Although I love to explore the world, there are very few places that have the beauty and charm of Santa Barbara. And, since I don’t have the budget nor the time for exotic travel on the regular, one of my favorite ways to create the feeling of a fun getaway is to check into a local hotel for a ‘staycation.’ Recently, my husband and I had a Santa Barbara Staycation at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara. It was amazing to say the least!
I spend a fair share of my time wine tasting throughout Santa Barbara County, but surprisingly, it’s not often that I have the time to revisit places. So, although I had been to Gainey Vineyard in the past, I was excited to hear they had launched a new jeep tour and barn tasting experience. Wine tasting and jeep combos are always fun, so throw in a cool barn and I will make a point to be there!
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference, sponsored by the Lodi Wine Grape Commission. The event included various seminars and wine tastings, but my favorite part of the weekend was the Friday night excursion to Oak Ridge Winery. Located in Lodi’s wine country, the family-owned winery put on a special vineyard tour and dinner for 12 of us. With a cheese plate as big as a truck (literally) and dinner under the stars, it was incredible.
I love to entertain. But let’s be honest, entertaining can be a lot of work. It can be just as expensive as it is time consuming, regardless of the size of the affair. That’s why it’s always nice to find ways to have stress-free summer parties without breaking the bank. To help, I’ve consulted with some of Santa Barbara’s coolest ladies (who also happen to be small business owners) for their tips on throwing the best summer parties. In fact, we threw a party to test everything out, so that we could help YOU throw a summer get-together with friends without feeling overwhelmed.
One of my favorite things about writing my blog and for various publications is getting to meet so many different people in the wine industry. Although everyone shares a similar passion for wine, there are as many different personalities as there are wines. That’s part of the reason I started my Q&A series over a year ago — I wanted you as the reader to get to know the people I am lucky enough to meet, but in an easily digestible and fun way. Hence the start of the ’12 Questions’ format of the series. Up next: my Q&A with winemaker Dave Potter, the man behind Municipal Winemakers and Potek Winery in Santa Barbara.
Earlier this year, I was tasting wine in Buellton and stumbled across a brand new tasting room tucked away in the industrial area off Easy Street. The tasting room, aptly named the Easy Street Wine Collective, had only been open a couple of days, but since I was short on time, I knew I wanted to make a point to come back. Luckily, I was able to return shortly after to meet with winemaker Rob Dafoe and his wife Emily to taste wines from their new label, Rake Wine. Rake Wine is one of the two Santa Barbara labels offered at Easy Street Wine Collective, the tasting room they share with winemaker friend, Etienne Terlinden.
Okay, okay… by now you’re all very aware that I am a fan of rosé. Although I drink rosé all year long, pink wine is a summertime staple in my eyes, just like picnics, bbqs and the beach. Rosé, which can be made from any grape, falls somewhere between a red and a white wine, but is more like a state of mind than anything — it’s just really fun to drink, regardless of how ‘serious’ the wine is. In my quest to find some killer rosés this summer, I have managed to taste quite a few, but these three Pinot Noir rosés are some of my favorites. In fact, one has earned the crown as my new favorite rosé!
I’ve written about the Funk Zone more times than I can count on one hand… for magazines, online publications, on my own blog as well as on other blogs. I don’t just talk the talk, I actually live close by and frequent the area regularly. So, it goes without saying that I was excited for the highly anticipated Helena Avenue Bakery to open. Freshly baked cookies and bread? Sign me up!
It’s true that the majority of my travel involves wine, but sometimes it’s nice to unplug for a few days outside of the wine world. After a fun wedding in Big Fork, Montana last month, Nick and I headed to Glacier National Park with some friends for a couple of days of doing just that — unplugging to enjoy the outdoors. Although I had been to Montana before, it was my first time to Glacier, so I was excited to hike, paddle board, camp and see some wildlife (no bears, luckily!). Here are some snapshots from our little summer vacation!
You’ve probably noticed that I am a big fan of rosé, especially this time of year. Even diehard red wine drinkers seem to be charmed by pink wine in the summer months. And what’s not to love? Rosé is an easy choice — it’s food friendly, typically low in alcohol and refreshing. You don’t even have to be too picky about the variety or blend when you choose rosé; it’s just its own all encompassing category of “rosé.” Although I do love to try new wines, it’s nice to have a few in your back pocket that deliver year after year. One of my go to California rosés has got to be the Matthiasson Rosé, produced by famed winemaker Steve Matthiasson.