tasting rooms (Margerum and Melville wineries). Rates start at $400.

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