Having been approached, by members of the Santa Maria Valley tourism group to write an article for Grape Experiences, I’m delighted to share the following guest post. I encourage you to visit this beautiful wine region, one that I’ve explored and appreciated. Read on…
Here’s yet another great reason to raise your glass: the all-new Santa Maria Valley wine trolley has rolled into town. Now, you can explore this stunning wine region in a completely different way.
The Adventure Begins in the Santa Maria Valley
Wine aficionados can explore the meandering roads and the medley of vines via the wine trolley that boasts a old fashioned trolley bell! Hop on the trolley anytime on Saturdays and Sundays from May to September from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PST) starting at Town Center West; the route takes approximately 75 minutes. The wine trolley also runs one additional route from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., but excludes Cottonwood Canyon and Presqu’ile wineries.
- Town Center West near the pedestrian bridge (downtown Santa Maria on S. Broadway)
- Costa de Oro Winery
- Cottonwood Canyon Vineyard & Winery
- Presqu’ile Winery
- Old Town Orcutt – Old Town Market
- Old Town Orcutt – Rooney’s Irish Pub
What’s not to love about the cost of only $10 per person in advance (and $18 per person at the Trolley) and step on/step off convenience? Tickets for the Santa Maria Trolley transportation can be purchased at:
Ca’Del Grevino Wine & Café Bar
400 E. Clark Ave., Old Orcutt
105 W. Clark Ave., Old Orcutt
Costa de Oro Winery
1331 S. Nicholson Ave., Santa Maria
Cottonwood Canyon Winery
3940 Dominion Rd., Santa Maria
Nagy Wine Tasting Room
145 S. Gary St., Ste. 103, Old Orcutt
Old Town Market
405 E. Clark Ave., Old Orcutt
Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce
Visitor & Convention Bureau
614 S. Broadway, Santa Maria
Please visit the Santa Maria Valley website for more details.
Why Visit the Santa Maria Valley?
The Central Coast’s most historic wines live in the Santa Maria Valley, an area with 34 wineries or tasting rooms for wine lovers to discover. The Santa Maria Valley is the second-oldest American Viticultural Area (AVA) in California and is one of six federally recognized AVAs in Santa Barbara County.
The Santa Maria Valley is also one of the most agriculturally diverse regions in the United States, with a wealth of fruits and vegetables grown on the valley floor and vineyards hugging the hillsides. It’s a place where flavor runs rampant and taste buds can indulge – what we serve is grown, cooked and corked right here.
The Santa Maria Valley has one of California’s longest growing seasons and a truly rare transverse geography resulting in the development of complex, flavorful and balanced grapes. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah are our specialties. These are composed of well-drained soils that also contribute to exceptional fruit intensity and flavor concentration. The Travel Channel named it one of The New Top 10 Cities for Wine Snobs. A list and map of Santa Maria Valley wineries can be found here.
Probably one of best kept secrets about the wine region is that it is not unusual to meet directly with the owners and winemakers themselves. Friendly faces are as abundant as the grapes in the Valley. Each experience is unique and personable, and visitors will walk away with a little bit of history, more knowledge, and a new appreciation for the wines – all in an inviting and unpretentious environment.
After the wine-tasting fun, a perfect complement to Santa Maria Valley wines is the 150-year-old tradition of Santa Maria-style barbecue, which centers around beef tri-tip or top sirloin combined with a simple seasoning, grilled over native red-oak wood. Traditional accompaniments include pinquito beans, fresh salsa, tossed green salad and grilled French bread dipped in melted butter.
There are plenty of places to stay in the Santa Maria Valley and the surrounding area. Typically, hotel rates are more affordable than some of the more known spots, with sights and areas of interest are all within a relatively short drive’s distance.
If you’re looking for a “Grape Experience,” there’s no better place than exploring the Santa Maria Valley via wine trolley. We encourage you to consider it for your next swirl and savor destination. Eat, drink and do more here – that’s the Santa Maria Valley way.
Cheers! ~ Cindy