There’s something so romantic, and at the same time, rebellious, about going on a picnic. No longer are you confined within four walls, to a dining table with dining chairs. The world is your oyster; all you have to do is choose the right spot. Thankfully, in the Santa Ynez Valley, there is an abundance of beautiful picnic locations with stunning views and a quiet serenity that only relaxing in nature can provide. Enjoying a meal outdoors reminds you of the simpler pleasures of life: of good food and drink, the people we spend our time with, and the beauty surrounding us that we tend to overlook.
Picnicking nourishes the body and soul. At Beckmen Vineyards, with our four gazebos and two ponds surrounded by lawns, we’ve done our fair share of picnicking. Read on to learn our tips and tricks, food ideas, and nearby places to pick up your goodies.
Picnicking Tips & Tricks
- If you think the only wines served at picnics are whites and rosés, remember that some red wines are enhanced when served at slightly cooler temperatures. Our 2013 Estate Grenache is a prime example of a wine you can enjoy chilled (but not ice cold). Pack a flexible ice pack and wrap it around the bottle, or if you’re purchasing a bottle from the tasting room, ask them to put it in the refrigerator for 15 – 25 minutes.
- Mix and match your dishes with homemade and store-bought foods. You’ll save money by preparing food at home, but there are some dishes that are quicker and easier to simply pick-up at your local market’s prepared food section. Scroll down to see store recommendations that are close to Beckmen.
- Don’t forget to bring plenty of water. Being outside, possibly in direct sunlight, and drinking wine will dehydrate you faster than you anticipate. You won’t regret packing an extra few bottles.
- Some people’s biggest complaint with picnics is that they are too messy. But if you plan thoughtfully, they won’t be. Bring plastic bags or tupperware to take home leftovers, another plastic bag for used utensils, another larger plastic bag for used plates or bowls, and a lot of napkins. Packing up will be a breeze and everything will be organized for cleaning once you get home.
- Invest in a cooler – even better if it’s designed specifically for picnics. You’ll thank yourself down the road.
- Picnics don’t have to consist of strictly finger foods. Bringing small plates and forks will make it easier for your guests to choose what they want to eat, keep portion sizes in check, and add a level of elegance to your outdoor dining experience. Plus this will only broaden your food horizons!
- Let’s be honest. A picnic at a winery isn’t complete without cheese, because cheese might just be the best wine pairing food out there. If you’re going to have more than one (and we recommend you do), bring cheeses that are total opposites: a smoked gouda and stilton, brie and a sharp white cheddar, the possibilities are endless.
- Fruit beautifully balances the richness of cheese. Bring pre-cut fruit to keep the picnic messiness to a minimum, or pack berries since they are an easy, no-fuss fruit to eat.
- Even if you find a shady spot to picnic, most likely it will be warm or hot out, especially during the summertime. Bring cool or room temperature foods that will fill and refresh you at the same time. Leave the hot and heavy meals for home.
- Use grains! Make hearty salads with quinoa, couscous, barley, and farro. They are a healthy alternative to sandwiches (boring!).
- End your picnic with a sweet treat. You’ve been munching on a delicious meal, taking in the stunning view, and relaxing with your friends or family. Reward yourself and finish your picnic with an indulgence, something that will satisfy your sweet tooth, whether it be freshly baked cookies, brownies, or fruit (keep in mind that chocolate will melt and be a sticky mess unless you have a cooler).
Nearby Places to Get Your Goods
- The Lucky Hen Larder: A wide selection of artesian cheeses, meats, and other platter essentials.
- New Frontiers: If you’re looking for organic or biodynamic goods and produce, this store is a must-visit.
- Los Olivos Grocery: Just down SR 154 from Beckmen, this locally owned gourmet grocery is small but has an incredible cheese, meat, and deli counter.
- El Rancho Marketplace: A full grocery store with all of the picnic necessities, from a multitude of tasty bites, to plates and napkins.
Picnics are an ideal way to relax and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. We offer a multitude of picnic areas, from our four gazebos with picnic tables, various tables and chairs around the estate, and two picturesque ponds surrounded by rolling lawns, all with a view of the vines. Check out our Visit Us page to learn more about our facilities and policies, or call (805) 688 – 8664 ext. 200 to make a reservation.