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Posted January 2006

Redd Restaurant

Destination: Wine Tasting in the Heart
of Santa Barbara

By Heather Irwin


You don’t have to go all the way to WineCountry to get a taste of some of the region’s most interesting wines. Downtown Santa Barbara has a handful of tasting rooms and wine shops just blocks from the beach.

Giessinger Winery                                  
210 State St.
Santa Barbara
Tasting Room Hours: Mon-Thu, 12pm to 5pm;  Fri,  12pm to 6pm; Sat-Sun, 11am to 7pm.
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Sourcing grapes from throughout California—as far away as Lodi, Monterrey and even Amador County,--Giessinger has a variety of red, white and rose wines, and also includes a selection of sweet dessert wines. The tasting room in Santa Barbara also features a simple bistro featuring gourmet sandwiches like their cilantro, walnut turkey; artichoke roast beef and ham a la pesto (each under $6).

Jaffurs Wine Cellars
819 E. Montecito St.
Santa Barbara
Tasting Room Hours: Mon-Fri, 12pm to 4pm; Sat-Sun, by appointment.
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A small, family-run winery, Jaffurs specializes in Rhone varietals like Syrah, Grenache, Petite Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne. Only about 3,000 cases are produced each year. Jaffurs receives frequent high marks from critics for its Syrah, in particular, and is worth seeking out.

Santa Barbara Winery
202 Anacapa St.
Santa Barbara
Tasting Room Hours: Mon-Sun, 10am to 5pm
Visit an actual working winery in the heart of Santa Barbara, just a few blocks from the beach. Santa Barbara Winery, which encompasses several buildings just off State St., produces all of the white wine for both the Santa Barbara and Lafond Wineries. It is also where much of the wine from the two large wineries is aged and stored.

Stearns Wharf Vintners
217 G Stearns Wharf
Santa Barbara
Tasting Room Hours: Monday-Sun, 9am to 6pm (winter); 9am to 9pm (summer)
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Located in the tourist-friendly Stearn’s Wharf, the vintners have a focus on selling local wines, as well as their own label. There is a second-story picnic deck for enjoying sandwiches and local cheeses above the store.

Wine Cask Store/Intermezzo/Wine Cask Restaurant
813 Anacapa St.
Santa Barbara
Store Hours: Mon-Friday, 10am to 7pm; Sat-Sun, 11am to 7pm.
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Wine enthusiasts have been known to plan an entire trip to Santa Barbara around a trip to the Wine Cask, widely recognized as having the country’s most extensive collections of Santa Barbara County wines, as well as many rare and old-vintage wines from California, France and elsewhere.

Within the store, there is a tasting room for Margerum wines—the label of the Wine Cask’s owner, Doug Margerum. Wines from many other local wineries (many who do not have their own tasting rooms) can be found by the glass at the nearby Intermezzo Wine Bar. It’s a great way to sample flights or individual flavors of the region at a single sitting.

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