Springtime Sipping: Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail

The weekend after Memorial Day is filled with wine-nice gatherings.


FEWER VINES, MORE STREETS: It's a fact of the wine-growing industry that vineyards tend to be located in regions possessing a good bit of land. Should we have written "spoiler alert" there? Nah, not so much. We all know this. But it means that when we get to thinking of a day out spent wine tasting, well... we think of those big vineyards, and hills in the distance, and wide open skies, and all of that brochure-y stuff. But great wineries and tasting rooms aren't all hill- and stream-adjacent. Some are snug against busier intersections, and steps away from banks (the financial kind, not the ones found along creeks). The wineries of the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail are a fine example of this principle. Yep, "urban" means something here -- you won't drive an hour out of the city to find them. Several of them are close enough that you can walk. (Well over a half dozen are just off State Street.) So can you get to know a lot of these citified places to sip, all in one fell swoop? You can, any time, but the very end of May and the very beginning of June would be a most excellent weekend to make a start.

WHY? That's the Summer Celebration, which boasts "three amazing events in one weekend." All righty, we like choices. Choice one? A passport. Easy enough, and that baby'll let you visit a huge buncha tasting rooms, from Carr Vineyards & Winery to Jaffurs Wine Cellars to Riverbench Winery. A passport weekend is always the right weekend to make a go at getting to know a trail. Choice two? A Red & White AVA Seminar lands at the Wine Cask on Saturday, May 31. And three? A Grand Tasting at the Carrillo Ballroom. It'll be pretty much all Urban-Trail-y goodness all weekend long, from May 30 to June 1, which means the whether shall be American Riviera-style fine, too. We'll soon be back visiting vineyards in the great wide open again, but a few days spent near the hubbub of a city, sipping and learning, sounds pretty pleasurable, too.

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