Heaven in the Hills

Tucked in the windy hills of Santa Barbara lies a community with exceptional food, rich grapes and bountiful culture. Forty-five minutes away from the Santa Barbara city beach, the Santa Ynez Valley is the ideal escape from a fast-paced lifestyle. It’s an oasis for foodies and winos. The area is home to six distinct communities—Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang—all of which hold wineries, restaurants and deep California heritage. With its rolling hills, timeless venues and warm nights, Santa Ynez is a unique and memorable destination.

The Ballard Inn

A home-away-from-home feel, The Ballard Inn is a quiet and cute bed and breakfast with exceptional staff. With nightly turndown service as well as fresh cookies in your room, The Ballard Inn allows for a cozy and intimate stay. Breakfast and dinner are served downstairs at The Gathering Table, where guests can expect award-winning cuisine.

2436 Baseline Ave., Ballard, California, 805.688.7770, BallardInn.com

Sunstone Vineyards & Winery

The picturesque grounds and French courtyards of Sunstone Vineyards & Winery is a 50-acre estate that holds history, education and family values. Known for its 2016 estate merlot, the winery also offers a plethora of wines to suit any guest’s palate.

125 N. Refugio Road, Santa Ynez, California, 805.688.9463, SunstoneWinery.com

Brick Barn Wine Estate

Brick Barn is a 1,100-acre ranch built in the 1970s, originally as an Arabian horse barn. This newly opened wine estate is rich in history and flavor. Pouring award-winning wine is just one of its specialties as the estate also has an up-and-coming patio scene.

795 W. Highway 246, Buellton, California, 805.686.1208, BrickBarnWineEstate.com

Melville Vineyards & Winery

Come and stay awhile at Melville Vineyards & Winery nestled in the Santa Rita Hills appellation. The outside ambiance is calm and pretty, perfect for sipping and enjoying the vast selection of pinot noirs and chardonnays.

5185 State Highway 246, Lompoc, California, 805.735.7030, MelvilleWinery.com

Demetria Winery & Vineyard

Demetria’s views captivating and relaxing with cute winery cats around to keep you company. Accompanied by the live soundtrack of birds playing, gather family style to taste and learn about their biodynamic farm practices.

6701 Foxen Canyon Road, Los Olivos, California, 805.686.2345, DemetriaEstate.com

Presqu’ile Winery

This state-of-the-art winery sits high as you overlook the Santa Maria Valley. Sit outside at the on-site amphitheater and listen to local artists while taking in the elegant and balanced wine list. Don’t forget to join the wine club for the private patio privileges.  

5391 Presquile Drive, Santa Maria, California, 805.937.8110, PresquileWine.com

S.Y. Kitchen

Treat yourself to modern and fresh Italian dishes made with locally sourced ingredients at S.Y Kitchen. One of the few restaurants with a full bar, experience S.Y. Kitchen under the twinkling patio lights.

1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez, California, 805.691.9794, SYKitchen.com

Cecco Ristorante

Serving a rustic country Italian menu, Cecco is in the heart of the Solvang community. The homemade pasta, wood-fired pizza and seafood dishes are divine.

475 First St. #9, Solvang, California, 805.688.8880, CeccoRistorante.com

The Gathering Table at The Ballard Inn

Known throughout the community for its wonderful and talented owner and chef, Budi Kazali, The Gathering Table is a Santa Ynez staple. The Asian and French cuisine is the most sought-after in the valley. Located inside The Ballard Inn, The Gathering Table is a must stop for dinner—and the banana ice cream dessert.

2436 Baseline Ave., Ballard, California, 800.638.2466, BallardInn.com/Restaurant

The Bear and Star

Proud of the refined ranch cuisine combined with the California bounty, The Bear and Star is founded on Texas and California tastes. The meat, fruits and vegetables come from Fess Parker Home Ranch just down the road. You can’t go wrong with the grilled Wagyu burger, the oysters or the chicken liver mousse.

2860 Grand Ave., Los Olivos, California, 805.686.1359, TheBearAndStar.com

Pico at the Los Alamos General Store

Another highly recommended dining experience is Pico located in Los Alamos. Nestled within an old general store, Pico is a hip and trendy farm-to-table restaurant perfect for a group gathering or romantic discussion. Pico’s decor and setting make for an unforgettable experience.

458 Bell St., Los Alamos, California, 805.344.1122, LosAlamosGeneralStore.com