Laurie Jervis: Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks Begins Sunday | Homes and Lifestyle

13Thursday The annual Restaurant Weeks, a celebration of the region’s culinary and wine culture, will celebrate the Santa Ynez Valley with a curated and chef-driven three-course prix fixe menu Sunday through January 31.

A list of participating restaurants and their respective menus, as well as participating wineries, is available at

Restaurants participating in Restaurant Weeks will offer set menus priced at $30, $40 or $50 plus tax and tip, and wineries and tasting rooms will offer two-for-one tastings, special tasting flights and discounted bottles.

Beef Bourguignon, one of the entrees offered at The Victor in Santa Ynez during Restaurant Weeks. Credit: Courtesy Craft & Cluster via Visit the Santa Ynez Valley

“Each year, Restaurant Weeks brings foodies together for an affordable, immersive dining experience,” said Shelby Sim, president and CEO of Visit the Santa Ynez Valley. While the renowned wines of the region usually attract visitors to the region, the food comes second.

“Restaurant Weeks showcases our talented chefs and their diverse and inspired culinary creations in a way that is accessible to almost everyone,” noted Sim.

Carne es su Jugo, one of the appetizer options offered by Solvang’s Campo del Sol in Solvang during Restaurant Weeks. Credit: Courtesy Craft & Cluster via Visit the Santa Ynez Valley

With an abundance of imaginative local chefs, deep agricultural roots, and cuisine that ranges from contemporary to farmhouse to traditional Scandinavian feasts, the Santa Ynez Valley has earned its reputation as a culinary destination.

Five Santa Ynez Valley restaurants have earned Michelin ratings, including three that were recently added to Michelin Guide California for the first time.

Bar Le Côte in Los Olivos, Bell’s in Los Alamos and Coast Range and First & Oak, both in Solvang, are all Michelin-starred and will be participating, as will some of the Valley’s best-known restaurants, including Hitching Post 2 in Buellton. and Los Olivos Wine Merchant Café, as well as some of the hottest new dining experiences, including Campo Del Sol in Solvang and The Victor in Santa Ynez.

Nearly two dozen restaurants representing each of the valley’s six different communities — Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and Solvang — will participate.

Garagiste’s “Southern Exposure” returns to Solvang 10-11 February

America’s finest wine festival, the Garagiste Wine Festival, returns to Solvang on February 10-11, offering another round of rare access to more than 30 small-production winemakers from Santa Barbara County and the Central Coast.

Tickets are on sale now at

After returning from the pandemic with festivals in 2022, organizers have launched the Garagiste lineup for 2023, which includes Sonoma, Los Angeles and Paso Robles.

Returning to Solvang for its ninth year, Garagiste’s “Southern Exposure” will be held at the Mission-style Veterans Memorial Hall on Solvang’s Mission Drive (East Highway 246), which was named one of the United States’ “Top 10 Best-Looking Mains.” Street,” said the organizers of the event.

The upcoming event includes a Friday evening “Rare & Reserve” tasting with a traditional Santa Maria-style barbecue buffet dinner and a Saturday afternoon Grand Tasting. The event will include a silent auction offering wine packages that support the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Department of Wine and Viticulture Garagiste Festival Scholarship Fund.

Kris Beverly, owner/winemaker of Lompoc’s Civilization Wine Company, is looking forward to his debut at Solvang’s Garagiste.

“I’m most looking forward to tasting new vintages of old friends and discovering producers that would otherwise be under my radar,” he said.

Weekend pass holders will have entry to the Friday evening and Saturday events, along with Saturday lunch and a special Valentine’s treat.

Returning on Sunday, February 12th is Garagiste’s Passport Day, during which several participating wineries—including some “Garagiste Graduate” wineries that previously poured at the festival but have since grown—will offer special treats and discounts for visitors to the Garagiste festival.

A full list of participating winemakers can be found at

“This charming town has a special place in our hearts, not least because it’s the center of one of the world’s best wineries, but also because it’s a beautiful, walkable place to spend a weekend – all while tasting more more than 150 handcrafted small-batch wines and meeting their winemakers under one roof,” said Doug Minnick, co-founder of the Garagiste Festival.

Southern Exposure in Solvang kicks off the 2023 Garagiste Festival season, bringing hundreds of wine discoveries to wine lovers across California. Of the nearly 200 wineries featured in the 2022 festival, 45 were new to the festival.

In addition to Solvang, the 2023 lineup includes Garagiste ‘Northern Exposure’ in Sonoma (April 29); Garagiste ‘Urban Exposure’ in Los Angeles (June 17); and the ‘OG’ Festival in Paso Robles (November 10-11).

The Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation auction raised $815,000

The Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation announced that the 2022 Santa Barbara Wine Auction, held November 11-12 at the Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara, raised $815,000 for Direct Relief and Community Health Centers on the Central Coast.

Direct Relief, an international humanitarian organization based in Santa Barbara, is a long-standing philanthropic partner of SBVF. CHC provides medical services to the agricultural worker community in Santa Barbara County.

Proceeds will also be donated to Feed the Valley, an organization that works with local restaurants to end food insecurity for families in the Santa Ynez Valley.

“We couldn’t be more proud of our winemakers and friends who reached deep into their pockets to help our community,” said Jessica Gasca, SBVF President and Story of Soil founder/winemaker.

“Our mission is Grounded in Giving and our goal is to connect and support the vital work of Direct Relief, Community Health Centers and Feed the Valley, all of whom work tirelessly to serve this historically underserved segment of our Santa Barbara wine family.”

The auction is a marquee charity event of the SBVF. Since its inaugural gala in 2000, the event has raised more than $5.5 million for humanitarian organizations, including Direct Relief.

The top-selling auction was a gala dinner for the late Jim Clendenen, founder of Au Bon Climat Winery in Santa Maria, who was honored during the auction. Clendenen, who died suddenly in 2021, helped introduce Santa Barbara County wines to aficionados around the world.

Grassini Family Vineyards was recognized as a 2022 Vintner Honoree for its ongoing community leadership, commitment to the farming community and extensive philanthropic efforts. Since 2012, Grassini has raised more than $650,000 for charities in the region through its annual “Grassini Gives Back” program.

During the November event, Grassini CEO Katie Grassini announced that Community Health Centers would be the recipient of the 2022 Grassini Gives Back event, then matched the first $25,000 during a flash auction round called “Stand Up and Be Counted.” That round ended up raising more than $127,000, according to organizers.

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