Frequently Asked Questions
How are we different and what sets us apart?
- Our most popular “Wine Lovers Tour” we focus primarily on small groups (no more than 12 guests per vehicle). This enables us to focus on more boutique style wineries.
- We choose locations with premium wines, excellent customer service, and a beautiful unique atmosphere. Customer feedback is #1 one factor. Locations are selected based on routes that make sense taking in to account pick-up locations and driving time.
- Our tour hosts have extensive wine experience and they are extremely knowledgeable of the local area, they are also our close friends and family. We require them to have their first level certification from The Court of Master Sommeliers.
- We provide a delicious picnic lunch made by a local catering company, organic as possible, sourced locally and made fresh.
- We are a professional tour company with over 15 years experience. We create structured tours and interact with our guests to provide amazing experiences in wine country! We are not a limo company and we are not just drivers.
- We are all extremely passionate about wine and the Santa Barbara wine industry!
- We are 100% focused on wine tours, this is our expertise. We do not offer other types of tours or excursions.
- We are #1 on TripAdvisor! We are the best! See our reviews!
How many locations do you go to?
We go to 4 locations on a Wine Lovers Tour. A sample winery, cellar, tasting room list is on our wineries page. Larger groups (13+) generally visit 3 locations (sometimes 4). We do not like to rush our customers, these groups take more time loading, unloading, purchasing, etc. On Private Tours more wineries can be requested but may incur additional fees.
Some Private Premium Tours only allow time for 3 locations due to the length of these amazing experiences.
Do you choose the locations?
Yes, on our Wine Lovers Tour. For private tours we customize based on your level of sophistication. Again, trust us, we’ve done this before! Check out a sample winery/location list is on our tours wineries page.
How do you choose the locations?
Based on 18+ years expertise and two main reasons; Customer feedback has been the number one driver to help us choose our wineries. Secondly, things change year-over-year in wine country and we adapt to best accommodate our customers and make sure they receive the very best wine tours possible. Your experience is our top priority.
Do we have to buy wine?
We never force you to buy wine but etiquette suggests that you should consider purchases. One bottle per person per location makes the wineries happy. Wineries are in the business to sell wine. Look for discounts, wine clubs, and specials. Always remember, wine makes the perfect gift for a special occasion, anniversary, birthday present, special dinner guests, or your boss that loves good wine!
What vehicles do you use?
For our Wine Lovers Tour we use either a Mercedes Sprinter van or a Suburban, with 12 people max. Our vehicles are spotlessly cleaned and maintained daily! For private wine tours we have Sprinters and Suburbans. Larger private groups use 13 pax Mercedes Van, our 24 pax mini-coaches, or 47-55 pax coaches. Check out our vehicles page.
How long is the wine tour?
The typical tour lasts about 5 1/2 Hours. Driving time from Santa Barbara area adds about 45 minutes to 1 hour each way if you originate there. Los Alamos, Santa Maria and Lompoc areas add about 20-30 minutes each way.
What time do the tours start?
Wine Lovers Tours start at between 9:45 – 10:20am from Santa Barbara, 10:45 – 11:15am from the Santa Ynez Valley area, and 10:20 – 30am form Santa Maria, Los Alamos, or Lompoc. Private tours are more flexible as it is your day, but leaving later or coming back early may limit your possibilities.
How much do the wineries/locations charge for tasting fees?
All tasting fees are included in our tour prices. Each winery/location charges between $15-$25 per person.
Do you offer group discounts?
Group discounts don’t apply in the wine industry. As a rule of thumb, wineries charge more for groups of 10+. However, do not let this intimidate you, contact us for pricing with any size group.
Where do we go to meet the tour?
We come to you. We offer service from hotels and private residences all over the Santa Barbara area and the Santa Ynez Valley. We can also pick you up at the Santa Barbara Visitor Center, 1 Garden St Santa Barbara, CA 93101(map), the Santa Barbara Train Station, 209 State St Santa Barbara, CA 93101(map), or the Solvang Visitor Center,1639 Copenhagen Dr Solvang, CA 93463(map), all have plenty of daytime parking if you are not staying in the area.
Is gratuity Included?
We add 15% gratuity (billed to your CC if you are paying that way), 12% goes to the tour host and 3% to the administrative staff. We are confident that our team works very hard, we guarantee gratuity because we believe in them. In fact, many times our tour hosts receive above 15% because our guests think they did a magnificent job. You’ll see, give us a shot! Remember our team are not just drivers anyone can drive people around. We have the most highly trained staff in the industry, we set the bar.
How many wines will we taste?
Each winery is different but on average you taste 1 ounce of each wine they have to offer, Most wineries serve between 4 – 8 wines per flight. On the average tour you will imbibe approximately a bottle and a half of wine if you choose not to dump or spit. With that being said, we encourage you to have a good solid breakfast before the tour and recommend going easy the night before.
What time is lunch served?
We typically serve lunch at the 2nd or 3rd stop. This is usually 12:30pm or 1:30pm respectively.