Foxen Canyon, Los Alamos, & Santa Maria Valley Wine Trail: The Northern Passage
Foxen Canyon, Los Alamos and the Santa Maria Valley are all part of one larger wine trail and make up the northernmost part of Santa Barbara Wine Country. Each of these regions features distinctive wines and experiences.
Demetria Estate Winery is known for its beautiful location and its Rhone and Burgundy style wines. Foxen Vineyard & Winery is a long-standing winery that features Bordeaux and Italian-style wines. Riverbench Vineyard & Winery is one of the few producers to offer sparkling wines.
Martian Ranch & Vineyard, not far from Foxen Canyon, offers a lot of different varietals from biodynamic vineyards, including a good number of white wines.
Lo-Fi Wines, whose winemaker consults with Martellotto Wines, makes fresh, affordable wines that pair well with all types of foods. Nearby is Lumen Wines, one of the few wineries producing grenache.
A good place for lunch is Babi’s Beer Emporium, owned by actor Emilio Estevez, for craft brews and tacos. Have dinner at Pico at the Los Alamos General Store for locally sourced creative cuisine and a great wine list.
Stay at the charming Alamo Motel where you can enjoy wine from Municipal Winemakers around a communal firepit. Or gather around a table at Norman’s restaurant at the luxury boutique motel, Skyview Los Alamos, to enjoy good food and drink. Skyview is a remodeled, iconic 1950s motel with cozy, chic rooms and a heated pool.
Another historic hotel is 1880 Union, but you need a group to rent the entire hotel as individual rooms are not available.
Santa Maria Valley
Santa Maria has an outsized reputation for barbecue. The Swiss Restaurant & Bar has the most traditional barbecue while Far West Tavern (pictured below) is more contemporary.
Another must visit is the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center, which has 18 miles of coastal dune ecosystem, one of the largest coastal dune systems in the world.