Staff Report

More than 100 restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, vineyards, ranches, breweries and entertainment venues will be featured in the inaugural “Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley,” hosted by Visit the Santa Ynez Valley, from Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 17-20.

 “Santa Ynez Valley wine country is quietly rising to the top of wine lovers’ lists as a must-visit wine region, and our offering of not one, but six,towns to explore and consume means there’s something here for nearly every ‘taste’,” said Shelby Sim, president of Visit SYV.

Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley will celebrate wine and the grape harvest with seminars, tastings, dinner pairings and other events.

Taste of the SYV includes hands-on wine country cooking experiences such as a class at The Baker’s Table in Santa Ynez, featuring selections from Chef Robin Goldstein’s cookbooks, wine pairings from Max Hoetzel’s F2 Wines and bread from The Baker’s Table owner/baker, Amy Dixon.

A Ballard-based class will be led by Chef Budi Kazali at his countryside Ballard Inn and The Gathering Table restaurant. A Cutting, Casing and Curing Cooking Class, including lunch, with be taught by chef/owner Jeff Olsson of Buellton’s Industrial Eats, and chef/heritage pig breeder Jake Francis of Valley Piggery.

For those interested in educational and entertaining seminars, there are choices from a wine and cheese session run by Cynthia Miranda, owner of Santa Ynez gourmet sandwich; a session with cheese and charcuterie purveyor The Lucky Hen Larder; and an AVA showdown at Buellton’s Sideways Inn.

The “Sta. Rita Hills vs. Santa Maria Valley Wine Seminar” will featurean in-depth discussion with a winery panel of the region’s finest producers, and wine tastings from the two AVAs using pinot noir and chardonnay to highlight their differences.

Taste SYV will be capped with a multitude of evening experiences, with winery and beer dinner choices ranging from an open-air, communal feast on Thursday night at Bell Street Los Alamos restaurant dinner; to a Friday evening barbecue dinner and live country music at Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez, or the Grimm’s Bluff Vineyards & Winery Dinner at the Happy Canyon AVA Estate.

Saturday evening will have Pence Vineyards & Winery Dinner at Solvang’s Root 246, featuring a multi-course menu crafted by Chef Crystal “Pink” DeLongpré, or the Wine Dinner at First & Oak Restaurant, a Michelin “Plate”-honored establishment; to another Saturday winery dinner with Chef Budi Kazali of Ballard Inn and The Gathering Table; to Sunday’s Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. Craft Beer Dinner at the brewery’s Buellton taproom.

“We are so excited to premiere ‘Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley’ this year. It is our hope that it becomes a yearly pilgrimage for the world to spend some time learning and experiencing the SYV,” Sim added.

Produced in partnership with Santa Barbara-based En Fuego Events, with sponsorship by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, ticket proceeds from the inaugural Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley will benefit Santa Barbara Vintners.

Tickets and VIP package options for the four-day event weekend range in price from $40 to $975 (plus online processing fees), with multi-day pass and single-day ticketing levels and choices, aside from individual event tickets.

For a schedule of events, pass details and inclusions, visit