Iris Rideau was born in New Orleans, the city's famed food and drink forever defining her palate. As soon as she visited California, though, she fell in love with sunny beaches and rolling wine-country valleys. She ran several successful businesses there, helped champion the cause of affirmative action within the state, and in the '90s, headed to retirement on the 23-acre winery she'd spent her professional career slowly building. She called this haven Rideau Vineyard.
Iris, still passionate about the food of her childhood, felt that France's Rh?ne Valley wines best complemented the spicy Creole sauces she so loved. So, she dedicated her entire property to the production of those rare varietals, importing some second-generation Ch?teau de Beaucastel winery vines. She began growing Syrah, Mourv?dre, Roussanne, and Viognier grapes. As soon as her first bottles were ready, she invited her friends over for a series of Creole-inspired dinners that paired each dish with one of her wines. And of course, each evening was enhanced with the same traditional jazz music that seems to permeate the air in New Orleans. The experiences became wildly popular, and she expanded them to invite the public.
Even if they don't participate in the wine-and-food events, Rideau Vineyard's visitors can still sample Iris's award-winning wines in the unique tasting room?a two-story adobe built in 1884. It once served as a popular stagecoach stop and guest ranch on a famous route between Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara. Iris restored and renovated it, and the building now has historical landmark status from Santa Barbara County.
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When third-generation grape-farmer Louis Lucas and Superior Court judge Royce Lewellen met in 1975, they soon discovered they had at least one thing in common: a love for wine. The duo decided to go into the wine-making business together, and spent the next several decades building the foundations of their estate. Today, that estate encompasses more than 400 acres, and includes three Santa Barbara County vineyards spread across three distinct climates. Though the wine made from these grapes bears three different labels, each falls under the name Lucas & Lewellen.
The estate winery lies in the small European?style town of Solvang. Here, winemaker Megan McGrath Gates relies on state-of-the-art gear to transform locally sourced grapes into a range of wines. After aging and bottling, many of these bold and medium-bodied reds, vintages, and dry and semi-sweet white wines make their way out to the rustic tasting room. At the bar, knowledgeable staff guide visitors through a tasting of each. Sometimes, Lucas and Lewellen themselves can be found behind the bar, pouring samples and answering mysteries such as what that guy Cabernet did to get all those wines named after him. The tasting room also houses a boutique filled with gourmet foods and wine-related accessories.
In the heart of Solvang, an unassuming red brick building stands at the corner of Mission Drive and Atterdag Street. Though it may not show it from the outside, the tasting room at Presidio Winery houses a vineyard’s worth of innovative varietals ready for exploration. Beneath warm pendant lights, the winery’s resident oenophiles pour certified organic and biodynamic wines. The cool climate where the grapes flourish is particularly well-suited for pinot noir, chardonnay, and syrah varietals, and crops are harvested using sustainable farming techniques. Visitors can sip samples of varietals such as the dry Estate syrah rose, the dark and savory sangiovese, and Estate pinot noir, with aromas of cherry, violets, and oak.
The goal at NOW Lipo-Loss is twofold?to help clients both look and feel their best. To accomplish the former, the staff uses the FDA-approved Vevazz system to shrink fat cells, diminish stretch marks, and promote smoother-looking skin. They also usher clients atop the whole-body vibration platform, which stimulates muscles for a full-body workout. When it comes to feeling better, the staff offers self-mastery therapy sessions to combat stress and negativity.
In a field of weeds, dirt, and brush, players sprint between paint-splattered wooden barriers while colorful orbs whiz past. As combatants post up behind giant tractor tires and industrial tubing to settle on plans of attack, refs keep watch to ensure safety and fair play. When off the battlegrounds, teams can prep for future matches by gearing up at the pro shop, which stocks paintball markers, masks, and apparel.
As a collection of 13 wine-tasting rooms housed in metal buildings, the Lompoc Wine Ghetto offers a fun-filled day of sampling regional varieties such as pinot noir and chardonnay. Each winery crafts its own set of libations, and many are produced with grapes grown in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA.