Our guides, Barbara and Glenn (“Kirk”) Kirkpatrick, are enthusiastic touring wine diners who have cultivated close friends and contacts in Santa Barbara County over the years. They encourage each guest to explore their palates and soak in the Santa Barbara County experience. Along the way they share morsels of history, geology, and culture in an infotainment style.
We look forward to touring with you,
The SUST staff, experienced tour specialists.
The Santa Barbara Wine and Food Pairing Tour hand-picks chefs who create for us unique four-course meals paired with area wines many of which are not distributed outside the area … and that’s only dinner!
At lunch time local vintners and chefs have teamed up with us to originate special wine and/or food flavored events wrapped around a wine lunch. For example, have you ever crafted your own unique blend of varietals, named it, and then hand-painted your bottle label? How about getting a personal cooking lesson with a popular regional chef and instantly tasting the results? … with wine, of course! It’s the perfect set up for a romantic Valentine’s getaway.
No other national touring company serves up this concept of a multi-day, all-inclusive moveable feast of wine & food paired meals topped with a la mode special events. In addition, no one traveling on their own can duplicate this experience. This is NOT merely a wine tasting tour!
Santa Barbara County, California including Solvang, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, Old Orcutt, and the coastal city of Santa Barbara also known as the “American Riviera.”
We prefer smaller group dynamics and to book more intimate venues, so we must limit our party to 11 couples or 22 guests (there is a supplement charge for singles). We use a comfortable coach for transportation.
The tour starts in St. George, UT, and offers pick up points in Mesquite, NV, and Las Vegas, NV. Four of the five nights is at the same lodging in Solvang, CA. We spend the final night in Burbank, CA.
Day One: Excursion to Santa Barbara County
We start this magnificent journey in St George, Utah and pick up more guests in Las Vegas, NV. Lunch and wine is served on the coach and we take numerous restroom stops as we make our way to Santa Barbara County California.
Once arriving at the beautiful Hadsten House Inn & Spa in Solvang, we have time to freshen up in our rooms before gathering in their Bistro Restaurant for the first of many 4 course food and wine paired dinners.
Day Two: Chef Alfonso Curti Demonstration and Dinner at Los Olivos Cafe
After a restful sleep eat at your leisure from an American breakfast buffet at the Bistro Restaurant at the hotel.
For our first daily activity we take you to Old Orcutt, a quaint little town between Solvang and Santa Maria, where we introduce Italian born Alfonso Curti at his Trattoria Oliveto restaurant. With his charming accent Alfonso demonstrates how he makes his fabulous sauce and pizza. Of course we taste his pizza as part of our wine lunch in his elegant restaurant.
Following this activity as we do most days, we head back to the hotel for a free time break. You can choose to walk around the picturesque Danish town of Solvang which is filled with tasting rooms, bakeries, and quaint shops or you can elect to enjoy hotel amenities like the spa, indoor pool, or take a nap in your comfortable bed.
We finish the day at Los Olivos Café for one of the most delicious wine and food pairing dinners on the tour. Here Executive chef Chris Joslyn prepares a four course dinner, not necessarily on the menu. As a special treat winemakers/restaurant owners Sam and Shawnda Marmostein will present their personal choices of wine to accompany the food as well as share their own stories of Wine Country lifestyle.
Day Three (Valentine’s Day): Wine Blending and Laughter Tasting
After your daily visit to the breakfast buffet, we transport you back to Los Olivos to discover the fascinating Artiste Tasting Room and Gallery. An homage to the former artist colony of Los Olivos, Artiste celebrates visual art and combines that with the art of wine making by labeling the face of their bottles with a work of art without any lettering. As a case in point of their philosophy a wine specialist shows us how to mix single varietal wines into a blend. We separate into small groups to create and name a blend of our own choice. Then our group can paint a label for our creation. Of course, we also have lunch and taste wine.
After our daily free time at the hotel, we roll to the old-world-meets-new Roblar, to enjoy multiple facets of this winery. A key event is experiencing Billy, who entertains us as he pours Roblar’s fine wines. By the way, locals herald Billy as the “comedy act” of wine tasting and stands as a singularly joyous experience you can’t miss. Later we savor a specially prepared 4 course Valentine’s dinner by Chef Lawrence as she pairs with Roblar’s fabulous wines. It’s a night to remember.
Day 4: Taste Vineyard Terrior and Dinner Steeped in History
After your breakfast buffet, we board our coach and head north to historic Los Alamos. We join up with Macedonian immigrant winemaker Sonja Magdevski on a journey of several vineyards where she shares with us her knowledge of how terrior affects the unique flavor and aroma of grapes in each location. With that in mind we sample Sonja’s fabulous wines from those same vineyards at Casa Dumetz tasting room/restaurant and savor chef Conrad’s tasty lunch paired with her delicious wines.
After lunch we motor back to the Hadsten House for some free time.
At nightfall we return to Los Alamos and step back in time at the incredible 1880 Union Hotel. Talk about history; on the two floor tour the décor alone exudes mystery and seems to tell plenty of stories one of which is the filming of the Michael Jackson/Paul McCartny music video “Say, Say, Say”. But that’s just a backdrop to Chef Brooke’s 4 course wine paired dinner.
It’s guaranteed to be an interesting and educational day.
Day Five: Small Vintner Survival, at the Ocean, and Tasting the Mid-East
After breakfast we load baggage on the coach and head to our last adventure in Santa Barbara County. We’ve saved some of the best for last.
By this time, you may be daydreaming of buying a small vineyard and making your own wine. But you discover that it’s not too far from reality, because help is available at Terravant; a unique full service winemaking facility available for independent winemakers to make their wine right on the premises. Tour this state-of-the-art glistening facility and then enjoy tapas and wine at Avant Wine and Tapas restaurant on the top floor.
Then it’s off we go to the coastal city of Santa Barbara to spend free time at the pier and up-and-down State Street. Choose to window shop or see the beauty of the ocean.
We then head down the coast to check in at the Hampton Inn Burbank. After freshening up in our rooms we take a short stroll to a treasured, cozy middle eastern fine dining restaurant tucked away in the neighborhood. At Café Elegante chef/owner Greg Garibarian cooks up flavorful family style meals using recipes from his homeland and only meats free of preservatives or hormones. You are encouraged to share with the group one of your special wines at the table with the group. Let’s open our wines and hearts and reminisce at our last dinner together.
Day Six: Homeward Bound
After breakfast at the Hampton Inn we pack up, board the coach, and hit the road. Lunch and wine will be served on the coach as we enjoy our trip back to sunny St. George.