Cocktail Corner: Saddle Up to Hitching Post Wines

Top Row: Hitching Post Wines Exterior, Hitching Post Wines Interior. Middle: Frank Ostini and Olive deliver lunch; l-r Frank Ostini, Jami Ostini, Charlotte Hartley and Gray Hartley. Bottom: Hitching Post Wines Interior, the Hitching Post Burger and Triple Fried Fries. Photos by Rob Stark, courtesy Hitching Post Wine.

Top Row: Hitching Post Wines Exterior, Hitching Post Wines Interior. Middle: Frank Ostini and Olive deliver lunch; l-r Frank Ostini, Jami Ostini, Charlotte Hartley and Gray Hartley. Bottom: Hitching Post Wines Interior, the Hitching Post Burger and Triple Fried Fries. Photos by Rob Stark, courtesy Hitching Post Wine.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

You know the saying, “location, location, location?” Well, sometimes it takes a while for the right one to become available—but in the case of Hitching Post Wines‘ long-awaited tasting room, it was well worth the wait!  

Located right next door to the famed Hitching Post 2 restaurant in Buellton (which was so memorably immortalized in the movie Sideways), Hitching Post Wines just opened their first-ever tasting room, after almost 40 years of winemaking. The spacious new nearly 12-acre property, formerly occupied by Loring Wine Company, belongs to Frank and Jami Ostini and Gray and Charlotte Hartley. The new tasting room is housed in a mid-century farmhouse with trailing walkways and outdoor seating areas with a view of the Santa Ynez Mountain landscape—including the Ostrich Farm next door. Throughout the property are walkways and casual picnic areas that invite guests to linger over a bottle of wine while taking in the dramatic landscape. Dogs are welcome too.

Bottles on display at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Bottles on display at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Longtime friends, Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini have been making wines in Santa Barbara County since 1979. Hartley, a former Alaskan salmon fisherman and Ostini, chef and owner of the Hitching Post 2 Restaurant, came together through their love of wine and winemaking. Over the years what was once their backyard hobby has turned into a highly acclaimed winemaking venture, with Pinot Noir as their primary focus. 

Currently, the winery produces about 17,000 cases a year.

Outdoor seating at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Outdoor seating at the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

The Traditional Tasting at Hitching Post Wines offers a flight of five Hitching Post Wines consisting of Pinks 2017, Hometown Pinot Noir 2016, Cork Dancer Pinot Noir 2015, Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2015 and Gen Red 2016, priced at $15 per guest.

A Reserve Tasting, priced at $20, includes five wines—Highliner Pinot Noir 2015, Perfect Set Pinot Noir 2015, Bien Nacido Pinot Noir 2015, Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir 2015 and Four Top  2012. The caveat of the Reserve Tasting will be its ever-changing menu featuring rare single-vineyard bottling and special older vintages of Hitching Post.

Hitching Post Wines also offers customized Private Winemaker Tastings with Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini for $60 per guest (by appointment only).

A sign welcomes visitors to the new Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room.

A sign welcomes visitors to the new Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room.

The other beauty of this location is easy access to Hitching Post 2’s Santa Maria Style BBQ food pairings. Classics from the restaurant include HP Burgers, Triple-Fried French Fries, Santa Maria BBQ Artichokes and Grilled Corn Quesadillas. Coming soon, the public will experience an expanded lunch menu served from a refurbished 1970s Vintage Airstream trailer, relocated from Seaside, Florida, and converted into a first-class Santa Maria BBQ kitchen on wheels.

In the coming months, look for the phase two restoration of the rear building into a public wine bar with an enclosed patio overlooking the river with mountain views and a natural stage, ideal for live performances. The classic Airstream trailer and Hitching Post Santa Maria grills will offer a broader menu, cooked onsite surrounding by casual seating. Also planned is a phase three restoration and remodel of the original barn that oversees the Santa Ynez Mountains specifically for private Hitching Post events.

Inside the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Inside the Hitching Post Wine Tasting Room, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Hitching Post Wines is open Sunday – Thursday from  11 a.m. – 5  p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.  Food service from The Hitching Post 2 is available from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. daily, with limited cheese and charcuterie available for purchase in the tasting room. Hitching Post Wines is located at 420 E. Hwy. 246, Buellton. 

Cheers! Click here for more Cocktail Corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on August 31, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: The Wonderful World of Pinot Noir

Courtesy World of Pinot Noir

Courtesy World of Pinot Noir

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg 

The word Pinotphile may not roll off the tongue quite as sweetly as say, a 2012 Sta. Rita Hills Fess Parker Pinot Noir, but the World of Pinot Noir—which features Fess Parker among the more than 200 top interpreters of the grape—is quite a delicious event.

The sixteenth annual World of Pinot Noir is taking place for the third time locally, March 4-5 at Bacara Resort & Spa. This indescribably fun weekend brings pinot noir producers and pinot noir enthusiasts together for an impressive line-up of educational, culinary and tasting events highlighting a veritable buffet of pinot noirs from California, Oregon, Burgundy, Champagne, New Zealand and Tasmania.

Courtesy World of PInot Noir

Courtesy World of PInot Noir

Tasting Events

The World of Pinot Noir Friday Focus Tasting showcases 100 Pinot producers pouring a vineyard designate and library wine selection. The Saturday Grand Tasting features a different lineup of wineries and expands to 125 brands. Both tastings feature wine country appetizers from Bacara Executive Chef Vincent Lesage.

Pinot Focused Seminars

A Sparkling Evolution explores the grower-producer Champagne and Sparkling wine movement

The Diversity of Maison Joseph Drouhin’s Burgundy with Frederic Drouhin focuses on a tasting of wine from different “climats” and Burgundy’s recent designation as a World Heritage site by UNESCO

– Côte d’ Or March Madness is an educational Premier Cru wine tasting that pits the best villages from the Côte de Beaune against the Côte de Nuit

Courtesy World of PInot Noir

Courtesy World of PInot Noir

Debunking the Myth: Cheese & Chocolate wine pairing seminars features fromagers and chocolatiers throwing down the gauntlet to winemakers

Featured Pinot Noir Dinners

Southwestern featuring “ranchero” style cuisine prepared by Frank Ostini of Hitching Post II

Pacific Northwest with guest Chef Jason French from Oregon’s Ned Ludd restaurant

Country French dinner prepared by Bacara Executive Chef Vincent Lesage

– The Rock Stars of Pinot Noir event honoring Josh Jensen with Calera Wine Company

Pioneers & Protégés dinner pairs wines and cuisine with winemaker mentors and mentees

Courtesy World of PInot Noir

Courtesy World of PInot Noir

Pinot in the Movies

The winning films from the inaugural International Wine Film Festival will be shown on the big screen in the resort’s state of the art theatre. Somm: Into the Bottle will be screened on Saturday afternoon.

Trust me, this is a weekend pinot noir lovers won’t want to miss. And if you need any more incentive, a portion of the funds from the World of Pinot Noir silent auction benefit the Michael Bonaccorsi Foundation with Allan Hancock College and the Keith Patterson Memorial Endowment at Cal Poly University.

All events take place at the Bacara Resort & Spa, 8301 Hollister Ave. For additional information or to purchase tickets visit worldofpinotnoir.com.

Hope to see some of you there. Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on February 26. 2016.

Cocktail Corner: Wine & Fire

Courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Allliance

Courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Allliance

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

A weekend filled to the brim with world class wines and wood grilled food awaits Aug. 14-16 in Sta. Rita Hills. The Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance is pulling out all the stops for this annual event. It’s actually a series of intimate wine and food experiences, all of which sound amazing.

Wine and FireFirst up, next Friday night, Aug. 14 from 5-8 p.m., is the Kick Off Barn Party at Sanford & Benedict Barn. Set at the historic barn which housed the first winery in the Santa Rita Hills, located just above the iconic Sanford & Benedict vineyard, planted in 1971, winemakers will share their library stash, large format bottles and small production bottlings (all exclusive to this event) to get the party started, along with an assortment of pizzas and antipasti from Bello Forno Wood Fired Cuisine and live music by The Caverns .

Participating wineries (and wines) include: Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards (library selection of Pinot Noirs & 2013 Barrel Select Pinot Noir); Babcock Winery; Bratcher (large format 2112 La Encantada Pinot Noir, 2112 Bentrock Pinot Noir); Brewer-Clifton; Cargasacchi (Cargasacchi Sta. Rita Hills 2012 Pinot Noir); Crawford Family Wines (past vintages of Pinot Noir from magnum); Fiddlehead Cellars (2006 ‘Seven Twenty Eight’ Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard SRH – 3 Liter, 2010 ‘Seven Hundred Twenty Eight, Bubbles’ Blanc de Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard, SRH – 750ml, 2011 ‘Lollapalooza’ Pinot Noir, Fiddlestix Vineyard, SRH – 750ml); Flying Goat Cellars (2010 Flying Goat Cellars Rio Vista Vineyard Clone 667 (MAGNUM); 2005 Flying Goat Cellars Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard; 2012 Goat Bubbles Blanc de Noirs Clos Pepe Vineyard); FOXEN Vineyard & Winery; Gainey Vineyard (Evan’s Ranch 2013 Morgan’s Pinot Noir); Hilliard Bruce (2012 Moon Pinot Noir); Hartley Ostini Hitching Post Wines (Rio Vista Pinot Noir, Perfect Set Pinot Noir, Cargasacchi Pinot Noir); Jalama Wines (2012 Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard); Ken Brown Wines (2004 Clos Pepe, 2005 Sanford & Benedict, 2005 Cargasacchi, 2006 Clos Pepe & 2006 Cargasacchi); and Kessler – Haak (Library 2008, 2010, 2012 Chardonnay, 2009 Pinot Noir, 2010 2A Pinot Noir, 2010 Pommard Pinot Noir).

Additional participating wineries (and wines) include: LaMontagne Winery (Magnum of Kessler – Haak Pinot Noir & 2011 Huber Vineyard Pinot Noir); Liquid Farm (White Hill, Golden Slope, Four); Loring Wine Company (2010 Cargasacchi Pinot Noir, 2010 Clos Pepe Pinot Noir, 2010 Rancho La Vina Pinot Noir); Montemar (2011 large-format Pinot Noirs from La Encantada, Rio Vista, Santa Rita Hills); Pali Wine Co. (Fiddlestix Vineyard Pinot Noir Vertical: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011); Rozak (2006 & 2007 Estate Pinot Noir); Sanford Winery & Vineyards (Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Viognier, La Rinconada Vineyard Pinot Noir Magnum); Seagrape Wine Company (2013 Chardonnay & 2012 Pinot Noir Rancho la Vina); Siduri Wines (2013 Siduri Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, 2013 Siduri Cargasacchi Vineyard Pinot Noir); Thorne Wine (2010, 2011 Thorne Pinot Noir, Rio Vista Vineyard, Sta Rita Hills) and Transcendence (2012 Zotovich Chardonnay & 2012 La Encantada Pinot Noir).

Courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Allliance

Courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Allliance

The Saturday morning seminar (Aug. 15 from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the Sanford & Benedict Barn) pays homage to fire. “And the Secret Ingredient is…. Fire” will spotlight the fire and passion of local chefs and their four unique grilling styles. BBQ Masters Frank Ostini of The Hitching Post II (which specializes in Open Pit Red Oak BBQ, a central coast classic BBQ style that is gaining attention nationwide), Matt Toll of Tollhouse BBQ (a smoking expert for the long slow cook with his dry rub spices and big rig smoker), Argentine BBQ Rodrigo Gimenez (who will demonstrate a technique fashioned by the gauchos for hundreds of years, which has been the traditional method for grilling in Argentina), and wood fired pizza chef extraordinaire Steve Clifton (local expert on everything Italian and noted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producer of Brewer-Clifton) will share some hot grilling tips. Then the chefs will team up with Sta. Rita Hills winemakers to pair wine and delicious BBQ, all accompanied by The Luck, an Americana band from the Lompoc area.

The Wine and Fire Grand Tasting at La Purisima Mission is Saturday evening’s highlight (Aug. 15, 5-8 p.m.), where more than 40 member wineries and sizzling local chefs and farmers will be on hand for an evening of chillin’ and grillin’. Avant, Babe Farms, Campbell Farms, Central Coast Specialty Foods, Homegrown Cowboy, The Hitching Post II, Los Amigos BBQ, RGC Argentine BBQ, Tollhouse BBQ, Scratch Kitchen and the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers will be serving up an amazing selection of local food favorites. Father-daughter duo Country Heart will play live music throughout the evening.

Courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Allliance

Courtesy Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Allliance

Participating wineries include: Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards; Babcock; Bratcher; Brewer-Clifton; Cargasacchi; Carr Winery; Clos Pepe Estate; Crawford Family Wines; Dierberg and Star Lane Vineyards; Dragonette Cellars; Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard; Fiddlehead Cellars; Flying Goat Cellars; Foley Winery; FOXEN; Gainey; Hilliard Bruce; Hartley Ostini Hitching Post Wines; Huber Cellars; Jalama Wines; Ken Brown Wines; Kessler – Haak and Kita.

Additional participating wineries include: Lafond Winery; LaMontagne Winery; Liquid Farm; Longoria; Loring Wine Company; Lutum; Montemar; Pali Wine Co; Paul Lato Wines; Rozak; Sanford Winery & Vineyards; Seagrape Wine Company; Sea Smoke; Siduri Wines; Transcendence; Wan Fiore Project and Zotovich Cellars.

In addition to these ticketed events, many of the Sta. Rita Hills wineries will be hosting special open house events over the weekend. Visit http://www.staritahills.com/wine-fire for more details and to purchase tickets.

Hope to see you there. Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on August 7, 2015.

 

Cocktail Corner: Going Sideways

We indulged in a "Pig Pickin' Party" tradition by drinking bourbon  toast in salute to our  dinner at the Sideways 10th Anniversary Winemaker Dinner. Photo by  Krista Kennell.

We indulged in a “Pig Pickin’ Party” tradition by drinking bourbon toast in salute to our
dinner at the Sideways 10th Anniversary Winemaker Dinner. Photo by Krista Kennell.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg

It’s been 10 years since Miles and Jack’s wine-soaked romp  through the vineyards of Santa Barbara wine country, and the impact of these memorable Sideways characters—created by by author Rex Pickett and brought to life by director Alexander Payne and a top-notch cast and crew—is still being celebrated throughout the region. This Academy Award-winning movie introduced the world to the incredible Pinot Noirs of Santa Barbara, and has forever changed the wine world’s perception of the bounty that Santa Barbara County has to offer.

The 10th anniversary celebrations for the movie Sideways kicked off last weekend with a wonderful party at Clenenden Ranch. Hosted by restaurateur and winemaker Frank Ostini (The Hitching Post II Restaurant & Winery) and winemaker Jim Clendenen (Au Bon Climat), this “Pig Pickin’ Party” was quite the shindig, featuring director Payne and movie star Paul Giamatti, an impressive roster of local winemakers, as well as special guests Jim n’ Nick’s BBQ of Birmingham, Alabama.

Enjoying the festivities (L-R), Gray Hartley of Hartley Ostini Hitching Post wines; Sideways star Paul Giamatti, Frank Ostini of Hartley Ostini Hitching Post Wine; Sideways director Alexander Payne, Sideways producer Michael London and Jim Clenenden of Au Bon Climat wines. Photo by Krista Kennell.

Enjoying the festivities (L-R), Gray Hartley of Hartley Ostini Hitching Post wines; Sideways star Paul Giamatti, Frank Ostini of Hartley Ostini Hitching Post Wine; Sideways director Alexander Payne, Sideways producer Michael London and Jim Clenenden of Au Bon Climat wines. Photo by Krista Kennell.

As you might imagine, Ostini and Clendenen served some amazing hand-selected Sideways original era 2004, 2005 and 2006 wines from Au Bon Climat, Hitching Post and Clendenen Family Vineyards—and other vintners also brought along some specially selected bottles to pair with Jim ‘n Nick’s southern-style barbecue feast, which included flying in their own heritage breed pig that was then slow roasted overnight for the party.

In addition to the party at the ranch, which I was fortunate to be able to attend, the following evening the Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation continued the festivities by celebrating the Sideways milestone anniversary partnering with Direct Relief  (a 14-year partnership) on the Santa Barbara Wine Auction, a biennial gala event that since 2000 has raised $3 million in support of Direct Relief’s mission to provide medical aid and relief to people facing emergency situations around the globe.

“At this year’s auction, through the generosity of local vintners and Direct Relief supporters, we were able to raise $1 million,” reports Foundation president Jennifer Williamson Doré.  “A significant component of that number was contributed by bidders desiring the chance to come together to celebrate the anniversary of the release of Sideways at a 10 Year reunion dinner, generously donated by Frank Ostini and the Hitching Post II and Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat Winery.” To Jack and Miles we say, “Well done!”

Sideways star Paul Giamatti and  Frank Ostini of Hartley Ostini Hitching Post wine skyped with Giamatti's co-star Virginia Madsen at the benefit event for Direct Relief International.  Photo by Krista Kennell.

Sideways star Paul Giamatti and Frank Ostini of Hartley Ostini Hitching Post wine skyped with Giamatti’s co-star Virginia Madsen at the benefit event for Direct Relief International. Photo by Krista Kennell.

In addition to the gala Santa Barbara Wine Auction, the Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation raises funds annually through silent auctions at both the Vintners Festival and Celebration of Harvest in support of local nonprofit organizations including Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People, sponsorship of Vino de Sueños annual event, FoodBank of Santa Barbara County, Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation Scholarship Program, Annual Scholarships to qualifying high school seniors in northern Santa Barbara County and Annual Scholarships to qualifying students in the Allan Hancock College Enology and Viticulture program.

In what’s sure to be one of many more Sideways celebrations to come, the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau is holding a  Merlot Taste-Off event on September 13 to  pay homage to wine variety made famous in the Oscar-winning film.  As may recall, in the movie the character of Miles has the memorable line: “If anyone orders merlot, I’m leaving. I am not drinking any (expletive) merlot!”

Tracy Farhad, executive director of the Solvang CVB retorts, “No more denigrating merlot! Come taste these marvelous wines for yourself.”

Participating wineries include Baehner FournierButtonwoodCarivintasCoreDascombHappy Canyon VineyardJ. LudlowLions PeakLucas & LewellenPoint ConcepcionSagebrush AnniesSevtap and Sunstone. Local restaurants will provide gourmet appetizers.

The tasting will take place in the garden courtyard of the Solvang Festival Theatre (420 Second St.), and proceeds will benefit the nonprofit theater. For information and tickets call 805/688-6144 or visit SolvangUSA.com

Stay tuned, there are many more Sideways celebrations to come.

Cheers!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Jim Clenenden greets guests at his ranch in Los Alamos. Photo by Krista Kennell.

Jim Clenenden greets guests at his ranch in Los Alamos. Photo by Krista Kennell.

 

Winemakers enjoyed a special "Pig Pickin' Party" bourbon  toast in salute to the pig at the Sideways 10th Anniversary Winemaker Dinner. Photo by  Krista Kennell.

Winemakers enjoyed a special “Pig Pickin’ Party” bourbon toast in salute to the pig at the Sideways 10th Anniversary Winemaker Dinner. Photo by Krista Kennell.

Just a peek at the fabulous fixings at the Sideways 10th Anniversary Winemaker Dinner. Photo by Krista Kennell.

Just a peek at the fabulous fixings at the Sideways 10th Anniversary Winemaker Dinner. Photo by Krista Kennell.

 

A view worth turning sideways to see, at Clenenden Ranch in Los Alamos. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

A view worth turning sideways to see, at Clenenden Ranch in Los Alamos. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Originally published in Santa Barbara SEASONS on August 8, 2014.