A Santa Barbara Wine Tours Limo – What are the Advantages?
So, what are the advantages of renting a Santa Barbara wine tours limo when going on a wine tasting tour in SB’s beautiful Wine Country? Well, please allow me to start off my answer with an anecdote.
A couple of years ago, three generations of Hilton men: my father, son and I (no relation to the hotel Hiltons), went on a wine tasting tour in Santa Barbara’s Wine Country, located in the Santa Ynez Valley, in the mountains behind Santa Barbara city proper. We visited four tasting rooms in all.
The first place we dropped in was Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard, on Foxen Canyon Road. It’s a beautiful place with expansive vineyards and a palatial tasting room, though rustic with its wooden beams and stone pillars–and of course there are coonskin caps in evidence since it was owned and established by the Fess Parker (who, sadly, passed away last year) of Daniel Boone and Davey Crockett fame. They make very good wine. As far as reds go, they’ve received high marks for both their Pinot Noirs and Syrahs, and when it comes to whites, they’ve won praise for their efforts with Chardonnay and Viognier.
We enjoyed tasting all of those varietals, at least I and my father did–my son was still in high school at the time. Actually, I ended up consuming a disproportionate amount of the pourings, as dad was the designated driver that day. He was sipping and spitting, and I was drinking down what was left in his glass, along with my samples of course.
Before departing, we enjoyed a lunch of sandwiches and sushi under the trees on Fess Parker Winery’s picnic tables before heading off to the next place, Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards, which was the first winery Miles and Jack visited in the movie Sideways (they also stop in at Fess Parker, but the winery doesn’t come off well in the film). Alma Rosa has a wonderfully cozy and rustic tasting room where you can imbibe their lovingly made Burgundian varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. Here too, I happily consumed the lion’s share of the libations.
We then moved on to Beckmen Vineyards, a small, family owned winery that happens to be set in one of the most picturesque locations in the Santa Barbara Wine Country and produces excellent Rhone style wines. With our routine now firmly established, I continued to gulp down mass quantities of wine–and enjoy it–but the subtleties of Rhone verses Burgundy style wines now escaped me. By this time it was basically all good. If it was alcoholic, made from grapes and could be poured in a glass, I was willing to drink it.
The last stop on our wine tasting tour was Mandolina in Solvang. According to their website, “Mandolina produces estate-grown Italian varietals including Pinot Grigio, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Moscato, Sangiovese, and ever popular Super-Tuscan blends of Bordeaux and Italian varietals.” I’m sure that’s true enough, but all I can really attest to is that they sure tasted good. What I do remember about this place is that not only the wine, but my mouth also began to runneth over. Before this I was not drunk or even tipsy, but at this last tasting room, though I didn’t get belligerent or make a scene or anything like that, my speech was not the clearest and I was definitely talking too much and probably too loudly–the type of behavior that would be completely acceptable in a bar, but very gauche in a tasting room.
The moral of this little anecdote is: there can be unforeseeable consequences to the designated driver system when going on a Santa Barbara wine tour. Not only is the driver unable to fully enjoy the experience, his traveling companion might get sloshed.
So, since the designated driver idea is a nonstarter, how is one to get from winery to winery when in the Santa Barbara Wine Country? Well, one option is the “Wine Line.”
The Wine Line is a shuttle service that runs on a loop, and you can hop off at the wineries you’d like to visit and hop back on when the van returns at 40 minute intervals. The Wine Line is not a bad option if you’re staying in Los Olivos. They do free pick ups there, and there are over 20 tasting rooms in Los Olivos itself, all within a 2 block radius of each other–many of them serving up excellent wine. From Los Olivos, you can hop on the wine line and hop off at your choice of 10 wineries on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail.
The Wine Line is pretty convenient if you’re staying in Los Olivos, but at $80.00 per person (plus wine tasting fees–usually 10.00 a pop), it’s not particularly cheap and you are limited as to the geographical area and which particular wineries you can visit.
There are other options with tour companies operating out of Santa Barbara–everything from cycling or riding tours to jeep and limousine tours. To my mind, the best option is a Santa Barbara wine tours limo. Horses and jeeps sound like fun I guess, but it may not be a good idea to wine tasting with all that bouncing around. Besides, when you’re going wine tasting you really want to go in style. Also, limousines come in different shapes and sizes, so if your party is either small or large, there should be a vehicle to comfortably accommodate you. As for price, the service I recommend is A and J Limousine–they’re the most affordable in town, and they offer great personalized service.
Here’s one more option in a Santa Barbara wine tours limo: touring the Santa Barbara Wine Country in a vintage car: