If you’re looking for the best places to drink in Santa Ynez Valley, you’ve found the right post! I’ve also detailed where to stay in SYV, where to eat & what else to do in the area that doesn’t involve food or booze! There is also an SYV guide on my instagram with quite a few places if you like that format!
I highly recommend making a reservation/appointment for any of the restaurants, tasting rooms or wineries that take them! Also, be sure to double check hours because a lot of places in the area take their “weekends” on weekdays.
The best places to drink in Santa Ynez Valley – Tasting Rooms
Most of these places are in Los Olivos (unless otherwise indicated), so it’s super easy to hop around to different spots!
Solminer is all about growing and producing natural, organic and biodynamic wines. They really embody the concept of Solminer. I’ll let them explain with their own words below.
“Sol-miner as in mining the “Sun” which in turn nourishes the soul. The name inspires us to discover and unearth the treasures in the soils of the California Central Coast. Our decisions have always been personal (not commercial) and involve what we call “conscious farming”. As we learn about our little piece of earth and our place in it, the picture begins to widen. We have a feeling of connectedness as each trip around the sun gives us the chance to experience the magical process of exchange from the dirt, plants, fruit, wine, humans, sky, moon, sun and stars.”
This was one of my favorite tastings I’ve done in the area! I prefer wines that taste different from your average California wines and I think Solminer has really achieved that.
We went home with their Pinot Noir, Carbonic Syrah & Grenache and actually decided to join their wine club!
Stolpman’s Fresh Garage
Stolpman is dedicated to sensible farming and winemaking, doing everything by hand!
“Over 20 years ago, our Founding Partner, Tom Stolpman, discovered what we believe to be one of the greatest viticultural sites on earth. Hidden in the hills of California’s Central Coast, on a rare Limestone outcropping & unobstructed from the Pacific Ocean wind, this unique land is naturally suited to grow Syrah and Roussanne grapes. We are committed to preserving this natural environment for our vines through conscious farming, dry farming, & sustainable employment. In the winery, we prefer native fermentation & minimal manipulation.”
What we went home with: Love You Bunches Rose, Syrah So Hot Right Now & Love You Bunches Sangiovese
“I am proud to source grapes from exceptional, local vineyards practicing sustainability, organic and/or biodynamic farming.” – SUNNY DOENCH STRICKER ~ WINEMAKER
Sunny is a light! Honestly, her wine and tasting room quickly became my favorite in the area. It seems, it’s become many others’ favorite as well, because her wine club has a waitlist! We could have stayed at her tasting room all day, trying her perfectly crafted wines and having deep conversations. You can tell she is passionate about what she does and really cares about the whole tasting room experience!
What we went home with: 2019 Grenache & 2019 Syrah
We love the fun, laid back vibe of this tasting room! It came highly recommended by Sunny, from Future Perfect & it did not disappoint. There is space inside at the standing bar or outside tables to sit and taste! Also, their wine tasting room pup is adorable!
What we went home with: Amy & Peter Made This Rosé of Pinot Noir // Holus Bolus Syrah
Firstly Coquelicot (ko-klee-ko) means Poppy in French, more specifically the red ones that pop up in Europe on countrysides. I remember seeing them while driving on my first trip through Italy & being obsessed. I mean I am generally obsessed with poppies. See exhibit A: tattoo on right arm.
Their vineyard is an organically farmed property in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. Sustainable farming and gentle, meticulous winemaking techniques converge to produce hand made, limited production wines that are a true celebration of life. We had a hard time picking our favorites here, but I highly recommend going in for a tasting, then heading next door to Nella Kitchen for a late lunch!
This tasting room was my very first experience in SYV back in 2013. At that time I was sold on wine in general, but was really excited about their cupcake pairings. Years later I took my mom back to the tasting room to try the wines and we signed up for their wine club! We have been part of it ever since and I swear we’ve never gotten a bottle we didn’t enjoy. Aside from the quality wine, I am drawn to them because they are so focused on family. Read their family creed below & more about them here!
“We Live to Honor those that have come before us, and to prepare the way for those yet to come.”
Their tasting room has a ton of wonderful outdoor space to enjoy wine AND cupcakes!
Liquid Farm supports local viticulture and honors their palates’ love for old world wines. They decided to make what they most love to drink –– Chardonnay that is earth and mineral driven from cool climates with little or no new oak. This is exactly why I enjoyed the Chardonnays they produce!
I was also a huge fan of their Rosé & Pinot Noir! Schedule a tasting and you’ll probably go home with a couple bottles to enjoy later.
Kings Carey Wines
A passion project by the same winemaker as Liquid Farm, they offer tastings on a case-by-case basis by appointment only. You can contact them with and questions via their instagram DM or email them here!
Honestly I love all of the wines, but am a HUGE fan of the Syrah and Grenache!
Casa Dumetz (Los Alamos)
Casa Dumetz started out producing one singular Pinot Noir from the Sta. Rita Hills. Now Casa Dumetz is the overall umbrella for their three labels, including Clementine Carter and The Feminist Party. Clementine Carter focuses on the Rhône varietals and The Feminist Party is a multi-varietal blend representing their focus on collaboration. Their production is just 2,000 cases each vintage. “Some call it boutique, others micro.”
I am absolutely obsessed with all of the wines we tasted, but my favorites were The Feminist Party GSM, Clementine Carter Grenache Rosé & Apple Grape Cider (if this is available when you go, you HAVE to try!) Walter’s favorite was Clementine Carter Grenache Sta Rita Hills. They also have a dim sum menu!
For Beer lovers, you’ve come to the right place as well: Babi’s Beer Emporium, Casa Dumetz’s sister business is located under the same roof!
Lumen Wines (Los Alamos)
Lumen Wines is a passion project of Will Henry and Lane Tanner. Lane was the first independent female winemaker in Santa Barbara County, and the first to dedicate her entire winery to Pinot Noir. Her wines were always more old-world in style, and built for aging gracefully.
We got to taste a Pinot from the 90s and OMG it was delicious! Nowadays Will & Lane make wines from the best cool-climate vineyards in Santa Barbara County, following a regimen consistent with California’s early days of hands-on, honest winemaking. I highly recommend doing a Lumen Wines tasting alongside your dinner at Pico or just come in for a tasting!
The best places to drink in Santa Ynez Valley – Vineyards
Vega Vineyard & Farm (Buellton)
Every experience at Vega Vineyard and Farm celebrates the bounty of their land and the Santa Ynez Valley. They are conveniently located just off Highway 101 in the heart of Santa Barbara Wine Country. Aside from the convenience of location, you would never know you are just off the major highway once you drive onto the magical property. From wine tasting, to truly farm-to-table dining and cute farm animals – this is the perfect way to spend an afternoon in SYV.
We did our tasting while enjoying a wonderful meal!
What we went home with: 2019 Nebbiolo, 2020 Syrah & 2021 Barbera
Buttonwood Farm Winery (Solvang)
This is a fun vineyard / farm experience! There are picnic tables, with plenty of shaded spots. Feel free to bring a picnic and your pup, as long as you keep them on leash! Honestly, we brought a dog to every place on this list!
Lots of interesting tastes off menu that we ended up going home with. AND there’s a farm stand across the street with produce grown on property.
What we went home with: 2019 Carbonique, 2019 Pét-Nat, 2020 Grenache Rosé, Hop On (hopped white wine)
Zaca Mesa Winery & TREAD (Los Olivos)
One of my must-dos on my birthday was wine tasting at a vineyard, so we headed to Zaca Mesa Winery. The weather was kind of crazy that day –– picture downpour one minute & blue skies the next! But they were super accommodating with covered outdoor seating and heaters.
Zaca Mesa is a family owned and operated winery dedicated to producing distinctive, single-vineyard Rhône-style wines. They were the first vineyard to plant Syrah in the area in 1978. They combine traditional Old World Winemaking practices with innovative farming and vineyard techniques.
I highly recommend tasting through both their Zaca Mesa & TREAD (site-driven Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) lines of wine!
“We believe great wine begins in the vineyard. We are dedicated to crafting high quality, estate-grown wines that showcase the layered nuances of our unique, high elevation vineyard site in Santa Barbara County’s beloved Santa Ynez Valley wine country.”
Be sure to ask about their cheese pairings! They are curated by Cailloux Cheese Shop in Solvang!
What we went home with: Zaca Mesa 2017 Repose (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot) & 2016 Black Bear Block – Syrah. We also got a bottle from TREAD, but as I update this in 2023, we’ve already enjoyed it and I can’t remember what it was haha!
Fess Parker (Los Olivos)
Walter and I spent a perfect afternoon under a willow tree at Fess Parker! We made an appointment to taste a few of their wines then chose a bottle to share on the lawn under a willow tree.
Our favorite was actually the Chardonnay, which is very rare for me! We enjoyed it so much that we went home with a bottle that we just enjoyed on Walter’s recent trip back here.
The best places to drink in Santa Ynez Valley – everything other than wine
Looking for a fun beer spot? Babi’s Beer Emporium, Casa Dumetz’s sister business is located under the same roof!
Nella (Los Olivos)
Our first time at Nella was for a nightcap after dinner at SY Kitchen. They actually share ownership. I asked the bartender to make me something delicious for an Old Fashioned drinker & he did not let me down! Curious about the restaurant aspect of Nella? Check out this post!
Pico (Los Alamos)
Pico has a gorgeous backyard, complete with beautiful gardens and a fire up! I ordered the Barrel Aged Mezcal Old Fashioned & Ilana got the Barrel Aged Mezcal Negroni. They were perfect! Curious about the restaurant aspect of Pico? Check out this post!
High Roller Tiki Lounge (Solvang)
This is the first and only craft beer and wine bar exclusively featuring tiki style wine-based cocktails. You’ll find tiki drinks like the painkilla, mai tai, suffering Scandinavian and more in the heart of Solvang. It is a refreshing addition to the town & decor is SPOT ON!
We ordered: Suffering Scandinavian, Old Fashioned and a seasonal pick
Though I feel like this is an extensive list of places to drink in SYV, I KNOW there is so much more to try! I would love to hear your picks in the comments.
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