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3.Wednesday Wine Tour

Santa Barbara Car Free Travelogue

Wine Tour by Wine'edventures

March 8 - 10, 2004

Carl Morrison,

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

    Santa Barbara, California,USA--Lloyd, tour guide of Wine'edventures, (805) 882-0088, pulled up to the front of the Hotel Santa Barbara in his Merlot-colored van promptly at 9:30 a.m., as planned, and we began a day of wine education and tasting, beautiful scenery, tasty lunch and meeting other wine-loving tourists.


    As we picked up seven other guests from the Fess Parker hotel, and the trolley stop at the wharf, and headed over San Marcos Pass on Hwy. 154 to the Santa Ynez Valley, Lloyd told us about the Santa Barbara County wine history and reputation as well as the history of Santa Barbara and the geographical highlights we passed.  As it turned out we were a diverse group from the states of Maryland, North Dakota, Minnesota, and the counties of Santa Barbara and Orange in California.

    Our first  winery would be Sunstone, but before arriving there, Lloyd, taught the novices among us how to taste wine and how to pace ourselves through the 30 some different tastings we would enjoy this day.  We were each given a souvenir 19 oz. wine glass to use for tasting throught the day.  At Sunstone Vineyards and Winery, 125 Refugio Road, Santa Ynez, CA, (800) 313 WINE, the owner's daughter, Ashley, lead us through the tasting followed by Alan giving us a tour of the caves where oak barrels of wine are stored, and we saw the Wine Library.  The grounds were very photogenic, looking like Spanish Adobe buildings, built recently and designed to look very old and picturesque.



Eros, Goddess of Love, wine.  Notice the lips in the artwork on the bottle.

    Second winery was Koehler Winery.  A mobile bottling plant was in operation with the manager operating a forklift moving out empty bottle cases and moving in freshly filled bottles in cases.  As we tasted, Lloyd made a run to the nearby Los Olivos Grocery for beef, turkey, or vegetation sandwich, chips, small pasta and green salad, a bottle of water, and a cookie, which we enjoyed on picnic tables in the lovely pastoral setting next to the tasting room.


Mobile bottlers eliminate the need for small wineries to purchase bottling equipment


This Koehler wine has been cat scanned, as was our lunch!


    After lunch we went to Los Olivos, originally a stagecoach stop and now home of 12 art galleries, to Arthur Earl's Winery, the first names of the owners.  The only Arthur Earl wine sold is through their tasting rooms and wine club.  Incidentally, at each winery you can join their wine club at no cost and receive substantial discounts on wine and items in their shops.  They will send you periodical wines from their  selections as well.




    We had time to quickly visit some shops before reboarding the bus for Solvang.  The Lucas and Lewellen tasting room in Solvang welcomed us and ushered us to the section of the tasting bar with stools, a welcome change, and Lewis Lucas directed Tommy in providing us with tastes and information about the wine business in general and specifically the wine business in the Santa Ynez Valley.  With the dessert wine, Lloyd provided each of us with a chocolate brownie to enjoy.


    Our excellent day of wine tasting in this beautiful, sunny, rural Santa Ynez Valley with temperatures in the high 70s, wound down as Lloyd chauffeured us back over San Marcos Pass with instrumental music serenading us on the speaker system in the van, and the view from above Santa Barbara causing us all to point out the channel and islands beyond.

    We rested at the hotel until about 6:30 pm when we returned to the train station, and up walked our Fullerton Pastor, Don Roe, who regularly takes the Surfliner from Fullerton to Santa Barbara as relaxation and for work.  I checked our biggest luggage piece through to Fullerton, and boarded the Pacific Surfliner at 7 pm.  The ride through the night was an easy transition back to reality in Orange County for us.  I used my computer and the electrical outlet, at a table on the lower level of the Business Class car, to continue this report while enjoying a complimentry snack box of tortilla chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, cookies, a mint, and single-serving bottle of wine or a can of soft drink from the cafe car as we traveled.  There were pastries, coffee, and apple juice available in our car as well.  

    Upon our arrival back in Fullerton, Pastor Don mentioned that he planned to change his travel/work day between Fullerton and Santa Barbara to Wednesday from Friday, because of the lack of crowds on the train on this day.

    Give Santa Barbara Car Free a chance to show you around in this beautiful Mediterranean-like seaside community without the stress of driving.  I guarantee it will renew your appreciation for a modern train system, a beautiful hotel, fine food and wine, and you too will become an Ambassador for carefree, Santa Barbara Car Free.

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