Committed to providing fresh pours, the winetenders of Gather Wine Bar uncork only 25 to 35 of their carefully curated central-coast wines each week. Knowledgeable staff can recommend a bottle for customers to pair with charcuterie plates, flatbread pizzas, and gourmet pub snacks such as bacon-wrapped dates. Alternatively, themed wine flights can provide a cross section of a single varietal or eclectic tastes from an array of vines. Live music acts and singles events create an upbeat atmosphere on many nights, and catered parties can gather small groups around a fire pit or feed 100 or more people with unlimited appetizers from the bar.
Sort This Out Cellars combines the wine selection of a boutique specialty store with the aesthetic of a Vegas diner in the 1950s. Chrome and red stools line up at the bar, and sleek vinyl loveseats are juxtaposed against wine barrels in the lounge. The winery’s aesthetic was inspired by a 1961 Rat Pack photo that recalled times of unapologetic fast living, glamour, and gambling. Because the founders wanted to avoid the sleepy, pastoral vibe of most wineries and all roadside hay-petting zoos, they embraced the rockabilly aesthetic to ensure that their digs were as exciting as their customers and wines.
Those small-batch wines are created from grapes purchased from Californian vineyards and crushed by Sort This Out’s proprietor. “This means,” a writer for Wine Country This Week noted, “he can search the state for the best grapes to crush, or in some cases the best juice from another winery to purchase, and then finish it into his own wine.” The aesthetics surrounding the wine are also important. Mid-century gentlemen’s playing cards inspired a line of bottles with pin-ups on the label matched to flavors within. Other elixirs borrow their names from poker and Vegas table games, hinting at inventive combinations of pinot grigio, viognier, and sauvignon blanc grapes. Some evenings, toasting glasses punctuate the sounds of live music. True to form, the guest bands play oldies and rockabilly tunes.
Guests to Sevtap Winery's newly expanded tasting room are greeted by the creator of these handcrafted, small-batch wines before delving into five handpicked samples of the Bordeaux variety. Both vino veterans and novices will enjoy the intimacy of the boutique-like space, including the chalkboard walls, where sippers may illustrate their newfound love of cabernet or merlot, or compose a practice break-up letter to a long-distance sommelier. On weekends, live music entertains eardrums while taste buds languor in fermented luxury, and all tasting pairs leave with their very own bottle of Serendipity sauvignon blanc 2010 to continue their wine-soaked sojourn in the comfort of their own home or the nearest public library with a BYOB policy.
Wandering Dog Wine Bar curates a collection of brews and vintages sourced locally and from around the world, dispensing them by the glass or flight along with light, savory pairings. Visitors choose from a selection of nearly 50 wines available by the glass each day, sizing up their distinctive aromas, colors, and hair-dying capabilities in varied tasting flights. Beers hailing from Germany, Belgium, and England politely doff their caps and dispense their amber insides for beer-sampling sessions. Light plates of cheese, chocolate, and antipasto complement the flavor profiles of each taste and prepare palates for their next adventure.
Everything at Ojai Beverage Company revolves around their drinks. That's because cousins and owners Jorge Alem and Joby Yobe grew up in the liquor business, and wanted to create a space for fellow aficionados to sample, purchase, and pair their wide selection of wines and beers. Their guests sample glasses of wine from local vineyards, cleanse palates between sips with bites of the kitchen's pulled pork sliders, olive tapenade, or burgers blended with a cabernet and rosemary reduction. Bartenders pour out 20 local and international beers such as Ninkasi's Sasquath Legacy WheatWine or Rodenbach Grand Cru's sour red ale. Once guests have found a vintage or beer they like, they can purchase it in the shop. To keep up to date on the shop's newest and most unique flavors, guests can also sign up for their monthly beer club which sends bottles of beers picked for their flavor or ability to christen a ship.