The drive from our office in Camarillo to Baileyana Winery in the Edna Valley is a relatively easy 3 hours or so.
When we first started the club, we would have woke at dawn, stopped for a late breakfast, hit the winery by noon and then made it back home by nightfall.
You know…we just don’t need to do that anymore.
Our pace can be much more relaxed now thanks to an amazing team at the club. Sneaking away for a night or two is a treat we can reward ourselves with.
One of our favorite places to sneak away to is the Santa Ynez Inn. This big beautiful Victorian replica is tucked into the heart of tiny Santa Ynez. We decided to split the drive in half to Baileyana with an overnight stop to enjoy the quaint Inn’s, high ceilings, big tubs, comfy beds and cook-to-order breakfast.
After a peaceful night at the Inn, we hopped over to hwy 158 for the scenic route through the Santa Ynez Valley, past Los Olivos. When we started the club 20+ years ago, Los Olivos had one wine tasting room. Today, it is home to at least 30 different wine tasting rooms and the place is certainly booming.
The drive from Santa Ynez to San Luis Obispo is about 90 minutes, but before merging on to the 101, Pam “needed” some retail therapy.
Anyone paying close attention to the photographs that have appeared in Uncorked would notice that Pam often wears boots when we are out visiting wineries. Cowboy boots, in fact, are Pam’s footwear of choice and Jedlicka’s in Los Olivos is her cowboy boot store of choice.
Jedlicka’s history in Santa Barbara County dates back to 1932. It’s authentically western with loads of butter soft leather, rugged denim and rich textures. In addition to fine craftsmanship and friendly staff, the store is filled with a heady aroma of oil leather, cedar and fresh dust. Hmmm…always makes us crave a glass of Cab when we walk in.
An hour later, the car is loaded, Pam’s showing off her new boots (plus two pint-sized pairs for the granddaughters) and we settle in for the drive.
The scene from Los Olivos to San Luis Obispo is rural, lots of rolling hills with California oaks, vineyards and plenty of happy cows. The Pacific Ocean and Pismo Beach appear briefly and then disappear again as the 101 turns back inland toward our final destination.
We love visiting Baileyana, because Edna Valley wine country is so very laid back.
No traffic jams, just one bucolic scene after another, including the little yellow school house with its bell tower and the sign for the Baileyana/Trenza/Tangent/Cadre Tasting Room. The Niven family makes all five brands and their winemaker, Christian Roguenant was there waiting for us, with wines poured.
Christian always gets an A in our book — he’s a French winemaker with experience making wine on five continents. He first worked at Maison Deutz (now Laetitia) on the Central Coast before joining up with the Niven family. Christian is a warm, friendly, down-to-earth guy who just happens to be extremely knowledgeable and articulate about making wine.
We tasted fabulous Trenza estate and Central Coast red blends, along with a delicious array of Tangent whites. When we asked about some of the unusual blends, John Niven said “This is the Wild West and we can do what we want. We aren’t guided by stiff regulations. We’re guided by good fun and good taste.”
And with that we cheered, drank and enjoyed the cool breeze that came up from the ocean four miles away.
Cheers for now,
Bruce and Pam