Two Great Solvang Tasting Rooms
Solvang Tasting Rooms:Lucas & Lewellen Tasting Room and its sister tasting room, Toccata.
Both Solvang tasting rooms are operated by Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards, a small premium estate winery in Santa Barbara County named for its two owners, Louis Lucas and Royce Lewellen.
The two friends established the winery in 1996, but Louis Lucas had been growing premium grapes for wineries across California since 1970 before finally setting up his own winery.
With over forty years of experience as a grape grower, he is passionate about his craft. He’s affectionately known as the “Dirtman” by club members and tasting room staff. Louis Lucas describes his craft this way:
“We grow the grapes that have produced some of the finest wines in California. We strive to find a balance between the soil, the vine, and Mother Nature.”
Actually, both of the owners can often be found pouring the wine in the Lucas & Lewellen Solvang tasting room, which gives you the chance to chat with the grower while sipping his wine, if you’re lucky enough to drop in when one of them is there.
The vineyards (about 400 estate acres, all told) are located in three distinct microclimates in Santa Barbara County. Santa Barbara Countyis famous for its diversity of microclimates and soils types, which makes it possible to get superb results with a large number of grape varieties.
Lucas and Lewellen have their vineyards planted to twenty-five different varietals. The Goodchild Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley is cooled by maritime fog most mornings, and the area is renowned for having the longest growing season of any wine region in California. The Los Alamos Vineyard, with more moderate temperatures, is north of Los Olivos and, at nearly 300 acres, is Lucas & Lewellen’s largest vineyard. Bordeauxvarieties thrive in the warmer Valley View Vineyard near the Santa Ynez River bed in the warm Santa Ynez Valley. All grapes are sustainably grown and hand-picked under the watchful eye of Louis Lucas and Megan McGrath Gates, who has been the Lucas and Lewellen Winemaker since 2007. A graduate of the UC Davis winemaking certificate program, McGrath Gates describes her role in the winemaking process this way:
“My job is to allow the grapes to showcase their natural characteristics.”
Fine Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Riesling, Chardonnay, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon are produced under the Lucas & Lewellen label and they also bottle other varietals and blends under the Toccata and Queen of Hearts labels.
As the name suggests, the Toccata label graces Italian style wines, including the varietals Pinot Grigio, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Moscato, and Sangiovese as well as “Super Tuscan” blends of Bordeaux and Italian varietals. They are approachable in style, offer excellent quality at reasonable prices and can, of course, be sampled in the Toccata Solvang tasting room. The Toccata Tasting Room also features a variety of gourmet foods, Italian gifts, paintings, and unique wine-related items.
The original Solvang tasting room, Lucas & Lewellen, offers a sampling of Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards premium estate wines made from French Varietals. Tastings highlight rich and full-bodied reds, fine white wines, and their popular sparkling wine, made in the methode traditionale. In addition to over twenty world class wines, the Lucas & Lewellen Tasting Room also features a variety of gourmet foods, gifts, and unique wine related items.
The tasting fees at the Lucas & Lewellen tasting room are $8.00 per person for five samples of the Traditional List and the White Wine List. The “Fun Wine List,” featuring bubbly, port, and sweeter “party wines”, or the Reserve and Bordeaux Lists are available for tasting at $12.00 per person. After tasting at Lucas & Lewellen, visit the other Solvang tasting room, Toccata, and take half off the regular tasting fee of $8-12 per person.
Just like the sister Solvang tasting room discount at Lucas & Lewellen, Toccata guests are invited to taste the French styled varietals at the Lucas & Lewellen Tasting Room for half off the regular tasting fee.
Tasting is always complimentary at both Solvang tasting rooms for Toccata and Lucas & Lewellen Wine Club members. The tasting rooms are open seven days each week, excluding major holidays, from 11 AM to 5:30 PM, but they usually stay open later than that on weekend evenings. They are also dog and kid friendly, so don’t hesitate to bring the whole family.
The Lucas & Lewellen Tasting Room is located at 1645 Copenhagen Drive in Solvang, California and can be reached directly by telephone at (805) 686-9336. Toccata is located one block up from the Lucas & Lewellen Tasting Room at 1665 Copenhagen Drive, and can be reached at (805) 686-5506.