Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway or the perfect place to gather with friends and family, a Los Olivos wine-tasting weekend and a trip to the Santa Ynez Valley checks all the boxes. The just over two-hour trip from Los Angeles lands you in this peaceful and picturesque small California town that is a haven for wine lovers, foodies, and anyone who wants to play rancher for the day.

The area is home to some of California’s finest wineries, tasting rooms, and notable restaurants. Offering everything from amazing farm-to-table cuisine, Bar Le Cote, Los Olivos Wine Merchant Cafe, and Industrial Eats (in Buellton only 10 minutes away) to unique experiences feeding ostriches and emus at Ostrichland USA and horseback riding along the rolling hills offered up by Vino Vaqueros. Take a walk down Grand Avenue to explore the area’s charming boutiques, taste some of the local produce, and stop by the Carhartt Cabin for a glass of estate-grown Pinot and hang with the locals. Whether it’s oil from Olive Hill Farm or wine from one of the many wineries and tasting rooms, the epicurean in each of you will be delighted while visiting this area filled with so much we love about California.

Downtown Los Olivos wine-tasting weekend

Don’t miss the Los Olivos General Store, at 2900 Grand Avenue, right in the middle of town. Here you can stock up on oh-so-wonderful smelling candles, curated bath and body items, and books on living the ideal rancher lifestyle complete with recipes, cocktails, and cutting boards. Have a seat in one of the welcoming Adirondack chairs and take in all this quaint piece of paradise has to offer.  

Fess Parker Wine Country Inn offers stylish lodging in luxurious rooms along with superb dining at their newly developed venture, Nella Kitchen & Bar, which celebrates locally sourced ingredients and California wine-country cuisine. The recently opened Inn at Mattei’s Tavern, part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, offers a rich, sophisticated atmosphere with stylish luxury cottages, guest houses, and rooms all available to create your ultimate retreat. With a colorful history – Mattei’s was originally a stagecoach stop in 1886 that became a popular hangout during Prohibition. This destination property combines rustic and new in perfect harmony; think well-worn leather with luxurious velvet. Historical elements add authenticity throughout the grounds, offering modern-day amenities ranging from a sparkling pool, spa, and yoga classes to sound baths and free bicycle rentals. Grab a bowl of paella and a glass of Chardonnay at the Tavern for an amazing end-of-evening bite.

Los Olivos is also home to several home décor and fashion boutiques, where you can pick up just the right item to remind you of your wonderful weekend. Global Eye Shop & Studio is one of our favorites showcasing handmade gifts including ceramics, jewelry, items for the home, and clothing from curated makers and designers. The staff is always friendly and eager to share their knowledge of what to do in and around the area.

Coco Belle is another one of our must-visit boutiques. Pillows, beautiful textiles, and clothing are all carefully chosen to create just the right mood, with a nod to Country French design. It’s the ideal shop to pick the perfect outfit for visiting the Santa Ynez Valley wine country.

Los Olivos wine-tasting weekend  at Refugio Vineyard

After an afternoon of shopping, stop by the Refugio Ranch Vineyards Tasting Room. Sample a crisp Rosé in their early 1900s historical warehouse that used to serve as a filling station for passing railway cars. There are many great tasting rooms to sample the local wine in Los Olivos. If you prefer something a bit more robust, Kaena serves up some of the best red varietals out there. Visit their tasting room in town or head out to the ranch just outside of Solvang.

Take a short drive outside of town and head to Demetria Estate Winery. This very private winery is located down a beautiful drive through the country (believe us it’s worth it), ending at a classic estate with views of the canyons and the surrounding hills. Demetria is one of the first winemakers in the valley to practice biodynamic farming, which they do on all their Rhone varietals. The large patio areas overlooking the vineyards make the ideal spot for an afternoon of wine tasting. You can even bring your own picnic to take in the views of the grape-studded hills while sipping on some superb Syrah.

Los Olivos wine-tasting weekend  drive

Head on down the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail to Andrew Murray Vineyards, Beckman Vineyards, Fess Parker Winery, Foxen Winery, and more to experience some of the valley’s best varietals. Small production, sustainably farmed, the perfect balance and structure, each vineyard has something incredible and uniquely theirs to offer the palate. Lush green vines and blonde rolling hills dotted with sculptural oaks make the perfect backdrop for your wine-tasting experience.

As the day ends, journey over to Brick Barn Wine Estate in Buellton to catch the sunset and grab a glass of Vermentino with notes of stone fruit, peach, pineapple, and salted sea breeze. Then on to Industrial Eats for dinner (a must-stop). The owner, Jeff Olsson always has something incredible to offer. Wood-fired pizzas, mussels, cured meats, and veggie options make for the perfect bite, all in a hip repurposed warehouse with a laid-back vibe and communal tables. It just may be the best darn pizza we’ve ever had! Book your Los Olivos wine-tasting weekend soon.