Family Friendly Wineries in Santa Barbara County
On a recent trip with Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort, I found myself touring different wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley. I’ve heard wonderful things about the Solvang and Paso Robles area and I was game to take a side trip. The view on the way up was breathtaking. The Pacific Ocean is on the left making the drive absolutely gorgeous. But make sure to look to the right for gorgeous landscapes filled with cows, llamas, and ostriches. It is hard not to fall in love with the area.
Many reading this are probably thinking, “But why would you really want to bring kids wine tasting to a winery.” Well for starters, while we’re a huge proponent of letting your kids plan family vacations, we also believe everyone should do something they enjoy. Second, many families are on vacation, and simply don’t have or want childcare. With plenty of wineries catering to the 21+ crowds, should you prefer to enjoy your pinot noir sans children, you will have many options to pick from.
The one thing many people forget, wineries produce more than wine. Almost every winery below offers house-made delicacies to temp all types of tastes buds. From sweet to savory, make sure you bring a french baguette and your appetite!
Roblar Winery & Vineyards
Complete with horse parking, this Roblar Winery & Vineyards is everything I’ve ever dreamed of a Santa Barbara vineyard to be. Surrounded by beautiful oak trees, this winery embraces you with its beautiful rustic charm. Visitors can’t help but notice the vibe for the day the moment you step inside the 5,000 sq. ft. tasting room thanks to the smooth sounds of 70s classic rock with a yacht rock twist. You instantaneously want to soak up everything possible because the cozy decor feels more like a welcoming living room at someone’s private home instead of a common area for guests of the public.
The team at Roblar pride themselves in creating a unique experience for their visitors. Making it a point to celebrate family and friends, the winery offers not only a vast selection of wines, but delicious foods for your group to enjoy on the trellis-covered patio, or near the indoor-outdoor stone fireplace.
During the week, enjoy a cheese & charcuterie platter while tasting a flight of limited-production wines, which pair perfectly with local cheeses, artisan salami, and seasonal favorites. On the weekend, the winery offers even more with flatbread pizza, chicken wings, and our favorite, truffle French fries.
I can’t begin to explain just how special this property is especially with this landscape for a wedding. Everything about it is gorgeous.
The JetSet Family Tip: Make sure to bring home one or more of Roblar vineyards gourmet specialties. From chocolate truffles to my personal favorites the blue cheese Dijon spread, and champagne mustard glaze, you are not going to want to bring just bottles of vino home. Each spread is amazing!
Vincent Vineyards & Winery
Without a question in my mind, Vincent Vineyards & Winery is the place to go if you are looking to spend the afternoon wine tasting, but have children tagging along. Not only is it family friendly, but it welcomes kids with open arms complete with a kid-friendly area complete with an array of garden and board games. I hate playing favorites, but if I had to, Vincent Vineyards would be the winner.
In addition to their vast selection of wines, Vincent Vineyards also offers bottles of sparkling “wine sodas” which are non-alcoholic sweet drinks. Both the carbonated rose and chardonnay flavors and a hit among the pint-sized visitors.
During our visit, it’s hard not to fall head over heels in love with this property thanks to Melvin. During our private tour of the facilities, Melvin showed us everything, and he is not only passionate about the brand, but incredibly knowledgeable making our wine tasting experience all the better.
He warmed up some bread, and that’s when it happened. I tried the Blackberry Balsamic and their Signature Olive Oil. My only regret, not buying more bottles to bring home! The balsamic is stuff that dreams are made of, and whether you are sprinkling it on a fresh salad or vanilla ice cream it’s wonderful.
I will say that Gainey Vineyards is absolutely stunning, and I am talking breathtakingly beautiful, but it’s also the most commercialized of all the wineries. They have an impressive selection of food items such as oils, vinegar, jellies, jams, spreads, and salsa, but unfortunately, they are hidden off to the side of the shop so and I noticed many patrons didn’t even realize they were there.
90% of the merchandise offered in the store are promotional swag branded with their logo from cutting boards and aprons to journals, and the rest are pewter Donald Trump head wine stoppers, and other impulse buys. It’s impossible to escape the Gainey logo, which made me feel as though the overall experience wasn’t as special or intimate as the other ones. However, I would still give it a shot because if you can look beyond the “G,” everything is quite delicious.
The one thing I loved about this shop, it has they had a small refrigerated section stocked with a great selection of cheese. Perfect to go beautifully with the wines and pantry goods previously mentioned while on property.
The tasting room is very, very dark so you need to adjust your eyes and appreciate that type of vibe to really get a good feel for the place. It really wasn’t my thing, so I retreated to the pantry area to pick out some spreads and oils to take home which I love.
I will say, I support Gainey’s impressive commitment to sustainable farming practices. They pride themselves in using cover crops, compost and natural soil amendments for conditioning. This avoids the use of pesticides which could not only hurt the environment but their workers. The weeds are controlled by hand which prevents the use of herbicides, which are known to contaminate groundwater.
And finally, our last recommendation you may recognize from the critically acclaimed movie, Sideways, starring Paul Giamatti. This laid-back winery with Australian vibe offers varietals from around the world and has regular live music.
Kalyra Winery cards everyone, so make sure you have your I.D. Children are welcome to play corn hole or sit on the patio, but are not permitted to sit at the tasting bar or Tiki Bar for obvious reasons. This particular winery is a BIG fan of pups! So bring your dog. Like children, they can’t hang in the tasting room, but as long as they are on a leash, they can enjoy the deck or side lawn.
“Kalyra, is a translation from the Australian Aboriginal meaning ‘A Wild & Pleasant Place.’ Its fun, international blends made the label wildly popular, and in 2002, this tasting room opened, reflecting the same qualities as its root meaning.”
For those concerned that the winery has become too “Hollywood” since the release of ‘Sideways’ I am here to tell you it’s stayed true to its roots. The “international flair blending the best of Santa Barbara varietals with Australia, Portugal, France and Spain;” offers value-priced wines that wine aficionados of all levels enjoy.
What is Your Favorite Santa Barbara Winery?
We would love to know more about your experience. By sharing your tips, recommendations and memories in our comment section below, you help fellow members of The JetSet Family community decide the best fit for them and their families. Let us know what you liked most, or if you have any questions about any of these vineyards.
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