Eighty-one-thousand vines grow across Malibu Family Wines' 90-acre vineyard, producing eight varietals in total, including cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, and malbec. Once bottled and corked, many of the vineyard's Semler and Saddlerock wines end up at the tasting room in Los Olivos, a homey space with indoor and outdoor seating, occasional live music, and a large wooden tasting bar where customers are free to smell, sample, and swirl away. Those who enjoy the wines can rejoice knowing there's more where that came from?the vineyard expects to increase its vine total to 100,000 in the near future.
Nestled inside the Bonaventure Hotel, experienced masseuses maintain 10,000 square feet of pure serenity spread across 11 treatment rooms. Cordoned off into sections for men and women, the facility flaunts amenities such as hydro-jet showers with seven pulsing showerheads and saunas fogged with soothing vapor instead of fog machines stolen from middle-school dances. Bonaventure Club plucks massage techniques from all over the globe, including Thailand where therapists stretch frames with their hands, knees, and feet to amplify the client's flexibility and energy. Pre- or post-treament, clients can unwind in a relaxation lounge stocked with Perrier water, jasmine-rose tea, and snacks, while flipping through magazines or watching a big-screen TV.
According to the clever folks at Giessinger Winery, the best wine is the one you like. Following that logic, they invite visitors into tasting rooms to sample the winery's many varieties and figure out which most agrees with their palate. Bestowed with the honor of Santa Barbara's Best Winery and Best Tasting Room in Santa Barbara by the U.S. Commerce Association in 2013, resident winemaker Edouard Giessinger and his associate Justin Tatum also lead groups through the nuanced process of crafting wines during comprehensive classes, wherein visitors can learn how wine is made, visit the production facility, and even taste wines.
When Vince Pantess was growing up in New Jersey, he and his cousins would enjoy a taste of homemade wine—diluted on account of their age—while dining with their Italian family during Sunday dinner. After his Italian forebears immigrated to the United States, they made wine in their cellars for years, laying the foundation for a tradition that pervaded Vince's childhood.
In 2005, after 20 years in the chemical and biopharmaceutical industries, Vince decided to act on his inherited passion for wine. His background in the sciences collided with classes and home experiments in horticulture—as well as an influential experience working a commercial harvest in the Santa Maria Valley—to cultivate the skill and artistry Vince needed for artisanal winemaking.
Every grape that ends up in San Vicente Cellars’ barrels comes from vineyards along the central coast—specifically Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County—that hand-farm their grapes and practice sustainable agriculture techniques. The careful collection results in a complex wine list that includes bottles of late-harvested viognier and two different syrahs that highlight the versatility of the grape: the 2009 Thompson is driven by spice, whereas a San Stefano blend takes Syrah from three vineyards for an earthy, smooth vintage with hints of raspberry.
Brittany Rice is a Renaissance woman: a poet, photographer, and culinary expert, she has managed to combine her love for artistic expression in Mill?sim? Cellars. After learning the wine business first from her family?s winery and then from a culinary academy, Brittany decided to honor the tradition of libations by making her own Old-World?style wines. In that vein, she ages her vinos longer than most contemporary wineries or families who simply forget about the bottle of merlot stashed behind their washing machine.
Made from organic grapes from surrounding Santa Barbara vineyards, Brittany?s wines are smooth and full of flavor. Her cache includes a 2006 Bleu Saphir comprised of 60% cabernet sauvignon, 25% merlot, and 15% cabernet franc, as well as a 2007 Scoprire made from 48% syrah, 29% mourv?dre, 13% cabernet franc, and 10% cabernet sauvignon. Brittany complements her artful flavor bouquets and makes her wares truly unique by placing her own photography on the labels and describing the winery's creations with poetic tasting notes.
Mike and Chris Brown's story of Cantara Cellars starts as many success stories do: with a humble beginning. Back in 2002, the husband and wife team started off with just 250 pounds of chardonnay grapes that had been hand-picked from Mike's parents' vineyard in Lodi, which eventually transformed into their first 18 gallons of wine. And like most creative endeavors, the winemaking was a labor of love, something the couple doted upon, developed, and refined over the coming years. In 2007, once they had accumulated a huge amount of knowledge?and inventory of wine?the tasting room opened to the public, where visitors could relax, snack on small plates, and enjoy vinos by the ounce, full glass, or bottle. These days, Cantara works with more than 50 tons of harvested grapes each fall, and crafts more than 10 varietals throughout the year.