Drive an electric vehicle to the vineyards of Santa Barbara County and Willamette Valley
Written byCaroline HetzelMarch 8, 2016
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1 of12Dave Lauridsen
Road trip: L.A. to Santa Barbara County
Take a detour from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and head northwest to Santa Barbara’s wine country. Santa Barbara’s wines are superb and varied, thanks to the county’s topography, which ranges from hot interior valleys in the east (great for Bordeaux varieties) to more westerly, ocean-cooled zones around Lompoc (terrific for Pinot Noir). More than 50 varieties thrive here, in five separate appellations.
Your first winery, Presqu’ile, clocks in at 150 miles away. Be sure to stop for a charge in Oxnard and Santa Barbara along the way.
2 of12Dave Lauridsen
Wine: Presqu’ile Winery
It’s pronounced press-keel and in Creole means “almost an island,” after the Gulf Coast land the Murphy family owned before Hurricane Katrina propelled them to pull up stakes and start a California winery. The angular hilltop building has views extending to the Pacific, source of the cooling winds Presqu’ile’s Sauv Blanc and Pinot grapes adore. EV Charge: Free Level 1 on site;presquilewine.com.
3 of12Dave Lauridsen
Food: Industrial Eats
It looks more like it belongs in downtown Los Angeles than on the Central Coast: a pair of wood-burning ovens in a cavernous space decorated with found objects—a saxophone, surfboard, and old Toledo scale. The butcher paper menu lists “Pizza” and “Not Pizza,” while housemade charcuterie fills the display case. Settle in at one of the communal tables and keep your ears open for vintner gossip: Industrial Eats is a favorite of local wine professionals. EV Charge: Level 2 at City Hall (0.25 mi);industrialeats.com.
4 of12Dave Lauridsen
Wine: Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards
Next door to Industrial Eats is the tasting venue of Richard Sanford and his wife, Thekla, among the most respected of Santa Barbara County’s early winemakers. Though longtime fans may miss the humble vineyard cottage from Sanford’s early days, the Buellton spot has its own appeal. Built from recycled Douglas fir, it’s light filled and welcoming, and the wines are as good as they get. EV Charge: Level 2 at City Hall (0.18 mi); www.almarosawinery.com.
Beer: Firestone Walker Brewing Company Taproom & Barrelworks
Firestone Walker serves up brews that rival the best vineyards. Barrelworks features the brewery’s wild ale series, perfect for a wine lover's palate. The Buellton taproom pours single barrel and small batch limited editions alongside Firestone Walker’s widely available beers. We recommend Parabola, a Russian Imperial Stout, or Agrestic, an American Wild Ale. Finish off your visit with a skillet mac or woodfired pizza at the taproom. EV Charge: DC Fast, Tesla at Marriott (0.31 miles);www.firestonebeer.com/visit/buellton.php.
6 of12David Tsay
Sleep: The Landsby
Cool? Solvang? Aebleskiver and windmills notwithstanding, America’s Little Denmark is becoming pretty darn sophisticated. Exhibit A: The Landsby, formerly the cutesy Petersen Village Inn, now a contemporary Scandinavian boutique hotel. The clean and spare guest rooms feature white-oak floors and handcrafted furnishings. The hotel’s public spaces include a courtyard with firepits, plus an inviting lobby bar for cocktails and local wines. EV Charge: Level 2 at City of Solvang Public Lot (0.03 mi); www.thelandsby.com.
Kathleen N. Brenzel
7 of12Kathleen N. Brenzel
Road trip: Portland to Willamette Valley
Even serious enophiles describe Oregon wines with one word: Willamette. And one grape: Pinot Noir. It’s understandable. The Pinots produced in places like McMinnville and Dundee are among the very best in the world. The beauty of the Willamette Valley is that you can get lost on the backcountry roads but always find a good glass of Pinot around the bend.
No need to charge your EV until arriving at the first stop, Elk Cove Vineyards, 36 miles outside of Portland. They have an onsite station, as do several other Willamette Valley wineries. At the end of the day, you’ll drive 120 miles back up to Chehelam Ridge Bed & Breakfast after e-fueling at King Estate Winery. Stop in Corvallis for a charge along the way.
Elk Cove Vineyards
8 of12Elk Cove Vineyards
Wine: Elk Cove Vineyards
Family-owned Elk Cove Vineyards handcrafts Pinots from sustainable vineyards. The tasting room overlooks the estate and Oregon’s Coast Range Mountains. Elk Cove specializes in cool climate varietals including Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc grown on 200 acres of the Northern Willamette Valley. EV Charge: Free Level 2 on site; www.elkcove.com.
Food: Red Hills Market
The Red Hills Market is Dundee’s de facto nerve center. Locals ease into the morning there with Stumptown coffee and gluten-free Morning Glory muffins; midday, they return for Cobb salads and wood-fired pizzas dotted with spicy coppa and fresh mozzarella. A bocce court ups the play-all-day factor, especially with the market’s vast list of local microbrews. EV Charge: Level 2 at Winderlea Vineyard & Winery (2 mi); redhillsmarket.com.
Willamette Valley Vineyards
10 of12Willamette Valley Vineyards
Wine: Willamette Valley Vineyards
Looking for a winery that practices sustainable farming? Willamette Valley Vineyards tops the list, as part of the Low Input Viticulture and Enology Program (LIVE). Taste their famous Pinot Noir, while warming up by the fire in their cozy tasting room. EV Charge: Level 2 on site; wvv.com.
11 of12Andrea Gómez
Wine & Gardens: King Estate Winery
At King Estate Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the scenic vineyards, restaurant, and tasting room are only part of the story. This place is a must-see for gardeners. Among its 26 acres of organic gardens and orchards (which deliver crops for the estate’s restaurant, are great ideas to steal for your own vegetable garden. With a winery set high on a hill like a Tuscan castle surrounded by acres of organic vegetable gardens, orchards, and vineyards, King Estate lives up to its name. EV Charge: Level 2 on site; kingestate.com.
12 of12John Clark
Sleep: Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast
Newberg’s Chehalem Ridge Bed & Breakfast is a frill-free, Northwest-style alpine cottage with the most staggering views of wine country in the West. Period. EV Charge: Level 2 and DC Fast Charge at Chevron (4 mi); chehalemridge.com.