Hidden Gems and Delicious Destinations

Out on the road to find inspiring, less-well-known nabes devoted to the fresh, the local, the sustainable—and the drinkable.

Longoria Wines
Photo: Randy Mayor

Southwest: Santa Barbara County’s wine-tasting revolution

Sideways put Santa Barbara and its pinot noirs on the map back in 2004. Now, a new generation of young winemakers is fiddling with ideas about traditional tasting rooms. You’ll see the transformation in Los Olivos, Los Alamos, and Lompoc, where a group of winemakers called the Lompoc Wine Ghetto pools shared equipment, knowledge, and 16 tasting rooms representing more than 20 local wineries, all housed in a two-block industrial complex.

This is no romantic sipping experience; it’s a fluorescent-lit warehouse located behind a Home Depot. But you’re clinking glasses with the winemakers themselves, and their passion for what’s coming out of nearby vineyards can be every bit as beautiful as those scenic Napa clichés. —Cindy Hatcher

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