Organic Wine Country Weekend in Southern California

Southern California Organic Wine Country Weekend

I've been working WAY too much this past several months, and I really needed to take a couple days off to get away and de-stress.

My husband suggested a spa weekend. I have to be honest — I don't really care much for spas. I mean, they're great… but that doesn't really float my boat.

Then it occurred to me — how about a wine country weekend? I'm a serious wine lover. And I am lucky to live in California, where we have some of the best wine in the world (seriously, our wines are up there with France, Italy and Spain).

I don't even have to fly to Napa. It's an hour drive from Los Angeles to Santa Ynez wine country just north of Santa Barbara. In fact, I almost like it better than Napa or Sonoma because it's so laid-back, with fewer tourists. People say Santa Ynez is like Napa was twenty years ago.


Ever see that movie, [easyazon-link asin=”B0007TKOAA” locale=”us”]Sideways[/easyazon-link]? (Hilarious! You gotta see it. Especially if you love wine.) It was set in Santa Ynez wine country.

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So I called up my friend Emily Bartlett of the Holistic Squid blog, and she whisked me away in her air-conditioned minivan SUV (oooh I got in trouble for that — see the comments) for two nights in wine country.

Why Organic Wine?

Of course, we didn't just hit up ANY wineries. We went organic all the way. Biodynamic, even.

Read my post on why it is so important to drink organic wine: Why I Switched to Organic Wine (& How to Buy Organic Wine).

Here are a few pictures from our trip to Southern California wine country, and some suggestions on where to find organic wineries in Southern California.


Organic Wine Country Weekend in Southern California

We arrived on a Friday evening, and headed straight for my favorite pizza place, Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos.


This is some of the best pizza on the West Coast. Of course they have a wood-burning oven. Would I recommend anything less?

They also grow much of their produce in their own organic garden.

And yeah, they have pretty much any bottle of local wine your little heart desires. Want it by the glass? Or the flight? They got that, too.

After dinner and a few glasses of wine (and yes, dessert), we headed to one of my favorite motels, The Skyview Motel. Super cheap, plenty cozy, and a 3 minute drive from Full of Life Flatbread.

If you're looking for HBO and room service, you won't find it here. But the beds are perfectly fine and they even have a pool. And did I mention it's cheap? And almost walking distance from some of the best pizza in the world? (Definitely NOT walking distance — because it's at the top of a steep hill. NOT a fun prospect after a few glasses of wine.)


The next morning, we slept in, had some coffee and relished in our girl talk, and then we ambled down the hill (via mini van, bien sur), to the stupendous Bell Street Farm for a little brunch.

Oh yes, if you make your way to Los Alamos, you simply MUST hit Bell Street Farm. I cannot sing its praises loudly enough. Just go — you will thank me.

After the brunch, we hit the tasting rooms. Cameras and pens and notepads in hand.


That's Emily at the Stolpman tasting room. Fabulous wine, and yes, organic!

Doesn't she look relaxed and happy? Way better than a spa weekend, ya'll. I'll take a good glass of wine over a massage any day of the week.


We also went to the Coquelicot tasting room. Yes, organic, and scrumptious. I love their whites.

I don't remember how many tasting rooms we visited that day. Probably 4 or 5.

The last one was Carhartt. I remember because they stayed open the latest.


Those boys know how to party. Good tunes (they take requests), fabulous wine, and good conversation.


After all the drinking, we headed to a restaurant — SORRY I don't remember the name (5 tasting rooms, okay?).

caprese tower

That's a caprese salad. Fancy, eh?

We stayed our last night in Solvang at an adorable little Danish-themed place called the Hamlet Inn. Inexpensive, super comfy, with a truly awesome hot shower. And right in the heart of things. The perfect place to make your wine-tasting headquarters.

Thanks, Emily, for a great weekend. Can we go back already?

UPDATE: We went back! Click here to read Part 2: Organic Wine Country Weekend in Southern California Part 2

Organic Wineries to Visit in Santa Ynez

Here's the list of the organic wineries we visited. I highly recommend all of the following wineries if you go to Santa Ynez:


You can sign up as a wine club member for any of these wineries and they will ship directly to you (depending on which state you are in).

Want to Take a Trip Like This?

I'm SERIOUSLY considering launching a series of trips like this. Would you be interested in joining me and some of your favorite food bloggers on culinary trips to wine country (or even abroad)? Please comment below if you are interested. I'll put you on a list to be contacted.

Find Me Online

Ann Marie Michaels

I have 25 years of experience in digital and online media & marketing. I started my career in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, working at some of the world’s top ad agencies. In 2007, after my first child was born, I started this little food blog which I grew to over 250K monthly unique website visitors and over 350K social media followers. For nearly 15 years, I've helped my audience of mostly moms and women 25-65 cook for their families and live a healthier lifestyle.

 The year after I started the blog, I founded a blog network in the health & wellness space called Village Green Network. I started the company on my coffee table and bootstrapped the business to over $1.3 million in annual revenue within 5 years. During that time, I helped a number of our bloggers become six figure earners. After being censored on almost every social media platform for telling the After being censored on almost every social media platform from Facebook and Instagram to Pinterest and Twitter, and being deplatformed on Google, I am now deployed as a digital soldier, writing almost exclusively about politics on my blog Because who can think about food when we are fighting the second revolutionary war and third world war? Don't worry, there will be more recipes one day. After the war is over.

22 thoughts on “Organic Wine Country Weekend in Southern California

    1. Yeah, ever since I had a baby, I’m partial to whites. Feels wimpy and I hate to admit it, but it’s true.

      I also cannot ride rollercoasters since I got preggo. And I have a newfound fear of heights.

      1. Yay for white wine whimps! I love white and the sweeter the better. And don’t get me near a roller coaster.
        oh, and…I LOVE my minivan! haha I held out for a long time but once I got it, I wished I had done so sooner. I’m full on soccer (and lacrosse, and volleyball and golf) mom.

  1. TAKE ME WITH YOU!!!!!!!!! Now this is the kind of blog I can wake up to on a Saturday morning. My husband, the bread making, pizza oven in the works guy is going to love this pizza photo.

  2. I would to go on trips like that. I live in Minnesota, so I would need advanced notice since I am so far away.

  3. That would be awesome!! And the opportunity to join is pretty cool too! 😀
    I’m local in Orange County, CA so I’m definitely going to have my hubby take me up to Santa Inez Valley. We were there about a year ago but unfortunately we were not real food people at the time.

    Side question, do you carry your cod liver oil in liquid or pill form when you travel? And do you bring food with you when you travel? Taking my first trip in July (to Oregon) as a real food foodie. Tips? Thank you! You are awesome! Learning so much!!!

  4. I want to come!! Sounds fun! I live in California’s most southern wine country (Temecula) but when you live here suddenly the wine tours, balloon rides and antique shopping seem so dull, so I would love a new adventure!

  5. Looks amazing! I love Santa Barbara wine country! I think culinary trips with food bloggers is a great idea. I live right near sonoma county which has some really cute little towns with awesome biodynamic wineries.

    Oh and I DO drive a minivan (and I don’t even have kids) I’m THAT hip!

  6. Thank you for this post! We love to get away up there at least twice a year and now I have new places to check out! Now I will be thinking about Full of Life all day. The last time we were there we had a homemade sausage pizza that they cracked a farm fresh egg over the top of… OMG!

  7. As long as we’re confessing….I live close (an hour) away from SYV, and haven’t been to most of those wineries. And, I do like my wine!
    Thanks for the great post and vicarious girl getaway…I would also be interested in trips…

  8. YES! Put me on that list…..I want to go! Sounds like a perfect day! Food, wine, good people…what could be better in life???

  9. Several comments:
    ~The pizza photo almost made me cry.
    ~I’d love to go on a winery tour at your end of the country…Actually, I did about a year ago…a mini-one near NAPA Valley, but not quite that far up. I thought I’d seen beautiful countryside until I went there…surreal! Still, you might want to try a wine-tasting trip here in VA…(hint-hint) Monticello area (Charlottesville) has some great ones and the area is lovely.
    ~A new friend and I conversed 2 days ago. She told me that after swearing off real blogs, she stumbled upon this one that was really great…The lady who wrote it was real and not stuffy and didn’t condemn all foods, (like cotton candy). I asked her who it was and low and behold, it was YOU! 🙂 (You also ‘happen’ to be the first site on my site’s link list.) She and I are even better friends now because we’re obviously so like-minded.

  10. I want to go! I love your blog- I am a new reader and I didn’t know you live in CA! I live in San Diego. That wine weekend looks AH mazing. Oh and thank you so much also for leading people to Matt Stone- his ideas have really helped me a lot, too. My body temperature has come from low 97s to 98s and even low 99s in just a few weeks 🙂 Thanks for all you do!

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