Thinking of where to go for the weekend from your busy city? Look no further than my new favorite hideaway in California’s Central Coast. Enjoy amazing food, wine and beer tasting in Buellton, the ultimate off the beaten path weekend getaway, with this handy libations and food guide to lead the way! Make friends with laid back locals and kindred spirited visitors that are also attracted to this cozy small town of less than 5000 people. With about two dozen establishments, you can easily center your vacation in Buellton with it solely focused around: wine, craft beers or even a spirits tour.
The best part? It’s located all within 10 minutes of each other so you can do so by bicycle, lyft or hire a driver for the day! Let your inhibitions and creativity run wild. Because you deserve it! (Yeah, you.)
Wine-Tasting in Buellton
What makes Buellton unique in regards to the wine-making is that most wine landscapes run north to south. Here, the wind runs east to west, capturing both the breeze of the Pacific coast and the warmth from the rolling hills and mountains (inland). This landscape brings in the best climate for lighter wines such as their world-renown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Due to the climate, there are around 50 varietals grown just in this area.
Buellton is where most of the famous wine movie from 2004, Sideways, was filmed. Ah! And now it ALL makes sense. Many of us who have watched that movie over a decade ago was likely charmed and felt nostalgic over the scenery shown in the movie. We knew it was somewhere in California, but dónde?
The bars where they discussed philosophical topics was at the Hitching Post II. Some of the wineries were where they pondered about life and relationship’s deepest meanings. Among many other scenes were places we ate and visited right here in Buellton or within Santa Ynez Valley. Visit Sideways Lounge, just steps away from Sideways Inn, to relive this movie.
Brick Barn Wine Estate
This winery stands out from the others in Central Coast due to it’s phenomenal setting and history. Started in the early 1970s, this massive land was originally used as a world class Arabian Horse farm stable created by an Italian Stoneman. 36 stall brick barn housed these extraordinary horses.
Today, Brick Barn Wine Estate has been transformed into a Winery with it’s weather and location most ideal for lighter wines. Stop by for a tour with their friendly Connoisseurs and stay in the various tasting rooms for as long as you’d like in this peaceful setting. Also a beautiful place for events and weddings.
Buellton’s Intoxicating yet Charming Street
Feel like lounging in one area and not have to think so hard? Head over to Industrial Way. As the street name suggests, this street was originally a typical industrial area with businesses, warehouses and light manufacturing. In recent years, Industrial Way has been transformed into THEE hip street with:
- 8 Wine-Tasting Rooms
- Alma Rosa
- Bottles Winery
- Cholame Vineyard
- Margerum Wine Company
- Roark Wine Co.
- Tierra y Vino
- 3 Unique Dining Experiences
- Industrial Eats
- The Grand Room attached to the right of Industrial Eats is where you can host your own private dining experience!
- Figueroa Mountain Brewing Kitchen
- Bottlest Winery, Bar & Bistro
- Industrial Eats
- A Craft Brewery & Tasting Room
- Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company
- 2 Distilleries
- Ascendant Spirit which I mentioned above
- Dorwood Distillery
At the end of Industrial way, you reach Industrial WineWorks, a shopping center which looks initially ordinary from a glance. But now that you’re in on the secret, it’s a paradise for Winos like myself and perhaps you reading! In this parking lot is 6 wine tasting rooms, each with their own history, personality and uniqueness. We tasted at Helix Wine, but the friendly neighbor, Imagine Wine, brought over their wine for us to try there. Competition is minimal as there is enough wine to go around for every taste preference!
If you’re limited on time,
do a bit of a research to see which wine tasting rooms you want to go to.
If it were up to me? I’d ambitiously taste them all!
Helix Wine Tasting Room
Start at Helix Wine, a small cozy tasting room opened in 2016 by Kalyra Winery though her passion for wine started much earlier. Kalyra has been producing wine since 2002 in Santa Ynez. The idea for the Helix Tasting Room was initially to showcase Kalyra’s Sparkling and Dessert wines. And now Kalyra’s showcases her newest wine product, “239 Wine” which is versatile for cocktails. She is a story teller and is passionate about the wine she serves. So pull up a chair and hours will easily pass in this beautiful tasting room.
Mike Brown, the owner and winemaker is Australian born and has had a long history of producing award winning dessert wines. The DNA Helix wine glass logo represents 239’s evolutionary wine – a fortified wine that is 23.9% alcohol designed to be used to elevate wine cocktail mixology to a new level.
For cocktail connoisseurs, the 239 wine opens up a world of new recipes and creativity to create wine cocktails with lighter alcohol content. We each brought home a bottle.
Helix also has a vintage trailer on property that sells lots of unique gems like kitchen plates, settings, barware, fashionable classic clothing, vintage alligator boots, jewelry, knick knack novelties and more. Definitely way cooler than your usual antique shop!
Imagine Wine is located within steps from Helix Wine in Industrial Wine Works which is a boutique winery with aromatic, luscious wine for every taste bud. Owned by husband and wife Ross and Lyn Dee Rankin, Ross started in the wine industry in the early 1990’s.
“His signature Paradise Mountain Syrah and Viognier are made exclusively from the highly sought after grapes of a unique vineyard in the eastern hills of Santa Barbara County.”
Besides their fine wine, they are well-known for their classic artwork labels with beautiful nude women on the bottle. As Alabama outlawed this 10 years ago, wine makers in California took this as a blessing.
Tip: Try their 2016 Santa Ynez Valley Sangiovese, a product of a cooler coastal climate, aged in 50% new French and Hungarian Oak for 14 months. There are sweet, fruity aromas of plum, pomegranate and cherry. Tastes of raspberries, cocoa, baking spices and is a medium body. Only 105 cases produced!
Where to Eat on Industrial Way
Feeling a bit of a happy buzz after all the wine tasting? Ready for some good eats?
Enjoy dinner just steps away from Industrial Wine Works at a repurposed warehouse, Industrial Eats, my all time favorite restaurant in Buellton. A true gastronomy that put Buellton officially on the map for some of the best eateries along the Central Coast of California! Owners Jeff and Janet Olson value bringing people together through a communal feasting environment.
They are known for their pizzas which is baked in their two open wood-ovens which churn out thousands of dishes annually. All food ingredients are sourced locally and sustainable farms.
Try some of their specialty pizzas:
- maitake, potato, spinach, bob ross
- rosemary, parmesan, sea salt
- fennel sausage, tomato, mozzarella, basil
- skirt steak, tomatillo, queso fresco
- chicken, bacon, avocado, ranch
Or some of their exotic menu items that can only be found at Industrial Eats:
- autumn squash, vadouvan, coconut, cashews
- cauliflower, parmesan, gruyere, crumbs
- chicken liver, guanciale, capers
- smoked pheasant, basil, citrus
In a hurry and want take out? Order a sandwich to go while drooling over their Craft Butcher Shop just at the counter for some charcuterie, cheese plates, fresh meats or ready made items.
Have a large group? Schedule a private dinner next door at their Grand Room, which has some eclectic art on the walls including a photo of Donald Trump as a Clown (yes, my kind of art)!
Address: 181 Industrial Way, Buellton, CA 93427
Gourmet Eats on Industrial Way also available at:
- The Kitchen at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company
- The Cookie Vixen at Loring Wine Company Tasting Room
Other experiences recommended on Industrial Way:
- Enroll in a one-day workshop to make your own wood cutting board at Shaun Boyd Made This
- Love pork? Join a two-day introductory butcher class by Valley Piggery
Buellton Brewery Tasting & Gastronomic Food
The 805 Beer brand was born on California’s Central Coast by the Firestone Walker Brewing Company. This popular, beloved beer began innocently when two brothers-in-law debated the subject of ‘good beer’ (as many do). In 1996, Adam Firestone and David Walker began brewing their versions of how beer should be, which has now grown into a classic California staple two decades later.
David Walker is from England originally and is a craft beer revolutionary with a traditional twist. His love for classic beer styles and Old World Brewing techniques brings balance to the quality of their beers. To balance that out, Adam Firestone was born and raised in our golden state of California. He has had experience in the wine business in his prior life which has provided a diverse outlook and foundation in fermentation.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company has locations in Paso Robles, Venice and Buellton. In the Buellton location, there are over 16 beers on tap featuring some of the most rare barrel aged offerings. The Barrelworks Tasting Room and Blending Center features Wild Ales and Vintage Beers. I recommend ordering flights of beers so you can taste a selection of their best beers. They also sell beers to-go and Growler fills. Self-guided tours are available.
The Firestone Walker slogan is “BEER BEFORE GLORY” and rightfully so!
LOOKING FOR THE BEST PLACE FOR LUNCH or DINNER IN BUELLTON?
The Taproom restaurant inside the Firestone Walker establishment is the place to go. Open for lunch or dinner, it’s your go-to spot for gastronomic Californian cuisine with a twist of fusion from the chef’s favorite ingredients and styles. Ask the waiter to pair your meals with specialty beers!
Address: 620 McMurray Rd, Buellton, CA 93427
First Distillery in Santa Barbara County
Since the Prohibition
Ascendant Spirits, founded by Steve Gertman is the fun spirit tasting experience I mentioned as part of your booze tour in Buellton. Wine-tasting and Brewery Tours never gets old but why not spice things up by tasting some local liquor! Especially for those that love learning about various types of spirits.
“On California’s Central Coast, most people make wine.
But liquor also loves the Central Coast’s warm days and cool nights.”
“I love to fly. Being on a plane,
between the place you’ve come from
and the place you’re going,
is almost like being nowhere at all.
And nothing seems to exist but possibility.”
Buellton is home to the first distillery since prohibition in Santa Barbara County, Ascendant Spirits. And the town has a continually growing distillery scene. Ascendant Spirits produces award-winning whiskey, vodka and gin using local ingredients. Some of the unique ingredients used is caviar limes, winning gold at the San Francisco Spirits Competition, World Whiskies Awards and Beverage Tasting Institute.
Now normally I am a whiskey drinker,
but I was very impressed by the Gin at Ascendant.
It is possible I could even convert if I had more!
Visitors can learn more about the process of distilling by going on a tour of Ascendant Spirits’ distillery and tasting the final product. Unfortunately, you cannot buy directly from them but you can at local liquor stores.
Tours & Tastings Available: Fridays 4-8p / Weekends 1-7
Address: 37 Industrial Way #103, Buellton, CA 93427
Buellton only has one other distillery (also on Industrial Way) which is DorWood Distillery. “True grain to bottle hands on Distillery making each batch small and hand crafted the old world way”.
Hungover the Morning After & Need a Place for Brunch?
You can’t go wrong nursing that hangover at the Pea Soup Anderson’s Inn which serves up 2 million bowls of pea soups a year!! It is also a classic place to stay in Buellton.
Address: 376 Ave Of The Flags, Buellton, CA 93427
With Buellton’s friendly neighbor Solvang resembling a mini-Danish town, you can also find some authentic Danish eatery here. Eat Breakfast at the cozy Ellen’s Danish Pancake House. A local and visitor favorite for dining any time of the day, you can’t go wrong with Ellen’s. Serving up American and Danish food in a family style setting. Order the All-American Pancake Sandwich or the Danish Sausage.
Address: 272 Ave Of The Flags, Buellton, CA 93427
More Information on Buellton & Where to Stay
For more information on Buellton, you can visit the colorful Discover Buellton website. I highly recommend staying at the Hamptons Inn & Suites located on the rolling hills of California wine country and among large oak trees.
Why else does it stand out? Because they host Happy Hour serving local wine & beer, as well as a mini Bocce Ball Tournament daily around the cozy fire pit! Breakfast is included in the stay with a friendly staff that is super knowledgeable about all the happenings in the area.
Address: 600 McMurray Rd, Buellton, CA 93427