Hidden Gems in Solvang
I am a native of Santa Barbara County in California, and I love wine. I am no expert, never took a wine class, but have done my fair share of tasting and research! Living in the middle of wine country on the Central Coast can be the envy of many a Wine lover. I have not taken it for granted that amongst the hills of our home, we have some of the best wine grapes in the world. I lived here before the landscape became flooded with tasting rooms after tasting rooms, one more elaborate than the next. If I were to tell a wine connoisseur where I live, they may tell me about a dozen well-known wineries and their respective varieties. They would describe how our weather is perfect for certain types of wine. How each grape and its environment and the personal care of the winemaker, makes this a Mecca for wine lovers from all over the world.
Yes, I am guilty of having my favorites that most people know and love too. However, this Sunday, my wife Kori and I were on a unique road trip and wanted something different. As usual, it was a beautiful day, the sun was out and temps in the mid-’70s. Our goal today, we wanted to have fun again, wine tasting! We knew where the first stop of our day would be, Lucky Dogg Winery in Solvang, California. On a previous trip, we had been to this small and hidden gem. We found it by mistake; we were looking for a good parking spot. The fun atmosphere, friendly wine server, and good wine were exactly what we were looking for to start this day of wine tasting. We loved some of the label names and enjoyed its whimsical double entendre style. Don’t let labels like, Doggy Style, Underdog, or Sexy Bitch fool you. The wine is good too! In fact, we took home our favorite bottle of Lucky 7, 2017. It has a beautiful color, smooth finish, and a value at $34 a bottle for grapes grown in the world-renowned Santa Rita Hills. If you also enjoy the double entendre humor, they have fun merchandise to buy.
After our tasting, we decided it was time for lunch. Just outside the Lucky Dogg tasting room is a wonderful bistro called Fresco Valley Café. We enjoyed our fresh and healthy lunch outside on the patio. I enjoyed the Blackened Tiger Shrimp salad, and Kori loved her Roasted Turkey Breast sandwich. The fruit infused water was perfect for this now sunny afternoon.
After lunch, we walked up a couple of blocks to visit, Calilove Winery. The tasting room walls are decorated with instruments by musicians like Charlie Daniels. There is karaoke each week, a special place to capture a selfie for your social media and more! The wine was delicious, just as bright and tasty as the ambiance. Our favorite was the sparkling wine. We purchased a decorative glitter bottle of wine to enjoy at home. This made for a perfect end to our wine tasting, and yes, we had fun!
I am looking forward to visiting again soon, with friends!
By Tony Gonzales