Visit the Santa Ynez Valley

What to Do

Wine tasting (Obviously)

With over 70 wineries and tasting rooms to choose from, selecting which to visit can be difficult. Some of our favorites include Bridlewood, Beckman, Zaca Mesa, and Carhartt. Bella Cavalli (Beautiful Horses) Winery, which is located next to Monty Roberts’ Flag is Up Farm, combines a beautiful horse farm and fine wines. You can walk between them and visit both.

A Day of Wine and Horses Tour

Each 4-hour tour visits two equestrian facilities and two wineries. A delightful gourmet lunch is served on the morning tour, and sustaining happy-hour style hors d’oeurves are provided on the afternoon tour. 

The Horse Whisperer

The home of “the man who listens to horses,” Monty Roberts, is open to the public. Flag Is Up Farms is the internationally renowned starting point for some of the world’s most successful performance horses and highest earning racehorses. It is also the home of the Monty Roberts Equestrian Academy and equine celebrity Shy Boy.

Stroll the Towns

The Santa Ynez Valley has several towns, each with its own unique character. Among them:

  • Santa Ynez has a western feel, with wooden sidewalks and an Old West historical museum. There are numerous vineyards, and a 24-acre Equestrian Center with English and Western events.
  • Los Olivos is a charming, understated village with a subtle European feel. Numerous wine tasting rooms and art galleries line the quiet streets.
  • Solvang seems to have appeared out of Disneyland. It is a Danish village with Scandinavian architecture and an interesting array of shops and restaurants. The highlight is, of course, the Danish pastries.

 

Where to Stay

Alisal Ranch, Solvang, CA

The resort has 10,000 acres of canyons, brooks and forests and is best explored on horseback. Surely you will find the ideal sightseeing partner with one of the 100 horses available on the ranch.. Additional activities include a lake for sailing swimming or fishing, a pool, two 18-hole championship golf courses and a restaurant.

Ballard Inn and Restaurant, Ballard, CA

The rooms at this cozy and elegant inn offer fireplaces and balconies. In addition to cooked-to-order breakfast and a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception, you'll be treated to evening coffee and tea, plus addictive chocolate cookies on your nightstand at bedtime.

 

Where to Eat

Brothers Restaurant at Mattei’s Tavern, Los Olivos, CA

A white Victorian dripping with charm and a long-time favorite for great food, wine and sumptuous deserts including home-made ice cream.

Ballard Inn and Restaurant, Ballard, CA

Roasted duck breast with sweet potato purée, herb-crusted tuna with Niçoise mashed potatoes, and wild striped bass with potato artichoke hash are a few of the favorites here.

The Hitching Post, Buellton, CA

Sideways-famous, The Hitching Post is known for a first-class wine list and steaks cooked on an open grill.

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Resources

Santa Ynez Wine and Horse Tours

Bella Cavalli Farm and Winery
 
Alisal Ranch Resort

Santa Ynez Valley Foxhounds

Monty Roberts Flag is Up Farm

Ballard Inn and Restaurant

Brothers Restaurant at Mattei's Tavern

Hitching Post Restaurant

Bridlewood Vineyards

Beckman Vineyards

Zaca Mesa 

Carhartt  Vineyard  

HORSE COUNTRY VOTES!

What's your pleasure...?: