This week saw the beginning of the 2018 harvest here in the Santa Ynez Valley. Normally the white grapes come in earlier than the later ripening red grapes, but some sparkling wine producers have also started to harvest some pinot noir black grapes for their low sugar and crisp acidity. Likewise some have begun to harvest black grapes for their rose wines. On the whole however, these coming weeks will be mostly white grape harvesting. This is the best time of year from now through to mid-October to visit us in the Santa Ynez Valley to get a glimpse how wine is made. Due to the coastal morning fog and the daytime high temperatures, most winemakers prefer to harvest their grapes either at night or very early in the morning. This cooler time of day helps to keep the fruit fresh and cold. After picking, the grapes are taken to the winery where they will be pressed to squeeze the juice out of the skins and then the fermentation process will begin for the clean crisp white wines like riesling, pinot blanc, sauvignon blanc and chardonnay.
Stagecoach Midweek Wine Tours
When most people think about planning a Santa Barbara Wine Country getaway, they think of planning their wine tours for long weekends or holidays. But the experienced traveler will recognize that often, the very best wine tour experience in Santa Barbara County can be found Midweek – particularly in the summer months. Wine Lovers from around the world flock to Santa Barbara Wine Country during this peak season, making for busy weekends here in the Santa Ynez Valley.
If you seek an even more relaxed wine country experience, joining us for a wine tour Monday through Friday has many benefits:
- Like most hotels in Santa Barbara County, we offer a Midweek Special rate for all of our Wine Lovers tours. We are also offering a Summer Special you won’t want to miss!
- The wineries here in the Santa Ynez Valley are less busy Monday through Friday. This allows for each winery’s staff to give our wine tour clients an even more personalized experience.
- Santa Barbara Wine Country is an exceptionally beautiful place – especially when there is no traffic! Fewer tourists during the week creates a more leisurely, unhurried atmosphere for all of our guests.
- All of this means more time among the vines, enjoying all that Santa Barbara Wine Country has to offer!
If your schedule allows, we highly recommend a Midweek Wine Tour this summer. Feel free to give us a call or check our availability online, anytime. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Andrew Murray Vineyards/Wineries
One of the great privileges of conducting wine tours in Santa Ynez Valley is to visit and present a winery that is both a fine representation of our contemporary wine country but also an important part of its history. No winery fits this description better than Andrew Murray Vineyards on the Curtis Estate.
Winemaker Andrew Murray specializes in the wines of Rhone River Valley in the south of France, practicing his art in Santa Ynez Valley for more than 20 years. While he sources fruit from vineyards in Los Alamos and other subregions of the valley, he has since 2014 been based at the Curtis Estate, a vineyard of over 100 acres that was formerly the Firestone family’s Curtis Winery, a leading name in regional Rhone wines. Here, Andrew Murray has enhanced his international reputation as a craftsman of Rhone wines.
On the Curtis Estate, the Andrew Murray organization presents refreshing white wines such as Grenache Blanc and their Enchante, a crafted blend of Grenache Blanc and Rousanne. Single-varietal Grenache and Mouvedre are among the fine wines to be found here that you’d struggle to find in the hundreds of wineries in Napa, yet Andrew Murray’s several Syrah offerings are his best known.
But, now at the beginning of summer, nothing beats the Esperance Rose, a Cinsault-based classic to rival the best of Provence. On a Stagecoach wine tour you’ll enjoy the presentation of this and other excellent Andrew Murray wines by their exceptional hospitality staff, people who receive regular education and training by Andrew and his oenologist, McKenna, and look forward to sharing the joy of their vineyard’s fruit with you!