POSTED ON April 20, 2013 | IN Santa Barbara Wine Country, Wine Information | BY Joe Becerra

Those of you who follow this blog know that we rented a house in the Los Olivos area for one week, so we could explore the Santa Barbara wine country. Last post we gave an overview of Santa Barbara wine region and now it is time to discuss specific wineries in the Santa Barbara wine country.

A Day on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail in Santa Barbara Wine Country

We spent the entire day traveling the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail and visiting five wineries on this route. The first very thing we did was purchase a picnic lunch in Los Olivos at the Panino Deli. Panino also has delis in five other Santa Barbara wine country towns and their sandwiches and salads are excellent.

Fess Parker Winery
Good old Fess Parker! When we were youngsters we watched on television with great enthusiasm, the Davy Crockett show starring Fess Parker. Little did we know that the man would go on to make some very good wines that we would also embrace with enthusiasm. The only trouble with the Fess Parker winery is that it is extremely popular. We prefer a quieter atmosphere, less party and more wine talk. We spent just a brief period of time there, side stepping a couple of bachelorette parties, and then left quickly to taste at the Zaca Mesa winery.

Zaca Mesa Winery

image of Vineyards at Zaca Mesa

Vineyards at Zaca Mesa

Zaca Mesa in our opinion is the most under-rated winery in the Santa Barbara wine country. Why? Because they do not get enough credit for all the amazing wines they produce. Their flagship wine is their Syrah, which is a delicious value at under $20 and available widely in California. Unfortunately, many of their small- production wines are available only at the winery. We loved their Rousanne, Mouvedre, and Z Cuvée wines. Too bad we cannot get these at our local wine shop. Overall, this is great stop along the Foxen Canyon wine trail.

Rancho Sisquoc
rancho-sisquocThe winery has a very cool tasting room and surrounding picnic area. Unfortunately, their vineyards are two miles north of the winery, so you don’t get that lovely vineyard atmosphere when visiting. The wines are produced from the Santa Maria wine appellation or AVA. Their entire lineup of wines is very good and we think they’re amazing values, priced under the $20 range. We sat with our friends and enjoyed our picnic lunch while sipping Rancho Sisquoc Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.

Riverbench Vineyards and Winery

image of Tasting room at Riverbench

Tasting room at Riverbench

This is a relatively new winery. The family has been farming vineyards and selling their grapes since 1973. They finally said “enough is enough” and decided it was time to take their best grapes and focus on making fine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

The tasting room is in a beautifully-remodeled 1927 house. Whoever selected the design and color schemes in the rooms needs to be given a medal of honor. What a decorating touch they have!

Kenneth Volk Winery

We taste Kenneth's wines

We taste Kenneth’s wines

This last winery deserves its own blog post and that is just what we will do in our next post. We were fortunate that Kenneth Volk, the owner himself, waited on us. We spent a good hour tasting his wines and listening to his wisdom on winemaking. What an interesting guy! Stay tuned for more on Kenneth Volk.

All these wineries are on what is called the Foxen Canyon Road Trail. Get your Google map or GPS and you are sure to have a wonderful time. By the way, we decided that Riverbench Vineyards has the best picnic spot on this wine trail.