The vino aficionados at Bernard’s Wine Gallery stock their cellars with a multifarious collection of wines from around the world, including a broad selection of local Santa Barbara County vintages. Currently, the gallery inundates taste buds with a mélange of locally produced Coquelicot beverages cultivated using organic farming principles, such as zero chemical pesticides, regular composting practices, and hemp-woven tuxedos for every employee. Samples of Coquelicot Vineyard’s fermented delights—including chardonnay, sangiovese, and cabernet franc—dart across tongues to invoke an array of tones and flavors. Additionally, free plates brim with rich cheeses that help support the rich, sugary notes of the wines by spontaneously animating and leading a pep rally.
Agua Dulce Winery unfurls its trellised vines and winemaking facilities across 90 acres of the Sierra Pelona Valley. The grapes rely on the valley's cool evening breezes and alluvial soils to maintain the earthy, peppery flavors and restrained acidity that characterize the region's wines. Medium- and high-toasted barrels from France, Hungary, and the United States each lend their own influence to the freshly fermented creations, aging the juice and subtly tweaking the flavorful interplay of rich fruit and restrained spice. The winery's selection includes a robust zinfandel that can pair with smoky barbecue or grilled meats and a bold cabernet sauvignon, which spent two years contemplating its escape from an international mixture of oak barrels.
At tastings held daily from June to August, Jaffurs Wine Cellars tempts oenophilic tongues with five Rhône varietals. Growers in the fertile Santa Ynez, Santa Rita, and Santa Maria wine regions carefully cultivate the future intoxicants on small lots, observing high farming standards and ancient Bacchanalian rituals. With a limited production of about 5,000 cases each year, Jaffurs' winemakers can thoroughly inspect each individual grape, screening out overripe fruitlets and anthropomorphized raisins. The results are red and petite syrahs, grenache, and mourvedre wines that play pleasantly atonal chords of fruit across the palate, an aromatic white viognier with floral and peach intonations, and other varieties that croon seductive verses to receptive taste buds. A private tasting appointment, necessary for groups of more than six, may incur an additional fee ($5/person).
Thanks to Southern California's dry summer days and cool nights, the grapes around Antelope Valley Winery enjoy a long growing season with ideal temperatures and conditions. This translates into a variety of wines that run the gamut from robust reds to sweet sparkling concoctions perfect for toasting raisins who escaped the press. And although wine is Antelope Valley Winery's main focus, it's not their only one. In addition, they sell grass-fed buffalo meat hailed for its low-cholesterol goodness, and run a farmers' market from May through November, where shoppers can pick up exotic meats, organic juice, and locally-made goat cheese.