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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.