Santa Barbara Receives Travel Awards and Accolades

Wine Tasting by Bike in Santa Barbara

It appears to be the unofficial travel editorial awards season and Santa Barbara is the proud recipient of a variety of notable mentions and magazine highlights. The callouts are exciting testaments to both travel writers’ and readers’ love of this favorite coastal destination.

The Los Angeles Times audience voted Santa Barbara the Best Getaway in the 2012 Travel and Entertainment Readers’ Choice Awards! This was followed by two more editorial accolades, including:

  • Departures Magazine: World’s Most Bikeable Wine Regions – This mention talks about Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone—the section of city located between the Pacific and Highway 101 that has given rise to a variety of artisan winemakers, galleries and boutique hotels—which is home to the Urban Wine Trail. Made up of 17 Santa Barbara County tasting rooms all within blocks of each other and the beach, the Urban Wine Trail provides the perfect path to enjoy some quality pours mixed with easy pedaling or a ride in a pedicab!
  • Travel + Leisure Magazine: Best Hotels in California – Two of Santa Barbara’s esteemed hotel properties proudly made this list. The San Ysidro Ranch, which is a 500-acre property offering 27 rooms and 14 vine-covered cottages in a secluded setting near downtown Santa Barbara, was JFK and Jackie Kennedy’s choice as a honeymoon spot. Additionally, the Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara was chosen for its Spanish Colonial style and dream-like coastal expanse along Montecito’s waterfront.

Santa Barbara and other Central California gems continued their time in the spotlight with this month’s issue of the Wine Enthusiast, which ran the article, California’s Highway 1, The Wine-Lover’s Route. From the Urban Wine Trail to the Sideways highlights of the Santa Ynez and Solvang valleys, the article takes the reader on a virtual tour of some of the Central Coast’s best tasting rooms.

Pick up your copies today or read the articles online! For updated information on Santa Barbara happenings, news and events and special offers, make sure to follow Santa Barbara on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or check in with us on FourSquare!

Santa Clara Valley Spring Passport Weekend

Get your fill of Santa Clara Valley wines March 24th–25th at the Santa Clara Valley Passport Weekend hosted by Wineries of Santa Clara Valley! There will be over 20 participating wineries offering wine and food pairings, plus additional entertainment including music, art, winery tours, and barrel tastings.

With your purchase of the event’s wine passport, you’ll receive a souvenir wine glass and wine trail map. For more information on the event and how to purchase your wine passport click here. Cheers!

Santa Maria Wines Extend Hot Streak

By Santa Maria Valley Visitor & Convention Bureau

The wines of the Santa Maria Valley continue to extend their hot streak, with two bottlings from Bien Nacido Vineyard being named to esteemed critic Steve Heimoff’s list of top-scoring wines of 2011 out of 4,800 wines tasted. Talk about beating the odds with remarkable fruit!

Heimoff, the West Coast editor of the Wine Enthusiast, gave the Qupe 2006 Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard 25th Anniversary X-Block and Foxen 2010 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Block UU the highest scores in their varietal categories in 2011. Continue reading

Pairings in Paso: Venteux Vineyards Estate Syrah with Spicy Chipotle Jam

by Tina Swithin

I refuse to brag about the fact that it was 68 degrees today in Paso Robles (it’s January!).  Maybe I am bragging just a bit but honestly, can you blame me?  What is one to do when faced with spectacular weather in the dead of winter?  I know what I do: wine tasting, of course!  I took a jaunt down the road to Templeton because I’ve been wanting to try out a few wineries that are new to me.

I had the pleasure of visiting Venteux Vineyards and while I was there, I picked up a bottle of their fabulous 2007 Estate Syrah.  Their beautiful, modern-rustic tasting room is located on Las Tablas Road in Templeton and you will probably find me there quite often after today’s visit.  Bobbi Stelzle, co-owner of Venteux Vineyards was kind enough to share a favorite family recipe with me.  “We have a very simple, but great recipe that works well with so many things.  We use it for wine & cheese in the afternoons and we’ve also used it for Hospice du Rhone weekend with lamb hash and rustic toast for brunch”, explains Bobbi.  She had me at “wine and cheese”.  After a quick stop at Trader Joes, I was excited to get home and put it to the test. Continue reading

Pairings in Paso: Spicy Hummus and Le Cuvier Chardonnay

by Tina Swithin

I wear several hats for the Travel Paso Robles Alliance but one of my favorite jobs is scouting around for new and exciting recipes.  With over 200 local wineries and the best restaurants this side of the Mississippi, I have an endless supply of artisan delights right at my fingertips.  I am one lucky lady!

Being that the holidays are behind us, I have been on the hunt for recipes that are a little bit lighter and more nutritious.  I have had my fill (and then some) of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and everything else that graces a Thanksgiving Day table.  Throughout the year, I tend to lean towards foods that are on the  healthy side.  I am a huge fan of hummus so you can imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this Curry Spiced Hummus recipe from Le Cuvier Winery in Paso Robles.  I couldn’t wait to get home and try it! And here’s the recipe: Continue reading

Picture Prefect Weddings in Paso Robles

by Patrice, Arranged by Patrice

1st photo

Paso Robles Wine Country!  Who wouldn’t want to get married here?  The scenery and the incredible venues draw you in immediately.  Picture perfect weddings every time.   The wine is just as varied as the venues themselves, first class all the way.

As beautiful as Paso Robles Wine Country is, there is plenty of space to create a wedding that says YOU!  Your wedding is about claiming the day for yourself and making it your own with your own unique touches.  Continue reading

by Danika Reed, Vivant Fine Cheese

Hello Cheese Lovers!

When I sit down to collect my thoughts and begin to prepare for the upcoming Holiday season, I get an overwhelming feeling of comfort, which makes me appreciate the rich life we enjoy because we live on the Central Coast of California.  Many of my friends are sharing their daily feelings of thanks online.  I find it uplifting and inspiring to read the simple everyday things people are thankful for and that I most often take for granted.  As we settle into a season of family and friends, my first thoughts focus on food and of course CHEESE!!  Many of the customers who frequent Vivant Fine Cheese inquire about what the cheese girls’ favorite cheeses are right now. We definitely have our favorites.  They usually change seasonally and sometimes daily.  Our favorites right now mostly revolve around recipe ideas.  We love to share our cheesy recipes with anyone who will listen.  Two that we think are quick, easy and perfect for your Thanksgiving appetizer table are Baked Brie en Croute and Baked Bucheron.  Each of these warm gooey treats are easily increased in size depending on how many guests you are entertaining and will make you the talk of the neighborhood for years to come! Continue reading