Santa Barbara County Wine, Part 8: Santa Ynez Wine Trail: Wine & Horses

Santa Barbara County Wine, Part 8: Santa Ynez Wine Trail: Wine & Horses

In the heart of the Santa Barbara Wine Country, Santa Ynez is a unique place of horse ranches, farms and vineyards. Here you can experience the casual ranching lifestyle of the Santa Ynez Wine Trail while enjoying world-class Santa Barbara County wines. 

Santa Ynez Wine Trail: Find Your Favorite

Wine tasting along the Santa Ynez Wine Trail is like bouncing around inside a subset of Santa Barbara Wine Country. You can find wines here from Santa Ynez, Santa Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon and Happy Canyon. There is always something new around the corner. 

Touring is made easy with the Santa Ynez Valley Tour Map, or you can book a tour with a local wine tour company. If you drive yourself, stop by Panino’s for sandwiches before heading out.

You might find a favorite wine at Kalyra Winery, Brave & Maiden Estate Winery, or Crown Point Vineyards. Kalyra specializes in dessert wines and has a tasting room with knock-out views. Bordeaux varietals are the focus of Brave & Maiden while Crown Point features wines from Happy Canyon.

Staying at the remodeled Santa Ynez Inn puts you near the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum, where you can get the low-down on the area’s past. Stroll over to S.Y. Kitchen for fresh, modern Italian cuisine.

santa ynez wine trail horseback riding

Santa Ynez: Valley of the Horse and More

Horse enthusiasts love Santa Ynez. Learn why this is the Valley of the Arabian Horse at the Santa Ynez Valley Arabian Horse Association. Visit the Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center to discover the many different horse breeds raised here. 

Swapping horses for bicycles, Santa Ynez has a world-class training center for cycling. There are cycle shops and tour providers for those devotees who want to cycle along the serene wine country roads.

Try the peaches and a dry-hopped white wine at Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard. Rusack Vineyards offers wines from Ballard Canyon and Santa Catalina Island. Unique wines made with sauvignon blanc are featured at Brander.

Just southwest outside of town is the Chumash Casino Resort which is owned by the Chumash Indian Tribe. Stay at the hotel and try your odds at the Casino, then have dinner at their fine dining steak restaurant, The Willows.

brothers restaurant at the red barn

Welcome Home to Family-owned

Santa Ynez is a place that feels like home with many family-owned businesses around town. 

A local favorite, The Brothers Restaurant at the Red Barn serves local homemade food in an appealing environment. The Iowan-born Nichols brothers have been cooking in the area since 1996. Another popular family-owned restaurant, Dos Carlitos Restaurant & Tequila Bar, cooks-up the freshest Mexican food.

Take your time at family-owned wineries Beckmen Vineyards and Rideau Vineyard. Both feature Rhone-style wines. For a boutique experience, ForFriends Inn is both a B&B and a Vacation Rental property.

Santa Ynez Wine Trail Ranching Lifestyle Experience

Santa Ynez Wine Trail: The Ranching Lifestyle Experience

Come, stay, savor the laid-back ranching lifestyle found only on the Santa Ynez Wine Trail.