From the Vine: Holiday wine tasting is still available
Like everything else, wine tasting during the holidays has been severely limited by Gov. Newsom, with appointments nearly always necessary and no large gatherings allowed.
But the good news is that you will still find some of your favorite Central Coast tasting rooms open and they’re quite happy to accommodate you. There’s nothing I like better than being able to taste before I buy, so I know what I’m getting at the table. Believe it or not, I like having an array of colorful choices of wines in my cellar so I can open precisely the perfect wine to pair with the foods I prepare.
I’m pleased to say most of our wine tasting rooms on large properties are easily able to satisfy many groups of small parties. Although you must keep in mind any party is limited to six people, and everyone is required to wear masks. One of our local faves, Sunstone in Santa Ynez, has announced that they are still open despite the latest COVID-19 curfew. I learned all about it in their latest press release:
“Governor Newsom announced several changes this week (effective Nov. 21 through Dec. 21) regarding how the state is dealing the pandemic. In addition to Santa Barbara County moving back to the ‘Purple Tier,’ a curfew from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. was issued. We are happy to say that neither of these announcements affect us and we can continue to offer safe, seated tastings outdoors from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., seven days a week!”
The fact that they have three acres of open space in their lush, green gardens makes it easy for them to accommodate quite a few guests at the same time. They also use enhanced sanitation procedures to ensure your safety. But please note, like all wineries, they must adhere to the current rules: All tastings are outdoors, you must be seated at a table (they are all six-feet apart), and all guests and staff must wear masks. The last seating reservation of the day is at 4 p.m. and reservations are stringently recommended on weekends. Fortunately, we locals have a much better chance of calling in last minute for an appointment on a weekday as they are open daily. You can make a reservation online at www. Sunstonewinery .com. With the constantly changing limitations, I strongly advise you to make reservations every visit, which will keep you informed about current restrictions. But you can still call in at the last minute on a weekday, when you’re most likely to find a time slot available.
Los Olivos is always one of my favorite places to visit over the winter holiday season, and their chamber of commerce promises: “Los Olivos is open.” If you visit www. Losolivosca .com, it will let you know which wineries and other businesses are open, as well as their hours and website links. Do keep this in mind, most tasting rooms have limited space, meaning it will pay off if you make reservations or call ahead. Another plus: many tasting rooms are offering free shipping or generous discounts on shipping the wines you order.
Among the great deals offered, all of which can be linked to on the above website, I found these most generous:
Andrew Murray Vineyards is open an hour longer than most tasting rooms, from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. They don’t require reservations but do ask that you call in advance. They have partnered with The Baker’s Table to offer packaged meals to enjoy with your glass or bottle of wine.
Artiste, which requires reservations, has some intriguing deals like 30 percent off the purchase of six-plus bottles and shipping is a mere $1.00, or you can join their wine club and get wine discounts as well as free shipping. When you’re looking for tasting rooms to visit, it pays to search around for good values like these.
Beckmen Vineyards is also open outdoors by reservation, Wednesday through Monday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. and if you order online, they provide free shipping if you use the code, PURISIMA (yes, spell it out in caps).
Ca’ Del Grevino, open daily from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., offers two Element wines for $75, and you’ll get a complimentary third bottle. A case purchase (12 bottles) will earn a 15 percent discount and free shipping.
Carucci is only open Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. through 5 p.m. by appointment only. But if you order wines online, they offer curbside pickup and local delivery is free. Shipping on three or more bottles is only $1, but if you join their wine club you get $1 shipping and 15 percent discount on wines purchases.
All this information and much more is available on www.Losolivosca.com, I hope you will use it to your advantage. Happy holidays!
Reach Kathy at kathymhardesty @ gmail .com
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