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The 3 best guided wine tour businesses in Santa Barbara

13 Sep 2013 5:15 PM
A new addition to Santa Fe's vineyard scene

Often regarded as a gateway to California's wine country, Santa Barbara offers oenophiles many opportunities to nurture their appreciation of the carefully crafted beverage.

In addition to miles of coastline and high-end shopping, those spending time in this picturesque area of the Golden State can enjoy participating in a number of luxurious vineyard tours, and sampling countless blends of locally-produced wines. Recently, some regional businesses specializing in this service were recognized by USA Today as the best in the area.

While owners of upscale Santa Barbara real estate can regularly take advantage of these companies' offerings, those visiting the city for a short time would be remiss if they neglect to experience at least one of the following three excursions:

Wine Canyon Tours
Boasting a multitude of daily and specialized tours, this business caters to serious wine lovers, affording them access to exclusive vineyards, cellars and barrel rooms in Santa Barbara. Founded by Rick Reeves, a fellow oenophile and vineyard owner, the company transports patrons to a handful of wineries in a luxurious Mercedes-Benz bus with seating for 10, and provides them with a gourmet meal in a breath-taking setting. The guides all have expert knowledge of the area and its bounty, and add to the trip's entertainment.

Hummingbird Wine Tours
Those wine connoisseurs who are interested in gaining insight into how the region's topography and climate affects growing grapes and fermenting blends can enjoy taking a tour with this Santa Barbara business. Clients are able to customize their experiences, choosing which vineyards they would like to visit and at what time of day - as evening excursions are also available. A convertible, bio-diesel fueled Hummer transports tasters along the area's back roads to four different wineries, and also stops for a picnic lunch.

Sustainable Vine Wine Tours
Those individuals who enjoy learning about sustainable, environmentally-friendly wine making practices - as well as tasting unique organic blends - typically patronize this business. Offering door-to-door transportation and a picnic brunch, lunch or dinner, these winery tours include three stops for tasting which double as educational experiences. Guides and producers describe the special approaches that each vineyard employs to make wine with a smaller carbon footprint.