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Photo by Anita Ritenour/Flickr

Santa Maria Valley Wine Trail

Santa Maria Valley Wine Trail
Rolling hills, boutique wines, and small town charm in a picturesque valley

Feel like taking the wine trail less trammelled? You’ve found your secret spot here in Northern Santa Barbara County. Santa Maria Valley isn’t just beautiful wine country; it’s a classic slice of California, with fine wine, world-famous barbecue, country roads, and little towns where winemakers and cowboys share the same sidewalk.

"It’s a classic slice of California, with fine wine, world-famous barbecue, country roads, and little towns where winemakers and cowboys share the same sidewalk."

 

Follow this wine trail to sample artisanal boutique wines at more than 20 tasting rooms set amid rolling hills and picturesque vineyards, and clustered in the town of Santa Maria. Sip award-winning Pinot Noir, as well as Chardonnay and Syrah—some of the varietals that thrive in the region’s unusual climate, with hot days and marine-cooled nights. In the town of Santa Maria, choose from even more tasting rooms.

One of the best ways to taste your way through Santa Maria is on the step-on, step-off Wine Trolley. The trolley stops through town and at popular wineries along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail such as Cottonwood Canyon Vineyard & Winery (sign up for a cave and tasting tour!) and the hilltop Presqu’ile Winery. Insider tip: Sign up ahead of time for a cheaper rate than in-person.

Experience the full charm of the region by ordering Experience the full charm of the region by ordering a heaping plate of Santa Maria Barbecue at restaurants in town; the traditional presentation includes of red oak-fired tri-tip, pinquito beans, garlic bread, salsa fresca, and tossed green salad. You will not leave hungry.

 

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Alex Farnum

Central California

Discover the Central Coast

From the epic grandeur of Big Sur to the Mediterranean-style stretch of Santa Barbara coastline nicknamed 'the American Riviera', this region of picturesque hamlets, jagged sea cliffs and rolling wine country has long attracted - not surprisingly - writers and artists mesmerised by its dreamlike beauty.

Monterey served as California’s first capital when the state’s first constitution was signed in in the coastal city in 1849.

Take the epic Highway One drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles to discover secret beaches and soaring cliffs along Big Sur, stroll a redwood trail, spy a sea otter at the incomparable Monterey Bay Aquarium and sip Pinot Noir at sunset in the romantic Santa Ynez Valley.

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