Party in the Valley Culinary Fête Aims to Impress
By Gabe Saglie   |   September 19, 2023

Taste of the Santa Ynez Valley makes its grand return this month, though you could really say this will be the feast’s true premiere. The pandemic put on the brakes after the event’s first year. And while last year marked its official post-Covid return, all signs point to the 2023 rendering of this multi-day, multi-city, […]

Elevated Experiences: Fess Parker Ramps Up Wine-Inspired Offerings
By Gabe Saglie   |   August 22, 2023

The Parkers have been busy.  The multi-generational enterprise behind a slew of visitor options across the Santa Ynez Valley is repositioning itself as a local leader in the arenas of wine and hospitality. “People these days who are investing to come visit our area – they do have higher expectations today than they used to,” […]


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More from Montecito

Unveiling the Charms of Santa Barbara Wine Country
By Jamie Knee   |   July 25, 2023

Living in Santa Barbara wine country is a stroke of good fortune for wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. Crowned the wine region of the year in 2021 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, this beautiful area offers a delightful blend of scenic landscapes, exceptional wines, and a thriving wine culture. Nestled along the Central Coast of California, […]

Dana Volk Is a “Happy Mommy” New Label Aims to Connect with Moms
By Gabe Saglie   |   July 11, 2023

Dana Volk trademarked the “Happy Mommy” wine back in 2018, when she launched her venture as an independent winemaker. “I always wanted to make a local wine under $20, as a way to connect with fellow moms,” she recalls. “And I thought, ‘Maybe someday!’” Five years later, as the repute of her original, fine wine […]

The New Darling of Sparkling Wines
By Jamie Knee   |   June 27, 2023

Everyone’s heard of Champagne, and most people have heard of Prosecco, but the new darling in the world of sparkling wine is Cava. This delicious bubbly from Penedès, Spain, is actually not so new, having been discovered in the late 1800s. For those who are unfamiliar with Cava, it’s a sparkling wine that’s made using […]

New Access: Bien Nacido Vineyard Welcomes Guests for First Time
By Gabe Saglie   |   May 30, 2023

The newest wine tasting destination in Santa Barbara County is, actually, 50 years in the making. The Gatehouse at Bien Nacido Vineyard officially opens to the public this Memorial Day weekend. It’s a brand-new structure – two-stories, plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces, sustainably built from the ground up – located right at the entrance […]

To the Wine Lover Go the Spoils: May Offers Myriad Events Inspired by the Grape
By Gabe Saglie   |   April 25, 2023

Santa Barbara’s wine industry is rolling out the red carpet. Mid-May is studded with a bevy of events aimed at maximizing the enjoyment of, and understanding of, locally-produced wines. Here’s a snapshot of some of the key events presented by both the Santa Barbara Culinary Experience’s “Taste of Santa Barbara,” making a triumphant return, as […]

  • Wine Helping People Helping People
    By Richard Mineards   |   April 25, 2023

    To Santa Ynez for People Helping People’s annual Vino de Sueños at Fred Brander’s vineyard, supporting farm workers with lifesaving services – which raised $35,000. Founding vineyards of the popular event include Alma Rosa, Clos Pepe, Foxen, Feliz Noche, Presidio, Longoria, and Buttonwood. Vino de Sueños features artisanal food, wines, dynamic paintings and sculpture, and […]

    New Owner Takes Over the Wine Bistro Property
    By Richard Mineards   |   January 10, 2023

    Montecito hedge fund titan Graham Duncan is the new owner of the late Pierre Lafond’s Wine Bistro in the Upper Village. Duncan, co-founder of East Rock Capital, a multi-family investment office, bought the former Montecito home of Lisa Hearst Hagerman, granddaughter of legendary publisher William Randolph Hearst, for $19.4 million in March 2021. The property, […]


    The Many Flavors of James Sparks: Local Winemaker Behind Multiple Premium Labels
    By Gabe Saglie   |   December 27, 2022

    It was a very personal turn-of-life event that led James Sparks to the world of wine creation – and consumption. One of a dozen children raised in a small, rural Idaho town, he left the Mormon religion a little over 15 years ago. The road to a new way of life led to Santa Barbara […]

    Bubbles and Glitter Riverbench Bubblies Come in Bottles that Shimmer
    By Gabe Saglie   |   December 6, 2022

    All that glitters may not be gold. But when it comes to these sparkling wine bottles – glittering and bursting with color – the flavors definitely shine. Just in time for the holidays, Riverbench Winery is bringing back this unique festive packaging for its full line of sparkling wines. The “Glitter Bottles” are fully covered […]

    Holiday Gift Ideas
    By Montecito Journal   |   November 21, 2022

    A four-carat Colombian emerald set in platinum with diamonds accenting the emerald cut. Silverhorn Design Studio1235 Coast Village RoadMontecito, CA 93108805.969.0442 Unique and luxe Dakota Wine and Picnic Tote, quality made in the U.S. out of cork from Portugal. Paula Parisotto Proenza Schouler Dia day bag in leopard print Italian calf-hair with a detachable strap […]

    The Ultimate Paddle Party: Santa Barbara Vintners’ Charitable Gala Returns
    By Gabe Saglie   |   November 8, 2022

    Winemaker phenom Bryan Babcock is throwing open the doors to his Montecito estate. The exclusive invite includes a five-night stay for six people at what’s affectionally dubbed Villa Flora, a captivating property located just three minutes from Miramar Beach that features Mediterranean architecture and elegant gardens. Guests will also be treated to a Spanish-inspired dinner […]

    Tried and True – and Brand New: Vintners Festival Returns, Spotlights Santa Barbara’s Wide Range
    By Gabe Saglie   |   October 25, 2022

    The Santa Barbara Vintners Festival made its post-pandemic return this month. It was a lovely Saturday in Solvang, with bright blue skies and temps in the low 80s, as dozens of regional winemakers took over the grounds of the historic Mission Santa Inés and popped hundreds of corks for a lively crowd. Guests were also […]