From the always sunny southern stretches of California, we started out on the road again. Heading north, we skimmed LA and the especially grey expanse of Malibu, and set our eyes on Santa Barbara. It was rainy and dusky by the time we arrived, but if ever there was a perfect welcome, Municipal Winemakers must be close. They’re a kind of cellar-door-come-bar, with tastings, wine by the glass or bottle, a big open fire, some board games, and a very kindly server. We started out with a tasting of their range, but stayed for another glass so Jordy could beat me in our third round of checkers (since I don’t know how to play chess). We would have stayed so much longer, but were hungry and very soon ended up at a nearby restaurant for dinner - cracking shells, making a mess and picking our way through half a local crab, a roasted squid salad, a big bowl of mussels and another glass or two of wine. We were pretty happy with that, for a Tuesday.
We said goodbye to SB after the best granola and fruit salad ever there was, and a mighty creamy latte from the good people at French Press. Our late start proved for the best, as we ended up wine tasting just out of town at a place called the Wine Ghetto. It’s actually called that, I promise.
The Wine Ghetto is, essentially, a big group of warehouses where small vineyards and wineries hold their own cellar door for local tastings. It’s a pretty sweet way to bring together wineries that would otherwise be too small, too remote or too quiet to sustain their own on site. And it means you can park the car and wander around for an hour or two, tasting away your afternoon. Seeing as we were driving, sensibly, and hoping to make it up to San Luis Obispo that evening, we tasted just a few and bought some bottles to try later with friends.