This day we wanted to visit downtown Santa Barbara's Urban Wine Trail. This is located in what was called the Funk Zone just a few blocks from the beach and across State Street from the Train Station. It is a perfect destination when on Santa Barbara's Car Free promotion using Amtrak trains for transportation.
The Urban Wine Trail started in 2007 when eight vintners from nearby appellations decided to join Santa Barbara Winery in an area used by small industrial firms.
The concept was so sound that today there are twenty one wineries with tasting rooms all clustered in an area of a few blocks and the Funk Zone has a new identity.
We first visited Santa Barbara Winery, started in 1962, and the oldest winery in the county and the one that showed Santa Ynez Valley could be a world class growing region for vineyards. It was also the first to use the Santa Rita Hills region for making outstanding pinot noir and chardonnay thanks to the influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean. Here we met and chatted with Jayson Rodriguez and Kristy Torgeson.
We also visited Oreana Winery and Tasting Room and there met Owner and Winemaker Daniel Miles.
Known as Danny he is home grown, a lifelong resident of the Santa Ynez Valley and learned all his winemaking craft from local vintners.
Oreana was established ten years ago and now makes wines from eight varietals using grapes from several of California's best appellations.
The Oreana Winery and Tasting room has also achieved fame for its live weekend entertainment and party atmosphere at 205 Anacapa Street.
We decided to cut short our exploration of the Urban Wine Trail when a host of visitors suddenly began to arrive. They were ashore from a cruise ship looking eager and thirsty so we folded our tasting notes and silently stole away.