Santa Barbara’s Rugged Beauty: Photographer George Rose Turns His Lens to Wine Country

Santa Barbara’s Rugged Beauty: Photographer George Rose Turns His Lens to Wine Country, from the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Touring & Tasting.

One of the things about Santa Barbara County’s wine country that is so unique is the western feeling, says George Rose, whose new large format photography coffee table book, “Wine Country Santa Barbara County,” showcases this bewitching California coastal wine landscape to perfection.

A longtime wine and travel photojournalist, Rose, whose most recent coffee table book was “Vineyard Sonoma County,” has photographed the Santa Barbara region for decades.

“When you get over into the Santa Ynez Valley where the grapes are grown in Santa Barbara County, the mood is very western and in the summertime it’s a little dusty and considerably warmer than on the coast. I just love the attitude, from Santa Maria barbecue to all of the crazy Danish memorabilia and architecture in Solvang,” Rose says. “It’s a lot of fun and I think it comes through in the book, which I divided up by trails or regions of the county.”

Also unique to the region: just about every wine grape variety known to the modern American consumer is grown in Santa Barbara County. A veteran photographer whose work has been featured in Time, Newsweek and Rolling Stone, as well as throughout the wine and travel world, Rose captures Santa Barbara’s beauty with sections on the various AVAs and wine trails, as well as chapters that spotlight people enjoying the wines in urban tasting rooms in downtown Santa Barbara and Solvang, and the all-important harvest.

“These people who toil out in the vineyards all year long really are the key and the linchpin of this whole business,” says Rose, who explains that his approach was kind of “National Geographic-style photojournalism.”

Indeed, the sumptuous landscapes and the intimate lifestyle shots are both truly a work of art — and an eight-year labor of love to compile and shoot. The book is handcrafted, hand stitched and each sheet was hand fed into a Heidelberg press, says Rose.

“Wine Country Santa Barbara County” is available at featured wineries, as well as georgerose.com.

Originally published in the spring/summer 2020 issue of Touring & Tasting. Click here to read this story and more! TT-SP20.digital

Top Experiences: 25 Ways to Enjoy Touring & Tasting

This 25 Top Experiences Feature is a great way to do some armchair traveling! Originally published in the spring/summer 2020 issue of Touring & Tasting.

New Zealand, Croatia, Ireland and England — from the Top Experiences: 25 Ways to Enjoy Touring & Tasting, originally published in the spring/summer 2020 issue of Touring & Tasting.

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia; Finger Lakes, New York; Virginia and Michigan — from the Top Experiences: 25 Ways to Enjoy Touring & Tasting, originally published in the spring/summer 2020 issue of Touring & Tasting.

Texas, New Mexico, Sierra Foothills (CA), Santa Barbara County (CA) and Paso Robles (CA) — from the Top Experiences: 25 Ways to Enjoy Touring & Tasting, originally published in the spring/summer 2020 issue of Touring & Tasting.

Napa Valley, CA (this section by Hana-Lee Sedgwick) — from the Top Experiences: 25 Ways to Enjoy Touring & Tasting, originally published in the spring/summer 2020 issue of Touring & Tasting.

Sonoma County, CA (this section by Hana-Lee Sedgwick) — from the Top Experiences: 25 Ways to Enjoy Touring & Tasting, originally published in the spring/summer 2020 issue of Touring & Tasting.

Livermore (CA), Lodi (CA), Rogue Valley (OR) and Willamette Valley (OR) — from the Top Experiences: 25 Ways to Enjoy Touring & Tasting, originally published in the spring/summer 2020 issue of Touring & Tasting.

Hood River (OR), Woodinville (WA), Walla Walla (WA) and Prosser, Yakima Valley (WA) — from the Top Experiences: 25 Ways to Enjoy Touring & Tasting, originally published in the spring/summer 2020 issue of Touring & Tasting.

There are so many wonderful travel destinations for wine lovers these days, narrowing down the list to our top 25 experiences was quite a challenge.

Spectacular scenery, gorgeous vineyards and top-notch vino are all essentials, of course. We also tried to come up with a balanced mix of must-sees and more off-the-beaten-track fun activities to reflect the vast array of interests and price points available for today’s trekkers.

Here are but a few of the many, many wonderful, fun and unique ways to stoke your wanderlust and your oenophilia. Whether you’re an experienced traveler or just beginning to develop your wine adventure bucket list, here are 25 destinations that are ripe for the sipping.

New Zealand

STAY HERE The perfect place for wine lovers to unwind and explore, Hans Herzog Vineyard Cottage in Marlborough is a secluded, romantic spot tucked away among the vines. This hidden gem has a large veranda with panoramic views, with an enchanting private garden featuring a water lily pond. Plus it’s just steps away from the boutique Hans Herzog winery, wine lounge, gourmet restaurant, vineyards and bistro. For a special treat, reserve the Winemaker Table — an exclusive long lunch hosted by Therese and Hans Herzog, who share their incredible wine knowledge and tales of wine growing, wine making and fine wines from around the world. herzog.co.nz

SIP THIS Vines cascade beautifully to the water’s edge at Rippon Winery, making it the most photographed vineyard in New Zealand, if not the world. Set against a backdrop of Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps, Rippon’s breathtaking landscape is home to mature vine Pinot Noirs that are as impressive as the view. rippon.co.nz

DINE HERE Step back in time at the Moutere Inn, New Zealand’s Oldest Pub (circa 1850). Since 2008, the Inn has been a craft beer freehouse with 13 rotating taps from around the country, including real ale handpumps. All of their wines are sourced within 10 km of the Inn, with pub meals made from scratch. moutereinn.co.nz

DO THIS Central Otago is the adventure capital of New Zealand and that includes world-class cycling trails. The Otago Central Rail Trail is on many “don’t miss” lists. The Roxburgh Gorge Trail is known as the Grand Canyon of New Zealand, and the Clutha Gold Trail follows the powerful Clutha River and showcases the region’s farming, fruit growing and gold mining history. newzealand.com |otagocentralrailtrail.co.nz | centralotagonz.com/roxburgh-gorge-trail

Croatia

STAY HERE It’s no wonder that in HBO’s epic fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” the Croatian city of Dubrovnik doubled for King’s Landing. A five-star seaside escape, Hotel Dubrovnik Palace features breathtaking Adriatic views from every room, as well as direct access to a quiet and peaceful beach, three swimming pools, scuba diving center, tennis courts, and a leafy jogging path and walking routes through the picturesque woods that rise up the hills behind the hotel. adriaticluxuryhotels.com/hotel-dubrovnik-palace

SIP THIS Saints Hills Winery sits in an old stone house in the little village of Oskorušno. “Vinaria,” which was a winery up until the 1920s and then sat dormant for 80 years, is once again a winery, producing acclaimed bottles from a number of different regions around Croatia. Don’t miss visiting the traditional Dalmatian restaurant, the Treasury tasting room and the property’s three vineyards. saintshills.com

DINE HERE Truffle hunting with cute dogs (primarily terriers) in Buzet’s forests, followed by a truffle feast, promises an unforgettable foodie experience. The natural habitat of the famed Istrian fungus is home to the Prodan Tartufi business, which provides truffles to the world, as well as guided truffle adventures and an authentic family-run experience. prodantartufi.hr

DO THIS Croatia’s natural beauty is on full display with eight national parks offering a diverse array of activities for hikers, rock climbers and island hoppers. find-croatia.com/national-parks

Ireland

STAY HERE A nautical landmark for almost 200 years, Clare Island Lighthouse is perched high on craggy cliffs at the entrance to Clew Bay, off Ireland’s western Atlantic coast. Now lovingly converted into a boutique hotel, the property offers luxurious accommodations surrounded by magnificent sea views — with loads of nesting seabirds — and beautiful countryside with hills, bogs and woodlands that are ideal for walking and perfect for a peaceful escape. clareislandlighthouse.com

SIP THIS David Llewellyn, owner of Llewellyns Orchard, is probably best known for his cider and other apple products, but for the past decade he has been selling wine made from the nearly 1,000 vines on his farm in North County Dublin. The small-production vineyard produces a line of wine called Lusca, Gaelic for Lusk (“vault” or “cave”), which is the name of the village where the vineyard and orchard are located. Make an appointment to visit and uncork the true farm-to-table essence of Irish wine. llewellynsorchard.ie/premium-quality-from-irish-orchards/lusca-irish-wine

DINE HERE Take a cooking class in the original 18th-century Georgian kitchen in historic Howth Castle, where the team of professional chefs at Howth Castle Cookery School share their passion and knowledge about food and carry on the traditions of exceptional cooking and grand dining practiced in the castle for centuries. howthcastlecookeryschool.ie

DO THIS See what the excitement is all about when you join the more than 20 million guests who have visited Guinness Storehouse — a 125-foot high attraction (it would take 14.3 million pints of Guinness to fill the giant glass atrium in the center of the building) devoted to the story of Ireland’s most iconic beer. Begin your journey at the bottom of the world’s largest pint glass and continue up through seven floors filled with interactive experiences that fuse Guinness’s long brewing heritage with Ireland’s rich history. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with a pint at world-famous rooftop Gravity Bar, with incredible panoramic views. guinness-storehouse.com

England

STAY HERE It’s not every day you get to spend the night in a shepherd’s hut, belle tent, yurt or wigwam (some with private hot tubs) at a working organic farm. Secret Valley in Somerset offers a wondrous mix of Christmas trees, alpacas, glamping and wine making. Lucky guests can tour the vineyard to learn about Secret Valley’s five varieties of grape — Pinot Noir, Rondo, Orion, Solaris and Reichensteiner — or simply enjoy the glamping life of kicking back with a glass of wine and watching the sunset over beautiful rolling hills. secret-valley.co.uk

SIP THIS The creators of the only English wine ever to have been listed at the George V in Paris, Nicholas Coates and Christian Seely are old friends who embarked on a quest in 2008 to create a sparkling wine to rival the best in the world. They succeeded indeed, and you can sip their sparklers (by appointment) at the bucolic Coates & Seely vineyards in the ancient chalk downlands of Hampshire, in Southern England, where they have spent the past decade creating their international award-winning sparkling wines, using their “Britannique” method proudly declared on their label. coatesandseely.com

DINE HERE British celebrity chef Rick Stein has cooked for the Queen of England and Prince Philip, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher and French President Jacques Chirac, among others. You can experience his famous fresh catch at The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. An iconic spot since 1975, it was also the subject of several popular BBC TV shows. Uber enthusiasts can also enroll in the on-site cookery school to learn to cook the Rick Stein way. rickstein.com

DO THIS Educate your taste buds at Cambridgeshire Wine School. Nestled among Cambridge’s stunning architecture and canals, the school offers relaxed and informal instruction in the ancient art of wine tasting. cambridgeshirewineschool.com

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

STAY HERE An elegant wellness spa inspired by the simple elegance of the Okanagan landscape, Sparkling Hill Resort is the culmination of the vision of Gernot Langes-Swarovski, patriarch of the Swarovski crystal family. A total of 3.5 million Swarovski crystals dance within the resort’s walls, creating an ambiance of calm and serenity with the occasional fiery sparkle. Between the stunning location and holistic treatments, this is an excellent place to relax and refresh. sparklinghill.com

SIP THIS Savor your way along a meandering country road with spectacular views of vineyards, mountains and Okanagan Lake, as you taste your way through more than 20 wineries that draw on the rich terroir of the Naramata Bench. Each winery is dedicated to bringing out the superb local qualities in their wine making, and to providing a personal, relaxed and authentic experience for visitors. naramatabench.com

EAT HERE A partnership between Tinhorn Creek Vineyards and British Columbia culinary legend Manuel Ferreira, Miradoro Restaurant is a lovely place to enjoy panoramic views of the valley with Mediterranean-inspired cuisine emphasizing seasonal, locally sourced ingredients prepared by an award-winning chef. From the authentic forno oven to a diverse wine list (including library wines), this is the place for food lovers to indulge. tinhorn.com/Restaurant

DO THIS The Great Bear Rainforest is a vast area of pristine wilderness that encompasses a quarter of the world’s coastal temperate rainforest. Soak up a whole lot of silence and drink in the lush green surroundings of the only corner of the planet where you can spot the elusive white Kermode bear, also known as the “spirit bear.” hellobc.com

Finger Lakes, New York

STAY HERE Located on the first winery to open on Seneca Lake in 1977, The Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars offers 30 rooms with private patios or balconies and stunning views of the lake and vineyards on the beautifully groomed 40-acre estate of Glenora Wine Cellars. glenora.com

SIP THIS With a community of more than 35 wineries, a distillery, two breweries and a meadery, the Seneca Lake Wine Trail in the heart of New York state’s Finger Lakes region is the largest and most active wine trail in New York. Taste classic, well-known European wine varieties like Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Grüner Veltliner, alongside unique regional hybrids such as Traminette or Marechal Foch, and classic natives such as Catawba and Niagara. senecalakewine.com

EAT HERE The high end, low brow food at F.L.X. Weinery is an ideal way to enjoy some sustenance between stops on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. This venture by the husband and wife team Isabel Bogadtke and Christopher Bates is a fascinating amalgamation of their years in the fine dining world (he’s a master sommelier and they also own Element Winery) with fast, casual counter-style service. Think fresh ground burgers with creative toppings like Korean kimchi and miso mayo, and hearty dogs — including house-made brats, chorizo and Italian sausages — with a variety of toppings, most of which are locally sourced. flxwienery.com

DO THIS Dazzle your senses at the home of the largest glass collection in the world. Nearly 50,000 glass objects are on display at the Corning Museum of Glass, which also offers live hot glassmaking and flameworking shows each day, as well as opportunities to work with glass yourself during a Make Your Own Glass experience at The Studio. cmog.org

Virginia

STAY HERE Providing the finest of accommodations since it opened its doors in 1895, The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia has been regarded as one of America’s best by countless distinguished guests, including 12 U.S. Presidents, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and Elvis Presley. jeffersonhotel.com

SIP THIS Visit the eight wineries located in the Chesapeake Bay wine region, which encompasses the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula of Virginia. Don’t miss the Chesapeake Bay Trail’s newest member, Rivah Vineyards at the Grove, with 125 scenic acres of farm, woods and riverfront on the Yeocomico River. chesapeakebaywinetrail.com | rivahvineyards.com

EAT HERE Located in the Landsdowne Resort & Spa in Leesburg, Coton & Rye celebrates Virginia’s rich culinary history. Inspired by a farm that stood on the land in the 1700s, this is a tavern with classic Virginia recipes reinvented. lansdowneresort.com

DO THIS Soar among the treetops on the luxurious grounds of Salamander Resort & Spa, home to Empower Adventures’ TreeTop Zip tour in Middleburg. This 20-acre guided experience includes five fast zip lines, two sky bridges and eight stations. Post adventure, enjoy a celebratory glass of wine or a relaxing spa treatment. empoweradventures.com

Michigan

STAY HERE Nestled among the freshwater beaches and hardwood forests of Traverse City, with three championship golf courses, an award-winning spa and restaurant, the 900-acre Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is certainly one of Michigan’s foremost resort destinations. grandtraverseresort.com

SIP THIS Chateau Grand Traverse is one of the oldest and largest wineries and vineyards in northern Michigan. This scenic, family-owned and -operated winery offers guests premium wine tasting, winery tours, lodging and a beautiful setting. Tour the bustling wine cellar to witness firsthand premium wine production from the vine to the bottle. cgtwines.com

EAT HERE There are 32,000 acres of tart cherries planted in Michigan, and Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor is the largest cherry exporter in the world. Take a crooked pathway under the cherry trees and through perennial gardens to the Great Hall, where you can buy 200+ cherry products and sample to your heart’s content. Visit the Winery, and head to the Cherry Public House to enjoy inventive cherry-inspired selections. cherryrepublic.com/locations/glen-arbor

DO THIS Visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and take the 7.4 mile Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, looping through the forest and sand dunes and spectacular overlooks of the Sleeping Bear Dunes and Lake Michigan. nps.gov/slbe/planyourvisit/psscenicdrive.htm

Texas

STAY HERE Wake up in the beautiful Texas Hill Country to the comforts of home, and enjoy breakfast in the privacy of your room at The Back Forty of Fredericksburg, a charming bed and breakfast, spa and ranch. Watch the Peruvian Pasos in training, enjoy a massage at the European Spa Center or try your hand at fly fishing at the on-site lake. back40-fredericksburg.com

SIP THIS One of the fastest growing wine destinations in the nation, Texas Hill Country has more than 80 wineries. For a nice overview of the region’s offerings, visit The Grapevine tasting room and bar in the Gruene Historic District, which features one of the largest selections of Texas wines available in one place. grapevineingruene.com

DINE HERE Last year the famous Blue Bonnet Cafe celebrated its 90th year of serving up tasty comfort food in the Texas Hill Country. The list of honors for this sweet slice of down-home heaven are impressive: best breakfast, best restaurant, best service, best dessert, best chicken-fried steak, and on and on and on. bluebonnetcafe.net

DO THIS Do-si-do over to a real Texas dance hall. Built in 1878, Gruene Hall in New Braunfels is the oldest continually operating dance hall in Texas — and the most famous! Live entertainment fills the air of this 6,000-square-foot space. A long list of music legends like George Strait, Willie Nelson and Lyle Lovett have come to Gruene Hall to pay respects and try out new material. gruenehall.com

New Mexico

STAY HERE Visit New Mexico in style. A 25,000-square-foot stone mansion that was once Ted Turner’s private quarters, Casa Grande sits on a 590,000-acre preserve and bison ranch, opening onto expanses of prairie and mountains full of wildlife and more than 180 species of birds. As you navigate through the marble column hallways of this historic home turned seven-room hotel, you’ll feel transported to an elegant 1920s soirée. vermejoparkranch.com

SIP THIS Located in scenic northern New Mexico, Black Mesa Winery owners Jerry and Lynda Burd produce over 25 wines from local grapes. Lynda designs the hieroglyphic-influenced labels, many of which are inspired by actual writings on the property. blackmesawinery.com

DINE HERE There’s an incredible amount of great food in Santa Fe, which is arguably the food capital of New Mexico. Suzan, where Chef Fernando Olea has been enthralling diners since 1991 with his unique interpretations of contemporary and traditional Mexican dishes, is notable, particularly for the mole sauces. sazonsantafe.com

DO THIS Check out the Santa Fe Margarita Trail to visit some of the fun spots offering special, uniquely designed Margaritas. Pick up a free passport for directions and recipes. bit.ly/2R5aXRrMargarita

Sierra Foothills, California

STAY HERE Serving the public since 1856, Murphys Historic Hotel is centrally located in Calaveras County and California’s historic Gold Rush country. The hotel offers easy access to wineries, art galleries, Calaveras Big Trees State Park, Yosemite National Park, and outdoor activities like golf, skiing, river rafting, cycling, gold panning, fishing and hiking. One of a hundred Wells Fargo Bank stops with a long history of famous guests — including Ulysses S. Grant, Mark Twain, Susan B. Anthony and John Wayne — this historic landmark is a favorite destination for visitors. murphyshotel.com

SIP THIS Mark Twain gave the area its first claim to fame with his best-selling story “The Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” but Calaveras County is now home to family vineyards and wineries that produce award-winning, handcrafted wines and offer unique tasting experiences as well as events at 30 boutique tasting rooms and wineries. Nestled in the heart of the Sierra Foothills, the area is known for rich reds like Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet. calaveraswines.org

DINE HERE Downtown Plymouth, the gateway to Amador Wine Country, is home to Taste Restaurant and Wine Bar, which has been consistently rated as the area’s best dining experience for its creative wine pairings, fresh seasonal foods and simply elegant preparations. restauranttaste.com

DO THIS  Explore the farms and ranches in El Dorado’s Apple Hill area. The Apple Hill Growers have expanded from 16 original ranchers in 1964 to more than 50 ranchers who share the fruits of their labor with thousands of visitors every year. Enjoy berry farms, u-pick apple ranches, pastries, pies, the locally famous “Apple Hill Cake,” and old-fashioned fun, as well as fine wines and handcrafted beers in an incredible Sierra-soaked setting. applehill.com

Santa Barbara County, California

STAY HERE The Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort blends the spirit of the Old West with loads of things to do in a pristine natural setting. You can fish or boat in the private lake, get pampered at the spa, hit the links, spend time in the barnyard, ride horses along 50 miles of trails or learn to shoot at the archery and air rifle sites. alisal.com

DINE HERE A charming “California version of a little Italian farmhouse” with a focus on unfussy, rustic Italian food made from fresh local ingredients, S.Y. Kitchen is a delicious and friendly place to fortify yourself after a day of wine tasting. sykitchen.com

SIP THIS Whether you bike or drive along The Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, this 30-mile road is home to some of the most accomplished winemakers in California. The 14 wineries and tasting rooms represent a diverse selection of highly-rated, world class wines. foxencanyonwinetrail.net

DO THIS Established in 1972 as Santa Barbara County’s first resort course open to the public, the gorgeous Sandpiper Golf Club in Goleta is an inspiring 18 holes of seaside golf on extraordinary terrain, featuring rolling fairways leading to enormous greens with ocean views from nearly every hole. sandpipergolf.com

Paso Robles, California

STAY HERE Chic Hotel Cheval is just a half-block from Paso Robles Downtown City Park, and walking distance from fine restaurants, tasting rooms and shops. The horse-loving owners gave the two-story inn an equine theme — each of the 16 individually decorated rooms bears the name and associated photos of historically significant horses plus original paintings and other art. Guests can enjoy the glow of outdoor fireplaces, peruse a book in the Library, get pampered with a spa treatment, or catch up with friends in the Pony Club bar. hotelcheval.com

SIP THIS Savor the award-winning wines at Calcareous, while taking in breathtaking 180-degree views of Paso Robles. With glass walls, the Tasting Room — named Lloyd’s Lookout for Lloyd Messer, the winery’s co-founder — is a stunning showcase for the lush wines and beautiful, tranquil vineyard setting. Options also include an elevated hilltop tasting, where you’re transported by ATV to the top of the vineyard overlooking the winery and the valley, and treated to current releases, along with special library wines. calcareous.com

DINE HERE The new Tin Canteen at Tin City Paso Robles boasts an open kitchen, a sleek, industrial-style dining area and a large patio with a dramatic rock waterfall. Tin Canteen’s menu, which changes regularly, takes its cues from Italy and local, seasonal ingredients — all of which pair perfectly with Tin City’s 20+ producers of locally sourced beer, wine and spirits. tincanteenpaso.net | tincitypasorobles.com

DO THIS While mansions certainly abound in California, nothing compares to the storied grandeur of Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Lavishly designed by architect Julia Morgan (one of the first females to break into the field) as the residence of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, the complex, completed in 1947, is an extraordinary temple to opulence and excess. It’s also one of the state’s most visited historical monuments, and an eye-popping extravaganza with a 165-room castle, 127 acres of terraced gardens, sparkling fountains, towering palms, and wraparound views of the Central Coast. Don’t miss the world-famous Neptune Pool, a gorgeous swimming pool with water that refracts light to create a brilliant turquoise hue. hearstcastle.org

Livermore, California

STAY HERE A relaxing way to enjoy wine country, the Purple Orchid Resort and Spa is set in the hillsides of Livermore Valley and features ten suites designed for comfort, tranquility and relaxation. Each suite has its own fireplace and Jacuzzi tub, with either orchard, garden or vineyard views. Enjoy a full complimentary breakfast each morning, full service spa, and relaxing and socializing in one of many common areas. purpleorchid.com

SIP THIS One of the best ways to explore beautiful Livermore Valley Wine Country is by bike. Enjoy the fresh air and sunshine as you ride your way to several of the area’s favorite vineyards, recreational and scenic areas. Start your day at Nottingham Cellars, then make your way to Concannon Vineyard (a mainstay of California wines since 1883). Also on the trail are Steven Kent Winery, Garré Vineyard & Winery, McGrail Vineyards and Winery, Rubino Estates Winery, Ruby Hill Winery and Wente Vineyards (the oldest continuously operated family-owned winery in the country). visittrivalley.com/activities-and-things-to-do/bike-trails/winecountry-bike-tour

DINE HERE Indulge your sweet tooth on the Tri-Valley Ice Cream Trail, which includes 12 different frozen specialty stores, including CREAM Livermore, which specializes in ice cream sandwiches that use homemade cookies, brownies, do’sants, and fresh off the griddle waffles. visittrivalley.com/activities-and-things-to-do/ice-cream-2-3creamnation.com/livermore

DO THIS Enjoy a concert at Wente Vineyards, where summer after summer, the natural amphitheater fills with incredible music in a picturesque setting. Artists in 2019 included Seal, Styx, The Temptations, The Four Tops, REO Speedwagon, Boz Scaggs, Aaron Neville, The Doobie Brothers and Josh Groban, among others. There are no bad seats in this beautiful venue, but for a special treat reserve one of the 40 seats in the front-row restaurant section, which is only ten feet from the stage. wentevineyards.com/concerts

Lodi, California

STAY HERE You’d be hard pressed to find a more idyllic wine country retreat than Wine & Roses, a seven-acre property with 66 individually designed guest rooms and suites with amenities including botanical gardens, a modern fitness center, beautiful pool, relaxing jacuzzi and gracious hospitality. Don’t miss the chance to relax your mind, body and spirit with a truly organic experience at The Spa at Wine & Roses, offering an extensive menu of services and packages in a natural environment with the soothing touch of spa professionals. winerose.com

SIP THIS Enjoy exciting small-lot wines that showcase the flavors of the Lodi Wine country region as you sip among 70-acres of lush vines and majestic century-old oaks at Oak Farm Vineyards. This magnificent, colonial style estate was built in 1876 and is an excellent spot to revel in a picnic lunch with a bottle of estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon or Sangiovese. oakfarmvineyards.com

DINE HERE Soak up the sunshine at The Farm Café at Michael David Winery, which offers breakfast and lunch made with seasonal selections of produce grown on-site (owners and brothers, Michael and David Phillips represent the fifth generation of growers in Lodi) or at other local farms. Enjoy a piece of handmade signature pie (made from Michael and David’s mother’s recipe), as you play bocce ball and sip wine among 650 acres of premium grapes. michaeldavidwinery.com

DO THIS Stroll around the 132-acre Micke Grove Regional Park. It offers a small zoo, a 3-acre lake with a 40-foot water fountain, a bucolic Japanese garden with cherry blossom trees, the San Joaquin County Historical Museum and an 18-hole disc golf course. sjparks.com

Rogue Valley, Oregon

STAY HERE The casually elegant Rogue Regency Inn & Suites offers the perfect location to dine, celebrate and explore Rogue Valley wine country. Accommodations include a variety of suites and room options, some with cozy fireplaces, private Jacuzzis, kitchenettes and special treats for man’s best furry friends. rogueregency.com

SIP THIS Named after the two hawks who have soared over the estate and vineyard since its original planting, 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery creates estate-grown, handcrafted wines that express the vineyard’s natural beauty and singular terroir. Enjoy a memorable day with chef-inspired, winemaker-recommended food and wine pairings in the environmentally friendly tasting room, which was constructed with reclaimed lumber from across the country — including Wisconsin breweries, Pennsylvania shipyards and the old Lithia Building in downtown Medford. 2hawk.wine

DINE HERE Larks Home Kitchen Cuisine takes diners on a delicious spin through Oregon’s culinary landscape. With restaurants in both Ashland and Medford, guests can savor seasonally inspired, elegant and flavorful dishes that showcase the region’s best farm-fresh ingredients for a celebration of the classics — with a twist. Cooking innovative comfort food from scratch, the culinary team is inspired by local farms, orchards, creameries and wineries. larksrestaurant.com

DO THIS Inspired by Shakespeare’s work and the cultural richness of the U.S., the world renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland presents approximately 800 performances per year. The 2020 season runs through November 1, and includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Peter and the Starcatcher, The Copper Children, Poor Yella Rednecks, Bring Down The House, Confederates, Everything That Never Happened, The Tempest, Black Odyssey and Bernhardt/Hamlet. osfashland.org

Willamette Valley, Oregon

STAY HERE The tranquil setting of Le Puy, a destination bed-and-breakfast, makes for an ideal romantic retreat for couples. The B&B strives to be an authentic “eco-inn” and exemplify sustainability in every possible way, from the food it offers, to the products it uses, to the way it carefully considers the environment. Enjoy spa-like amenities and personal service in an idyllic setting. lepuy-inn.com

SIP THIS Enjoy the wines of the famed Dundee Hills appellation with a visit to The Four Graces. Named for the four daughters of the Black family who originally purchased an existing vineyard in the Willamette Valley, taste these sustainably farmed wines in a charming, renovated farmhouse overlooking the vineyard. thefourgraces.com

DINE HERE Delight in fresh off the farm, handcrafted and aged goat and cow’s milk cheeses from Briar Rose Creamery. Each small batch is nurtured with an intimate, time-honored process to achieve the best flavor and texture, highlighting the seasonal qualities of the cheeses. Briar Rose cheeses are made to pair well with craft beers and Oregon Pinot Noir. Don’t miss the award-winning chocolate goat cheese truffles. briarrosecreamery.com

DO THIS You can see a lot of Oregon from behind the wheel. Spanning more than 3,000 miles, the Beaver State has more scenic byways than any other state in the U.S., covering distinct landscapes and including numerous historical and cultural landmarks. The Willamette Valley Scenic Byways are all beautiful trips to take year-round: Explore McKenzie River Scenic Byway, Marys Peak to Pacific Scenic Byway, West Cascades Scenic Byway, and Over the River and Through the Woods this season. oregonwinecountry.org

Hood River, Oregon

STAY HERE Situated on the edge of a 200-foot cliff boasting awe-inspiring views of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area — where the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade mountains, with cliffs and overlooks of Washington to the north and Oregon’s mountains and waterfalls to the south — the luxurious Columbia Cliff Villas Hotel prides itself on providing a home away from home atmosphere. columbiacliffvillas.com

SIP THIS Choose from over 25 award-winning wines at Cathedral Ridge Winery, featuring unique big, bold reds, signature blends and delicious whites. Located in the Columbia River Gorge, Cathedral Ridge offers an excellent picnic spot, a Barrel Viewing Room, a Vineyard Exhibit Room, as well as five different tour and tasting options, including a private tasting of wines on the verge of bottling all the way through exclusive library wines. Stave & Stone Wine Estates has a downtown Hood River tasting room as well as an estate winery at Broken Boulder Vineyard. It features beautiful views of both Mount Hood and Mount Adams. cathedralridgewinery.com | staveandstone.com

DINE HERE Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty with the unique on-farm cooking classes at The Kitchen at Middleground Farms. From bread baking camp to paella and special holiday and date night themes, The Kitchen is a true gem that sells farm-fresh foods and offers an extensive array of cooking classes that teach fundamental skills in the garden as well as the kitchen. middlegroundfarms.com

DO THIS Set in the rolling foothills of the Blue Mountains, the Whisky & Rocks Farm Loop farm tour is a terrific way to explore abundant orchards and wineries and meet artisan producers who make delicious food and handcrafted beverages. The self-guided exploration begins in the charming town of Milton-Freewater and ends in the famous streets of Pendleton. bit.ly/35A0P8tWhiskyRocks

Woodinville, Washington

STAY HERE A fabulous location for wine, beer and spirits lovers alike, with more than 100 wineries and tasting rooms nearby and Redhook Brewery right next door, Willows Lodge offers a relaxing retreat in the heart of Woodinville wine country. The Sammamish River Trail, which provides access to plenty of outdoor activities, is also adjacent to the property. willowslodge.com

SIP THIS One of the newest tasting rooms in the area, Maryhill Winery — which also has tasting rooms in Goldendale, Spokane and Vancouver — occupies nearly 10,000 square feet of Woodinville’s historic Hollywood Schoolhouse, a beloved landmark since its construction by the Derby School District in 1912. Visitors can now enjoy Maryhill’s wide selection of Washington wines from both inside the lovingly restored building and outside among the beautiful gardens and outdoor balconies. maryhillwinery.com

DINE HERE A unique celebration of the foods and wines of the Pacific Northwest, The Herbfarm Restaurant offers only one seating per night. As a part of this thematic dining experience, you’ll help harvest for the restaurant kitchen, and watch as the chefs prepare you a fabulous nine-course dinner, sourced from the fruit of your own labor. theherbfarm.com/activities

DO THIS It’s not everywhere you can find an outlandish combination of circus acts, magic, comedy and dinner, but after operating from tents around the country, Teatro Zinzanni has found a permanent home in a former brewery in Woodinville. Each show includes a multicourse feast and elegant libations. zinzanni.com

Walla Walla, Washington

STAY HERE The pastoral comforts of The Barn B&B reflect its beautiful setting, surrounded by rolling farmland and bordered on one side by the Little Walla Walla River, rolling hills and views of the Blue Mountains. This country inn has seven unique suites, each with a view of the mountains, a private entrance, and its own Zen garden and outdoor hot-water shower. bnbwallawalla.com

SIP THIS The family-owned Leonetti Cellar became the first bonded winery in Walla Walla in 1977 and is still the most renowned. You have to join the waiting list to visit, but insiders say it’s worth the wait! Also excellent, but easier to access, is the sister winery FIGGINS— open for private tasting appointments. Chris Figgins (son of the Leonetti founders) is the winemaker for both labels. leonetticellar.com | figginswine.com

DINE HERE Formerly home to the historic downtown Train Depot, in 2018 the space was transformed into Walla Walla Steak Co. and Crossbuck Brewing, and these two unique spaces have been delighting visitors ever since with steakhouse classics and beer-friendly tap room fare. wwsteakco.com

DO THIS Some of the best bird-watching in the country can be found in Walla Walla. During the annual spring and fall migrations, birders flock to the area to marvel at the more than 300 bird species that make this place their home. experiencewa.com/wa/birding-trails/walla-walla-river-delta

Prosser, Yakima Valley, Washington

STAY HERE Built by Willis Mercer in 1906, the family-owned Historic Mercer provides upscale, boutique accommodations in a quintessential rural downtown setting, in the heart of Washington State’s Prosser wine country. Still owned by the Mercer family, the property now has beautifully restored suites with the original wood floors, stunning eight foot windows, full kitchens, the finest beds and en suite bathrooms, along with fast Wi-Fi and other modern amenities. historicmercer.com

DO THIS Go rock climbing. Nearby Leavenworth was chosen by Rock and Ice magazine as one of the top 10 climbing cities in the U.S. It’s not hard to understand why. Within 10 miles of town are 50 crags featuring climbs of varied difficulty on clean, solid granite, with a wide range of bouldering, sport and trad cragging and access to some of the state’s best alpine rock. washingtonclimbers.orgleavenworth.org

SIP THIS Kestrel Vintner’s story — like its excellent wines — begins in the vineyard. Kestrel View Estate Vineyard is home to the oldest continually producing Chardonnay block in the state of Washington, as well as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot plantings dating back to 1972 and many more varieties. Sip and savor the wines at three tasting rooms located in Prosser, Leavenworth and Woodinville, where you can sample all four tiers of Kestrel wines along with delectable food offerings. kestrelwines.com

DINE HERE Born and raised in Yakima, chef Lindsay Park and her team draw hungry locals and visitors back again and again to satisfy their cravings for elevated comfort food at Provisions Restaurant & Market. This chef-driven, Pacific Northwest-inspired restaurant has a deep commitment to supporting local farmers and purveyors, with a vegan and vegetarian friendly menu and rotating specials that keep eager guests returning to taste the newest culinary creations each week. provisionsyakima.com

Originally published in the spring/summer 2020 issue of Touring & Tasting. Click here to read this story and more! TT-SP20.digital

CALM Celebrity Authors’ Luncheon

The Annual CALM Celebrity Authors’ Luncheon is always a lovely event to support a great cause.

On March 16, more than 600 book lovers will gather for a day of appearances and book signings from a variety of authors, both big-name and local, with all proceeds going to benefit the good work of Child Abuse Listening Mediation (CALM) and raise awareness and funds for its programs and services to prevent and treat child abuse and to promote healing.

Headline authors will be interviewed at the event, including Mindy Johnson (Ink & Paint – The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation), Luis Alberto Urrea (The Hummingbird’s Daughter, The House of Broken Angels), and Kate Quinn (The Alice Network, The Huntress).

There will also be book signings and the opportunity to meet dozens of local authors:

Sheila Aron – I’m Glad I’m Me, Weaving the Thread of Love From Generation to Generation

Julia Bricklin – Polly Pry: The Woman Who Wrote the West

Jane Sherron De Hart – Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life

Jeff Doubét – Creating Spanish Style Homes

Jo Giese – Never Sit If You Can Dance: Lessons From My Mother: Babe

Elizabeth Gould – Your Best Health by Friday

Romy Greenwald – Micken the Chicken

Rich Grimes – Cat Speak

Jo Haldeman – In the Shadow of the White House

Catharine Riggs – What She Gave Away

The event begins with book signings and sales at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 16, followed by a luncheon and author interviews, all taking place at at the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit calm4kids.org/events/celebrity-authors-luncheon/ .

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 4, 2019.

Joffrey Ballet

Joffrey Ballet, "Mammatus, photo by Cheryl Mann.

Joffrey Ballet, “Mammatus, photo by Cheryl Mann.

The world-renowned Joffrey Ballet comes to the Granada Theatre for two nights of incredible dance performances of works by George Balanchine and other acclaimed choreographers, presented by UCSB Arts & Lectures on Tuesday, March 5 and Wednesday, March 6 at 8 p.m.

“The Joffrey dancers, costumed and lit and shockingly talented, are like a rock concert for the eyes,” reports Huffington Post.  

Among the repertoire included in on the Santa Barbara stage is one of Balanchine’s earliest experimental works, two pieces by modern ballet master Nicolas Blanc, the unique cinematic vision of Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman, contemporary ballet darling Justin Peck with a work set to a score by Philip Glass and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa‘s stunning depiction of a turbulent cloud formation. These wide-ranging programs display the inestimable skill of the Joffrey Ballet’s dancers, classically trained to the highest standards, and the company’s unique, inclusive perspective on dance. 

Tue, Mar 5 (Program A)

George Balanchine: The Four Temperaments
Nicolas Blanc: Beyond the Shore
Alexander Ekman: Joy

Wed, Mar 6 (Program B)

Justin Peck: In Creases
Nicolas Blanc: Encounter
Alexander Ekman: Joy
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa: Mammatus 

The Joffrey is a world-class, Chicago-based ballet company and dance education organization committed to artistic excellence and innovation. Classically trained to the highest standards, the Joffrey Ballet expresses a unique, inclusive perspective on dance, proudly reflecting the diversity of America with its company, audiences and repertoire, which includes major story ballets, reconstructions of masterpieces and contemporary works.

Founded by visionary teacher Robert Joffrey in 1956, guided by celebrated choreographer Gerald Arpino from 1988 until 2007, The Joffrey Ballet continues to thrive under internationally renowned Artistic Director Ashley Wheater and Executive Director Greg Cameron.

Joffrey Ballet, Beyond the Shore, photo by Cheryl Mann.

Joffrey Ballet, Beyond the Shore, photo by Cheryl Mann.

RELATED EVENT

Community Dance Class with The Joffrey Ballet 

Mon., Mar. 4, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Gustafson Dance, 2285 Las Positas Rd., Santa Barbara

Reservations: 805/563-3262 ext. 1

Co-presented by Gustafson Dance

For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or purchase online at ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.eduTickets are also available through The Granada Theatre at  805/899-2222 or granadasb.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 2, 2019.

Cocktail Corner: Fess Parker Winery’s 30th Anniversary

Rodney's Vineyard at Fess Parker Winery. Photo courtesy of the Parker Family.

Rodney’s Vineyard at Fess Parker Winery. Photo courtesy of the Parker Family.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Marking the 30th anniversary of Fess Parker Winery, Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort honors the Parker Family-owned winery’s big milestone with an exclusive dinner, the “Fess Parker Wine Journey,” from 6 – 10 p.m. on Friday, March, 22 in the resort’s Reagan Ballroom.

It’s going to be a fun—and delicious—evening, kicking off with a video presentation and a Q&A with the Parker Family, hosted by yours truly. Since their first vineyard planting in 1987, the Fess Parker family has enjoyed a long, successful history in Santa Barbara County, helping to pioneer the region’s reputation as an international destination for wine, hospitality and discovery, as well as developing many of the county’s prestigious vineyards.

Marcy and Fess Parker. Photo courtesy of the Parker family

Marcy and Fess Parker. Photo courtesy of the Parker family

The Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard now owns and farms more than 125 acres and works with more than 700 acres in Santa Barbara County, focusing on the grape varieties best suited to the region’s unique growing conditions—Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Rhone wines—with its vintages consistently earning 90+ point ratings from top critics around the world.

Eli Parker—a founding family member and former head winemaker reflects on the occasion: “Our greatest hope is that people who have enjoyed our wines over the last 30 years will continue to enjoy them as part of their own family traditions and celebrations. Even more so, we hope that people just discovering Fess Parker wines will appreciate them as the finest expression of the beauty and bounty of Santa Barbara wine country. Continuing to work together toward this objective as a family is a real privilege.”

“We mark this anniversary with equal parts pride and gratitude – pride for the quality we have achieved with our wines in national and international markets and gratitude for the opportunity to grow our business while remaining family held. By playing to our strengths and focusing on working with the Rhône and Burgundian varietals that grow so well here, hopefully we have set ourselves up well for the next 30 years. We are fortunate to have a tremendous winemaking team under the direction of Head Winemaker, Blair Fox, who celebrates his 15th anniversary with the winery this year as well,” says winery President Tim Snider.

From coonskin cap to coonskin cap in one decade is the career of Fess Parker, shown in his costume as "Daniel Boone," March 26, 1964. Ten years ago he played Davy Crockett in a series by the same name. (AP Photo)

From coonskin cap to coonskin cap in one decade is the career of Fess Parker, shown in his costume as “Daniel Boone,” March 26, 1964. Ten years ago he played Davy Crockett in a series by the same name. (AP Photo)

Both Eli Parker and Tim Snider will be on hand at the event, along with winery co-owner Ashley Parker Snider and their daughter Greer Shull, who does marketing for the brand, which also includes the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, as well as the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn in Los Olivos, which also houses The Bear and Star restaurant, featuring refined ranch-to-table cuisine from Chef/Partner John Cox.

“Our team is honored to host a wine and culinary celebration for Fess Parker Winery’s 30-year anniversary,” says Hilton Santa Barbara General Manager Chris Inman. “Our goal is to create a memorable evening that speaks to seasoned Fess Parker Winery fans as well as a new generation of wine lovers.”

Hilton Santa Barbara Executive Chef Mossin Sugich and his culinary team will prepare a fresh and delicious culinary adventure paired with the Fess Parker’s signature wines. The five-course wine pairing dinner menu includes:

Cocktail Hour Canapes

Poached fingerling potato, caviar and crème fraiche

Foie Gras, Brioche, Fig Jam

Beef Tartare, crostini

Amuse bouche

Black Mission Fig, Mascarpone, jamon de Parma, Sicilian pistachio

Fess Parker Rodney’s Dry Riesling 2016 and Epiphany Grenache Blanc 2017

To Begin

Spring Bounty Dégustation

Spring Onion Flan, pickled ramp, English pea puree, green garlic chips, pea tendril, black olive dirt

lemon oil

Viogner, Rodney’s Vineyard 2017

To Appreciate

Channel Islands Treasures

Spot Prawns & sea urchins, morel mushroom crème, crispy cauliflower, lemon, Tarragon

Chardonnay, Ashley’s 2016

To Continue

State Bird Roulade

Mushroom stuffed Quail, celeriac puree, celery and apple salad, almond oil

Sour Port reduction

Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills 2017

To Indulge

California Spring Lamb

Grilled fat on lamb loin, Pine nut coulis, minted & pickled green strawberries

morel mushroom, fava beans, lamb jus

Syrah, Santa Barbara County

To Conclude

Harrys Berries Strawberry Panna Cotta

Meyer lemon granita, fresh Harry’s Berries

Late Harvest Semillon 2009

All menu items are locally sourced and subject to change based on seasonal quality and product availability.

I hope some of you will join us on March 22 for this very special night honoring the Parker Family and Fess Parker’s legacy.

“Knowing that a career in Hollywood wasn’t necessarily a long-term proposition, creating a family business that all of us could participate in for generations was important to my dad,” says Ashley Parker Snider. “Before he passed in 2010, he was incredibly proud of how far we had come.”

Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort is located at 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara. For more information or to purchase a ticket, please call 805/884-8518 or email SBAFP_SpecialEvents@hilton.com.

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!

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 1, 2019.

Cocktail Corner: Figueroa Mountain Brewing Celebrates 8 Years!

Figueroa Mountain 8th Anniversary Ale, courtesy photo.

Figueroa Mountain 8th Anniversary Ale, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. family on the Saturday following Thanksgiving to celebrate eight years of brewing. The Anniversary Celebration is hosted at the brewery’s Buellton headquarters, and is a family-friendly, indoor and outdoor party with food, live music, special beers, and more.

New this year is a special theme inspired by the 8th Anniversary Ale’s unique recipe. The small-batch, barrel-aged release was developed to be reminiscent of an Old Fashioned cocktail with notes of oak, vanilla, caramel, orange, and cherry. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in their best 1920s-inspired fashion to celebrate in style.

Featuring live music from the Charles Ruggiero Trio and Echoswitch, this special party includes indoor and outdoor draft beer bars with specialty beers, an expanded and tented outdoor patio, a brewery merchandise shop, a special event “mugshot” photo scene, delicious food from The Kitchen and guest food vendors, and plenty of games and activities. In keeping tradition with past Anniversary Celebrations, there will be a commemorative keg signing and a special cask tapping of the anniversary ale. There is no admission fee, and beer and food are available to purchase a la carte. For those in the brewery’s Mug Club, there will be advanced entry to a more intimate celebration with brewery staff.

The official bottle release of Figueroa Mountain’s 8th Anniversary Ale will take place at the event, and a select few bottles will be signed by the brewery’s father and son owners, Jim and Jaime Dietenhofer.

Taster of Figueroa Mountain beers, courtesy photo.

Taster of Figueroa Mountain beers, courtesy photo.

The Anniversary celebration takes place on November 24, from 1 – 10 p.m. at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., 45 Industrial Way, Buellton. 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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 22, 2018.

Paseo Nuevo Holiday Fun

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Black Friday kicks off the holiday season at Paseo Nuevo on Friday, November 23. Here’s the lineup of this season’s shopping, events and activities:

Black Friday  –The official start to the holiday shopping season, Black Friday on November 23 is getting an early start opening at 7 a.m., although some retailers will open even earlier.  For a full list of store hours, visit PaseoNuevoShopping.com.

On the retail front, new to Paseo Nuevo  this year is Mama Luma, a local children’s wear boutique specializing in beautiful dresses for little girls. Always a great place to purchase locally made gifts, the Yes Store is back again this year with their collection of artisanal items including wood pieces, pottery, jewelry and photographs. New to downtown is the Santa Barbara Night Market located in the former Macy’s department store.  Here you can experience a European-style night market complete with twinkle lights and holiday décor. Shop handcrafted items and holiday gifts or enjoy the food and beverage village. Open Thursday-Sunday from 4-10 p.m.  There’s also a Trinidad3 pop-up shop, in a one-of-a-kind Airstream trailer, outfitted with a denim bar featuring premium denim made in the USA. Trinidad3 is popping-up on Sundays in De La Guerra Place.

  

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Let It Snow – Check out Santa Barbara’s “best in snow” when nightly snowfall shows take place twice each evening in Center Court as a flurry of white snow falls down on the Christmas tree, singing carolers, and shoppers, a magical tradition enjoyed by the entire family. Snowfall shows will start promptly at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. from Friday, November 23 to December 31 (no shows on Christmas Day).

Silent Night Silent Disco – On Thursday, November 29 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., join Paseo Nuevo for Silent Night, a silent disco holiday dance party for the entire family! Wear your ugliest sweater and be prepared to dance and sing-a-long to your favorite holiday tunes through headphones! Come early to get headsets for the entire family. Jam to your favorite songs and watch the snowfall at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. for the merriest night of the season—and it’s free!

Visit Santa – Santa takes up residence in his Santa Barbara home at Paseo Nuevo’s Center Court starting Friday, November 23. Children will be able to visit him daily through December 24. Santa will be open early on December 2 & 9 from 9-11 a.m. for children with special needs while Tuesday evenings will be open for pet photos where even the furriest family members can snap a photo with Santa. Every child will receive a free gift and Santa’s elves will be on hand to catch the precious moment in a photo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Courtesy Paseo Nuevo.

Breakfast With Santa – On December 1 and December 8, from 8-10 a.m., California Pizza Kitchen hosts a breakfast event featuring a special guest, Santa Claus! Breakfast includes a breakfast pizza, drink, and crafts for $10/child, $15/adult. Children under 3 eat for free. Call Evelyn at 805/962-4648 for reservations.

Live Entertainment – It wouldn’t be the holidays without costumed carolers, holiday horns, colossal choirs, and the occasional squeezebox roaming throughout the center filling the paseos with holiday cheer! A robust schedule of over 20 live entertainment ensembles will perform throughout the season daily. For the full schedule of performers, dates and times, visit https://paseonuevoshopping.com/events/holiday-music/


 
https://youtu.be/IzU8dyIpMfo

Win Prizes with #PaseoNuevoMagic –  For a chance to WIN weekly holiday themed contests, guests can snap, share and tag their holiday experience on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with @ShopPaseoNuevo and hashtag #PaseoNuevoMagic. Winners will be chosen every week beginning November 23.

Leslie Dinaberg 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 20, 2018.

Downtown Santa Barbara Welcomes the Holiday Season

Small Business Saturday, Sampling State, Annual Holiday Parade and Tuba Christmas are among the many special events coming to SB!

Rescue dog Mojo with Handler Tracee Walker, courtesy photo.

Rescue dog Mojo with Handler Tracee Walker, courtesy photo.

Downtown Santa Barbara (DSB) is raring and ready for Holiday shopping, Holiday dining, Holiday Happy Hour, Holiday parties, Holiday strolling, Holiday décor and lights viewing, and last but not least, Holiday events!

“This is our busiest and most anticipated time of year,” says Kate Schwab, DSB Marketing & Communications Director. “We’re looking forward to kids in costumes, music, celebrating our great small businesses and a Parade to remember.”

Courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

Courtesy Downtown Santa Barbara.

First up is Small Business Saturday Sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, on Saturday, November 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out the SBS Welcome Center at Historic Storke Placita (700 State St.) to find Downtown SB booths with block by block information, try your hand at DSBingo, Downtown Trivia, Spin the Wheel to Win and the ever-popular Corn Hole, and enjoy the festive tunes of Holiday Horns.

At 11 a.m., Downtown restaurants will step outside to offer tastes of their fare for Sampling State. “Our goal with Sampling State is that restaurant doors will swing open at the same time, offering small bites from their great menus,” says DSB Business Manager, Erik Krueger.

Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, courtesy photo.

Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, courtesy photo.

Friday, December 7 is the Downtown Santa Barbara Annual Holiday Parade Presented by Consumer Fire Products Inc. Starting at 6:30 p.m., check out the big balloons, marching bands, and the Grand Marshal(s) sponsored by Lemos Feed & Pet Supply —four heroic K9 dog teams of Santa Barbara County Search & Rescue. The 66th Annual Downtown Santa Barbara Holiday Parade, Presented by Consumer Fire Products Inc. starts at Sola St. and continues down State St. to Cota St.

Tuba Christmas comes downtown on Saturday, December 15 at noon. Get your oom-pah-pah on with this nearly 30-year-old brass tradition! Tap your toes to the beloved Christmas Brass/Trombone Christmas /TubaChristmas concert in Storke Placita.

“This holiday more than ever, we’re inviting Santa Barbara residents downtown to support all our great local businesses, win a prize or two, enjoy some music and some tastings,” says Schwab. “It’s a fabulous way to kick off the 2018 Holiday shopping season!”

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 19, 2018.

Local Dish: Tyger Tyger, Dart Coffee and Monkeyshine Roar With Flavors

Follow the pink lanterns to the Tyger Tyger team, waiting to serve you at the new Funk Zone spot. Photo by Rob Stark.

Follow the pink lanterns to the Tyger Tyger team, waiting to serve you at the new Funk Zone spot. Photo by Rob Stark.

Follow the pretty pink lanterns to a terrific new place in the Funk Zone.

The neighborhood marketplace home to Tyger Tyger, Dart Coffee Co. and Monkeyshine is finally open, and this yummy addition to the waterfront area was well worth the wait!

Acme Hospitality (of The Lark, Loquita and Lucky Penny fame, to name just a few) has created a collective that’s been a hit from day one.  The three-concept venue includes Tyger Tyger, a fast-fine restaurant with Thai-Vietnamese influenced dishes; Monkeyshine, with exotic soft serve ice cream and popsicles; and local roaster Dart Coffee Co., to keep everyone caffeinated and happy,. The marketplace is located  at 121 E. Yanonali St., on the corner of Gray Avenue near the Arts Fund.

It’s hard to miss the hundreds of illuminated pink lanterns on the interior and exterior ceilings of this pretty new food hall. Large windows peek into the building and bring all-day sunshine into the airy room. The palette of bright pink, saffron yellow, orange and turquoise warm the interiors and definitely let you know that you’re in for a unique treat, evoking elements of Thailand, Vietnam and the Central Coast—flavors which are also echoed in the menu.

Inside the Funk Zone's new marketplace, which features Tyger Tyger, Dart Coffee Co. and Monkeyshine. Photo by Rob Stark.

Inside the Funk Zone’s new marketplace, which features Tyger Tyger, Dart Coffee Co. and Monkeyshine. Photo by Rob Stark.

Tyger Tyger and sister operation Monkeyshine are led by Santa Barbara born-and-raised Chef Daniel Palaima who returned home from Chicago to lead the team after stints with internationally acclaimed, award-winning chefs. Bold Thai and Vietnamese inspired dishes we’ve tried so far include melt-in-your-mouth Weeping Brisket with coconut sticky rice; almost-too-pretty-to-eat Shrimp Summer Rolls; Spicy Pork Larb Salad (we tried the impossible “pork” meatless version and it was amazing); Octopus Salad with glass noodles and nouc cham; and Curried Noodles with braised pork and fermented mustard greens, among others. Everything was delicious and great to share with friends.  

Tasty Thai and Vietnamese-inspired dishes at Tyger Tyger. Photo by Rob Stark.

Tasty Thai and Vietnamese-inspired dishes at Tyger Tyger. Photo by Rob Stark.

Offering the perfect deserts to accompany Tyger Tyger’s spicy flavors, Monkeyshine  is an ice cream counter serving frozen treats flavored with Asian spices and ingredients. The menu features soft serve ice cream flavors like Green Tea; Toasted Rice; Ginger; Thai Chili Chocolate; Orange Szechuan Pepper; Vegan Coconut Lemongrass; and Black Sesame, with exotic toppings, as well as house-made Popsicles. 

Monkeyshine offers a pretty array of toppings for soft service ice cream served in fish-shaped cones. Photo by Rob Stark.

Monkeyshine offers a pretty array of toppings for soft service ice cream served in fish-shaped cones. Photo by Rob Stark.

Dart Coffee Co. completes the trio with its specialty coffee counter. The Funk Zone’s own small-lot specialty coffee roaster, Dart Coffee offers espresso drinks, cold brew, nitro cold brew and locally-made kombucha. Fair trade organic beans are roasted onsite daily and retail coffee is available in addition to an extensive menu of espresso drinks—try the Corena Cortado for the most delicious cinnamon churro-like treat, or the June Bug for a sweet kiss of lavender with your java—and specialty loose leaf organic teas alongside locally made pastries and bites.

Dart Coffee Co. is owned and operated by husband and wife team Erika Carter Dart (a beloved local artist) and David Dart (a beloved local dentist) who have lived and worked in the Funk Zone for more than 16 years. This location marks their first retail shop, bringing ethical craft-roasted coffee to the public, sourcing only the finest organic, fair-trade coffee beans from small-lot indigenous farmers who share their vision. Plus a percentage of every bean sold helps sustain artist studios in Santa Barbara’s diverse art districts through The Yanonali Street Artist Fund.

The Dart Coffee team (that's owner Erika Carter Dart in front) is ready to serve delicious, sustainably roasted coffee and treats. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

The Dart Coffee team (that’s owner Erika Carter Dart in front) is ready to serve delicious, sustainably roasted coffee and treats. Photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Follow the bright pink lanterns to the marketplace. A delicious adventure awaits!

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on November 15, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Brave & Maiden’s New Estate Winery and Tasting Room

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Wow. The breathtaking new Brave & Maiden Estate Winery and Tasting Room is definitely upscale and sophisticated. This is not your grandma’s winery for sure! This beautiful 70-acre estate, with a brand new state-of-the-art facility, brings an exceptional new wine experience to the Santa Ynez Valley.

Owner Rizal Risjad purchased the property in 2010 and, with his business partner and Managing Director, Jason Djang, established Brave & Maiden Estate in 2011.

Brave & Maiden Estate, inside winery, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate, inside winery, courtesy photo.

“From the beginning, our vision for Brave & Maiden has been to become a world-class brand and we’ve never wavered from that,” said Djang, at a press preview event last month. “From our top winemaking team to our certified sustainable vineyard, the completion of our winery and tasting room is a giant leap towards making that vision a reality.”

The Brave & Maiden name is from the “Legend of Nojoqui,” a local version of the Romeo & Juliet story. Set at the nearby Nojoqui Falls, the legend recounts the story of star-crossed lovers who choose sacrifice over separation. According to the website, “inspired by such profound commitment, we’ve created a twofold and ambitious commitment of our own: to craft extraordinary wines and to share them with unforgettable hospitality.”

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

The 46-acre vineyard includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache and Sauvignon Blanc. Brave & Maiden is also a SIP certified sustainable vineyard dedicated to producing handcrafted, single-vineyard estate wines and red blends.

Under the direction of Winemaker and Consultant Paul Hobbs and Winemaker Josh Klapper, with Ruben Solorzano managing the vineyard, Brave & Maiden’s wines are committed to producing estate wines with the utmost level of quality and care. This attention to detail is obvious in Brave & Maiden’s new tasting room and 8,000-case production facility, which were designed by Backen, Gillam & Kroeger Architects, who are known for projects as Harlan Estate Winery, Larkmead Winery and Meadowood Napa Valley, Brave & Maiden is their first winery project on the Central Coast.

Tasting Room interior of Brave & Maiden Estate, photo by Jeremy Ball.

Tasting Room interior of Brave & Maiden Estate, photo by Jeremy Ball.

With stunning fireplaces, wood paneling and neutral earth tones, the impressive tasting room is spacious and comfortable, with indoor and outdoor seating areas and a private side area reserved for wine club members’ use. A huge sliding glass wall opens onto the expansive olive tree-filled courtyard between the tasting room and production facility, providing a great place to enjoy views of the picturesque vineyards and mountains.

Brave & Maiden offers three new wine experiences, all daily by appointment:

-a 45-minute Seated Tasting, where a dedicated host will guide guests through a curated selection of limited-production wines

-the Tour and Tasting option, offering a glimpse into the vineyard and backstage view of Brave & Maiden’s winemaking process, ending with a seated tasting

-the Tour, Tasting & Lunch, a two-hour elevated experience that includes a guided tour of the estate, followed by a seated tasting and gourmet lunch.

Brave & Maiden Estate, inside winery, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate, inside winery, courtesy photo.

“With our new facility, our goal is to provide extraordinary experiences that are tailored to each individual guest, where they feel educated, entertained and cared for,” says Djang. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to share our journey and our wine with the community in an unforgettable experience of hospitality.”

“Brave & Maiden’s sustainably farmed vineyard is exceptional and I have no doubts the addition of the new winery and hospitality facility will further enhance and validate the brand’s presence in this world-class wine region,” shares Hobbs, who is somewhat of a legend in the winemaking world, as part of the initial team at Opus One, with a South American winemaking career that carries on today with his wines from Viña Cobos and his legendary status as the pioneer who launched malbec’s rise to fame. In additional to consulting projects, his impressive pedigree also includes being the owner and winemaker for Sebastopol-based wineries, Paul Hobbs Winery and CrossBarn, as well as his international partnerships, Viña Cobos (Cobos, Bramare, Cocodrilo, Felino), Crocus (Cahors, France), and Yacoubian-Hobbs (Armenia).

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

Brave & Maiden Estate exterior, courtesy photo.

“We’ve invested all of ourselves in this project and are eager for guests to experience our wines first-hand. We strongly believe in the greatness of Santa Barbara County as a wine region and are privileged to be a part of it,” says Djang.

Brave & Maiden Estate is located at 649 N. Refugio Rd., Santa Ynez. For reservations, please call 805/693-2989, email reservations@braveandmaiden.com, or visit braveandmaiden.com.

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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on October 19, 2018.