To celebrate our 2 Year Wedding Anniversary, Jeff and I drove up the coast to spend a Saturday in Santa Barbara.
We had been talking about it and talking about it for what felt like AGES and we FINALLY just got in the car and did it.
Naturally, I was excited to pack a picnic...a new obsession of mine. We grabbed the cameras, Drew the Drone, and headed up the 1 towards wine country.
The drive up is part of the experience, you hug the coastline up through Ojai and the freeway provides such a spectacular view of the ocean and mountains. Every 2 minutes we were debating pulling over to send the drone up. It was nice to just chat and enjoy the road without having a hard agenda.
We were initially planning to explore Bridlewood Estate Winery, where I went for my Bachelorette party but after calling ahead we found out it was closed for a wedding. (Always call ahead!) Panicked, I quickly searched the web for other choices.
PRO TIP* If you want a grander experience, make sure you search for "estate" wineries. These tend to provide more acreage and are typically the land on which the company actually grows their grapes. Many wineries are actually smaller vineyards with a tasting room only.
I am so grateful our plans got shifted because we ended up at Foley Estate Winery - one of the most beautiful vineyards I have ever been to (and I have been to a good many).
We arrived around 11 am and were greeted with a relatively empty tasting room (minus one large party that was on their way out). We decided to just walk around for a while.
I love walking through the grapes so Jeff and I snuck out to the rows of Chardonnay and had a nice stroll. Foley is known for their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes and although they weren't yet in full bloom, the leaves were a beautiful backdrop against the clear blue sky.
We decided to grab our first tasting flight while we ate our picnic and the shaded patio adjacent the tasting room allowed us to do just that. We sat, gabbed, sipped and enjoyed some delicious homemade pickle pasta salad along with our vino. After a while we noticed the bees were becoming a bit too friendly and so we decided to drop our bags in the car and relax in the air-conditioned tasting room.
Susan, our sommelier was such a gracious host. She supplied us with unique facts about each flavor, year and even shared some Foley family history. Our day took a bright and unexpected turn when I mentioned that I was an aspiring wedding planner. You never know where being honest can take you, or how admitting a hobby can garner you with unexpected gifts. Susan was so excited and in turn our conversation turned to party planning and events, weddings and her 20 year history as a Florist. She brought me catalogue after catalogue, brochures and even a tasting of their reserve label. It was amazing!
She then took us on a mini private tour of their intimate events space, a room guests can book for small parties. She took me through their menu options, tablescapes and her personal favorite events. And all of this because of my small mention of wedding planning. How great is that?! I have definitely made a new friend at Foley and hope to revisit them very soon.
We spent the rest of our stay wondering the grounds and soaking up the sun. We got some amazing footage for a special project (stay tuned!) and eventually made our way into downtown Santa Barbara for some amazing shopping, gelato and Mexican food. Foley was such a welcoming and beautiful venue to spend a day exploring. Jeff and I find that the best places are often the ones you didn't look for but which sort of found their way to you. I am definitely inspired to host more wine nights and maybe even help a bride plan her perfect vineyard wedding someday.
Until the next adventure!
~ A ~