Obviously I did more than run at home. On the Fourth of July (my favorite holiday!), my parents hosted my grandparents for a good-old Santa Maria Style BBQ. I stuffed myself full of grilled vegetables, garlic bread, and of course tri-tip. Om nom nom.
The following day we went down south to Santa Ynez. My mom had spoken highly of Sunstone Vineyards. They had both olive oil and wine tasting. While pricey, the wines, especially the Merlot (and this is coming from a non-merlot fan), were pretty delicious. Sunstones shining star is its grounds and tasting room, which are stunning. The ambiance is one of a Tuscan farmhouse rather than a vineyard on the Central Coast and it is quite beautiful.
My dad recalled there being a miniature donkey farm nearby (yes you read that right) and drove us over there. We entered the petting zoo and were greeted by turkeys (one who would gobble when you whistled), pigs (one who would sit and shake on command), goats, ducks and of course miniature donkeys. They were so sweet and there were several foals, one of which was only two weeks old!
A quick lunch at Firestone Brewery (complete with beer tasting) was followed by a visit to Koehler Winery, where my uncle Dan works. Obviously I am biased, but Koehler wines are truly fantastic and the grounds are amazing. I’ll do a separate write-up on this winery another time.
The next day, my mom, Tim and I stopped by Cambria Winery in Santa Maria where they were hosting a small farmer’s market. The produce looked amazing but we were under the impression we would be traveling around a bit before heading back home so we didn’t buy any. They also had fresh flowers and several beautiful crafts.
We stepped inside to do some tasting. Even though Cambria has a massive tasting room and bar, it was slammed with customers due to the holiday weekend and farmer’s market. We were able to squeeze into a small spot at the bar and enjoyed the lovely vinos Cambria had to offer. Both of their pinot noir’s were delicious and we were given a bonus tasting outside of a barrel tasting. Unfortunately I forgot what type of white it was, but it certainly had a much different tasting than the bottled wines.
Overall, it was amazing weekend at home. It had been six months since I had made it back to the Central Coast and it was wonderful to visit with my grandparents and parents. We’re heading back in August and I cannot wait!