Named after a ranch of 5,000 olive trees, Los Olivos is a historic and quaint town located just 45 minutes north of Santa Barbara in the acclaimed Santa Ynez Valley. Los Olivos was originally a stop on the stagecoach route that ran from San Francisco to San Diego, and grew in size when the Pacific Coast Railway came through town in the late 1800’s.
Now heralded as a top wine tasting destination in California, Los Olivos has 50+ wine tasting rooms representing wineries and vineyards from all over Santa Barbara County. You can park once and spend your day meandering through this picturesque community, with more than enough award-winning wines to please your palate. Scattered amongst the tasting rooms are art galleries, antiques, beer tasting, restaurants, and charming boutiques. There are a lot of hidden gems in Los Olivos, so download a walking map of the town to make sure you see all of the historic sights. Are you looking to spend time on a vineyard instead? Good news! There are multiple estate vineyards scattered around the Los Olivos area. Visit one of these wineries if you want to see winemaking facilities and be among the vines as you taste wine.
Wine Tasting in Los Olivos
Wine tasting in Los Olivos makes for an interesting adventure; there are so many different types of wine and styles of winemaking available to try. Whether you are a novice wine taster or an experienced sommelier, you will have fun wine tasting in Los Olivos. Here are our top recommendations for places to visit.
Downtown Los Olivos
You can park once and easily walk from place to place:
- Andrew Murray Vineyards: A fabulous Rhône line-up, including single varietal wines and blends
- Byron Wines: Excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay sourced from the Santa Maria Valley, north of Los Olivos
- Dragonette Cellars: Interesting, small lot styles of Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, and Rosé
- Kaena Wine: If you’re looking for a great Grenache, you’ve found it
- Larner Wine: Amazing Syrahs and an uncommonly found Malvasia Bianca; located in the center of town (aka perfect for sitting outside and people watching)
- Longoria Wines: Most well-known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, they also make stellar Spanish wines Albarino and Tempranillo
- Qupe: Consistently some of the best Rhône varietal wines in all of Santa Barbara County
- SAMsARA: Limited release Pinot Noir and Syrah found tucked away in a tranquil bungalow
Los Olivos Area
Worth the short drive to experience wine tasting on an estate vineyard:
- Brander Vineyard: A Sauvignon Blanc powerhouse since 1977
- Bridlewood Estate Winery: A beautiful tasting room with Spanish style architecture and classic Santa Barbara County wines
- Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard: Not only do they make a wide variety of food-friendly wines, they also sell fresh produce grown on their farm
Wine tasting all day will make you hungry, so stop by one of these restaurants for lunch or dinner:
- Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café: Combining good food and good wine, Los Olivos Café offers a taste of the Central Coast with their locally sourced, organic ingredients and regional wine selection.
- Mattei’s Tavern: A Historic Landmark, Mattei’s was originally a hotel, built in 1886 as a stagecoach stop. The menu is a creative combination of historical dishes and modern fare, with a wine list Wine Spectator named Best of Award of Excellence.
- Petros: Located inside the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa, this elegant restaurant dishes up flavorful Greek cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Sides Hardware & Shoes: Sides (as the locals call it) has classic American fare that never disappoints. Sit on their charming patio for a view of the Los Olivos action.
Other Los Olivos Activities
Break up your day of wine tasting with one of these fun activities:
Ever been olive oil tasting? Global Gardens offers wonderful olive oil and fruit vinegar tastings at the junction of Los Olivos and Solvang. Open Friday – Sunday or by appointment, you will learn a lot at this cozy demonstration garden.
Another place to go olive oil tasting, Rancho Olivos is located just east of Highway 154 near Brander Vineyard. The tasting stand is set on the owner’s farm, so you’ll be sampling oils amongst their seven acres of beautiful olive trees. Open seven days a week.
Clairmont Farms is an organic lavender farm that offers stunning views as well as amazing lavender products. Essential oils, personal care products, soaps, and more are made from the five acres of lavender they grow. Stop by for one of their daily distiller demonstrations.
Los Olivos tasting rooms don’t sell food (with a few exceptions), so swing by Los Olivos Grocery or R Country Market and pick up delicious snacks and picnic goods. There are multiple garden and patio areas throughout Los Olivos, where you can take a break from wine tasting and have a bite to eat. Most tasting rooms are okay with you bringing in outside food, but ask ahead just to make sure.
Imbibing too much? Walk over to Corner House Coffee for a non-alcoholic beverage and a chance to sit down, relax, and recharge. Plus, they serve McConnell’s ice cream, a Santa Barbara ice-cream staple for those with a sweet tooth. Open from 7am – 5pm.
Have another tip for wine tasting in Los Olivos? Share with us below!