Santa Barbara Wine Route: 10 Spots to Sip and Savor
Alma Rosa winemaker Samra Morris shares the Santa Barbara County hot spots that remind her of home.
Santa Barbara reminds Alma Rosa winemaker Samra Morris of her childhood in Bosnia. “The marine influence on the vines of the Sta. Rita Hills allows me to make wines that remind me of the coastal Old World wines I grew up drinking—with minerality, lots of acidity, and a distinct salinity,” she said.
There’s plenty to do in the region, from a visit to Old Mission Santa Barbara to a dive into Lake Cachuma. You could also head to Butterfly or Tajiguas beaches in Montecito.
“Any visit to Santa Barbara wine country should include a seated tasting at the Alma Rosa Ranch House,” Morris says, “where you can experience our breathtaking 628-acre estate tucked in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills firsthand while tasting our top wines.”
Here, Morris shares her favorite spots to stop in and around the beachside region.
“We offer the option to book a guided walking tour of the vineyards with your tasting and I would encourage visitors to do so. Our estate is vast and encompasses a variety of elevations and terrains—the views are simply stunning.”
Bob’s Well Bread
Head here for coffee and breakfast. Take your pick of delicious bread and pastries, or purchase some locally made products like jam and pickles.
Brave & Maiden Estate
Gaviota Hot Springs
While the charred octopus appetizer salad is Morris’ favorite dish at S.Y. Kitchen, she admits she comes for the vanilla gelato, made by longtime server Alessio Carnevale, who just opened Via Gelateria in Solvang.
Morris says this restaurant reminds her of Europe, and of home. She comes for the thin-crusted pizza. Her favorite is Gorgonzola e scampi, and she recommends having a white wine with high acidity to match the cheese.
“Biodynamic, delicious wines, and a stunning estate; you feel like you are in another world there—they make both Rhone and Burgundian wines.”
Zaca Creek Tavern
Inside this Old World-inspired inn, you can head to the tavern for dinner or a happy hour. “The caviar dip with thick French fries is to die for!”
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.
Morris likes to “grab a beer with other winemakers” at this Buellton taproom, where you can sip all sorts of ciders, lagers, IPAs, and more.
This winery, focused on Rhone varietals, features a “lovely country” outdoor setting. Kim and Andy Busch recently renovated an 1890s homestead and turned it into a tasting room.