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Santa Ynez Valley: Wineries, Bookstores, And Aeblskivers

2010-12-10-overhead_Trazzler.jpg   First Posted: 01/08/11 03:59 PM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:25 PM ET

Text courtesy of Trazzler.com.

By Megan Cytron

The movie Sideways put the Santa Ynez Valley on the map--and not just for aging burnt-out urban dwellers unlucky in love--a steady stream of wine-curious souls head here to wake up their taste buds at the valley's more than 70 wineries and tasting rooms. The feeling here is far less pretentious--and more family-friendly and idiosyncratic--than many other California wine-country regions. Dig a bit deeper and you'll find some pretty odd phenomena coexisting amidst the oenophiles: idyllic green hills, split-pea worship, a super-swanky dude ranch, wine-trail jeep tours, cuckoo clocks galore, cupcake and wine pairings, European fairy tales, a trolley drawn by draft horses, and aebleskivers (baseball-shaped Danish pancakes). Santa Ynez Valley towns: Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Solvang.

Gainey Vineyards, just east of Solvang, boasts the best picnic spot in all of Santa Ynez Valley. In the middle of a vine laden-hillside is the tasting room and several grassy patches with picnic tables. The tasting room shop has cold cabinets stocked with everything you need for on-site snacking: meats, cheese, fruit, and, of course, wine. Choose your favorite bottle from the tasting and they’ll happily cork it for you and loan you a few extra glasses. Enjoy the shade, and fragrance, of a flowering tree as you admire the 100 acres of grapes that sprawl before you. Try to figure out which sun-washed rows yielded the grapes that produced your current sipping sensation, because honestly, you’ll have no other care in the world.

Writer: Sara McBride | Photo: Sara McBride
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