Los Olivos Things to Do Tips by travelgourmet Top 5 Page for this destination
Los Olivos Things to Do: 8 reviews and 24 photos
WINE WALK TOWN, LOS OLIVOS
Los Olivos, California. An unique, charming country town. Then, this little town woke up to the call of "Bacchus", the Roman god of wine and intoxication, equated with the Greek "Dionysus". The wine craze in the Santa Ynez Valley may have been pushed along by the movie "Sideways", 2004, and the combative talk regarding Pinot Noir over Merlot.
The movie "Sideways" quote by the character "Miles Raymond" says it all: " Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet."
Los Olivos is one of those tucked away corners of the world. So, with that, it seems that "Bacchus" blessed Los Olivos with a plethora of wine tasting rooms, over 14 on a two block stretch called the Los Olivos Promenade that carry many winery labels. It is a wine lover's paradise. Just stay in town overnight or have a designated driver. The god of wine and intoxication is watching.
Address: Grand Ave in Los Olivos, California
Directions: A three block area of Grand Ave, off Hwy 154, going south, in Los Olivos.
BECKMEN VINEYARDS DUCK POND
"You never know what you get till you get there." saying by moi, travelgourmet. I discovered Beckmen Vineyards through my brother-in-law who claims this vineyard as his own. Well, actually he is a wine club member, but he feels at home when on the grounds. This Los Olivos winery has won many awards and was given a recognition in 2007 by "Wine and Spirits" magazine as one of the top 100 wineries in the world. To back up that recognition, the President of the United States of America included Beckman Vineyards wine at the state dinner for the Prime Minister of the Republic of India. That is a big honor for any winery and Beckman Vineyards can be proud of their wines and the tasting room proves it. You can enjoy a picnic with a bottle of Beckmen Vineyard wine at their duck pond gezebos. Perfect.
Being treated to the tasting by my brother-in-law, I was impressed by the simplistic tasting room, no need for glitz and wow when the wine is what it is all about. Beckmen Vineyards is run by Steve Beckmen and his father Tom Beckmen. The property is two fold. The orginal 40 acre vineyard and tasting room for Beckmen Vineyards and the 365 acre Santa Ynez location known as the Purisima Mountain Vineyard which is committed to farming 100 percent bio-dynamically, while the decision to adopt this organic, proactive and holistic method of farming was quality-based, it also champions a comprehensive, environmentally friendly approach to viticulture. The results are award winning wines.
While at the vineyard, I was fortunate enough to see part of the de-stemming of the grapes portion of the harvest crush. The process to create quality, award winning wines that can be enjoyed by all is a backbreaking job but the results are rewarded in the bottle. I joined in on a tasting of several of the wines produced and found that the Cuvee Le Bec (a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and Counoise) was my favorite. Wine tasting has a true purpose of finding that one wine meant for your palate. You may be surprised that what you thought tasted great in a wine was only the beginning of finding that one wine that says to you, "the time is now to enjoy the fruit of the vine for I am the one created for you." Beckmen Vineyards wine spoke that to me with the Le Bec.
Address: 2670 Ontiveros Road Los Olivos, CA 93441
Directions: Take Highway 101 to Scenic Route 154. Turn west on Roblar Avenue, and as Roblar curves to the right, continue straight onto Ontiveros. It looks like it is hard to fine but follow the signs into the Winery.
THE GRAND TASTING ROOM
Take the title role of "Davy Crockett", a television miniseries that started in December, 1954, make it a success and Fess Parker, who also played "Daniel Boone" a series that began in 1964, became a household name. Why, I even owned a coonskinned cap like the one that "Davy" always wore. Disneyland had just opened and "Davy Crockett" caps were worn by every boy that stepped inside of the magical kingdom. Magic it was for Fess Parker, who was then able to follow his dream of owning a ranch. He chose wisely with a 714 acre farm in the Santa Ynez Valley.
In 1989, Fess and his son, Eli, started to grow grape vines to sell the fruit to local producers. My, my, my, look what that started. Today, in the world of wine, Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard is well known and a respected maker of fine wines. Fess has his daughter, Ashley, involved with the winery as well. Eli with his sister, Ashley, became partners in 1998, but with the assistance and presence of Fess and his wife Marcy who decided in 1987 to buy a ranch.
Standing at the wine tasting bar, open daily, 10am-5pm, you see the coon skin caps for sale that made "Davy"...er...Fess Parker's dream come true. There are even mini caps for your bottle of wine right next to you at the counter. Got me again, as I love that cap, well only the mini for my bottle. Tasting Fee $10.00 per person and you get to keep the crystal logo glass with a tiny coonskin cap etching. After tasting the wines offered, I chose the 2007 VIOGNIER “Santa Barbara County” as the one I would bring home to have at a wine tasting party. I can't believe that my white wine taste buds are conquering my love of red wines. Three wineries in a row, and three choices are the Viogniers. Must be the pineapple connection. Oh well, as I walk out singing, "Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier". Thanks Fess.
AN UPDATE: March 18, 2010. Fess Parker has died of natural causes at the age of 85. He died on the 84th birthday of his wife of 50 years, Marcella. According to reports, he was with his family in the Santa Ynez Valley. He will be greatly missed by many. May he rest in peace.
Address: 6200 Foxen Canyon Road Los Olivos, CA 93441
Directions: Starting on Highway 101, then take the Highway 154 off-ramp and turn left. Take first exit left which is Zaca Station Road and follow Zaca Station for 5 miles as it turns into Foxen Canyon Road and the winery entrance is on the right.
Phone: (800) 841-1104
100% ESTATE BOTTLED WINERY
A winery that has 240 acres of vineyards and grows all their own grapes, and bottles the wine from only those grapes. This is an Estate Bottled winery and the name is Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards. This is more fantastic when you learn that less than 2% of all wine is designated Estate Bottled. Taken right from the Zaca Mesa book; "Our vineyard is the sole source for our wines. We also do not sell any of our fruit to other winemakers. Thus, Zaca Mesa “Estate Grown and Bottle” wines ensures you a unique, terroir-based wine experience to share with your friends and family."
Because they care so much for the distinct character and genuine quality of Estate Bottled wines from their vineyard, Zaca Mesa is offering us a unique experience of wine appreciation. I was able to secure a few bottles of the 2008 Viognier, Estate Bottled Santa Ynez Valley that just came out. Viognier is a white grape variety indigenous to the Rhône Valley of France. This 2008 is in short supply due to the weather of the past year giving a small yield. Without being too technical, the wine has a rich, creamy mouth and the lingering finish has a touch of minerality, a signature characteristic of the Zaca Mesa vineyard. The tasting room is open from 10am-4pm daily. I will be thinking of the golden rolling hills of Los Olivos when I pour from this 2008 Viognier Estate Bottled wine.
Address: 6905 Foxen Canyon Road Los Olivos, CA 93441
Directions: From Hwy 101, exit Hwy 154/Lake Cachuma. Take the first left on Zaca Station Road which becomes Foxen Canyon Road. Zaca Mesa Winery is on Foxen Canyon Road.
Phone: (805) 688-9339 ext. 308
CALIFORNIA BACK COUNTRY/WIDE OPEN SPACES
Take the back roads of Los Olivos and experience the wide open spaces of sunny California with a mixture of cattle ranches, rolling hills, and row after row of grape vines that lets you enter the life of a winemaker with the many vineyards that have tasting rooms. You feel rejuvenated as your gaze of the landscape shows the tranquil peace of the Santa Ynez Valley.
Getting there is easy by taking Hwy 101 and getting off at Hwy 154 and take Hwy 154 to the first left at Zaca Station Road which becomes Foxen Canyon Road. Look for vineyard signs. Alamo Pintado Road is further down Hwy 154 after the town area of Los Olivos. Turn right off Hwy 154 at Grand Ave, go through town or stop and visit the wine tasting rooms, continue on Grand Ave which becomes Alamo Pintado Road bearing right and Roblar Ave. bearing left. Again, look for vineyards signs. Alamo Pintado Road which has more wineries than Roblar Ave, will run into Hwy 246 take leads into the town of Solvang where there are more wine tasting rooms.
Address: Alamo Pintado Road or Foxen Canyon Road Los Olivos
Directions: Roads that are near or in Los Olivos. See directions in above write up.
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