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spacer.gif^ Livermore, CA | Paso Robles, CA | San Luis Obispo, CA | Santa Barbara, CA | OREGON       >> Tasting Dispatches
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TOP WINERIES
(Quality & Experience)
  • Alma Rosa
  • Ampelos Cellars
  • Beckmen Vineyards
  • Core Wines
  • Flying Goat Cellars
  • Fiddlehead Cellars
  • Jaffurs Wine Cellars
  • Kaena
  • Ken Brown
  • Lafond Winery
  • Melville Vineyards
  • Municipal Winemakers
  • Palmina Winery
  • Qupé
  • Saarloos and Sons
  • Samsara
  • Sans Liege
  • Stolpman Vineyards
  • Summerland Winery
  • Tensley
  • Tercero Wines
  • Zaca Mesa Winery

  • *These are my current choices after many, many trips and are weighed on the quality of the wines vs. the price, as well as tasting experience.


    GET MORE INFO


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    Here you'll find a list of area wineries that I've been to in the last year. The KEY to the symbols in each review can be found below. This is not a comprehensive list. I have visited almost every winery in the region, but am trying to keep my reviews as current and accurate as possible. Will be revisting many over the next few months so check back for additions. My focus is on the smaller producers and finding hidden gems. Anyone you can buy in your grocery store will generally not be represented here. For the record, SIDEWAYS, while bringing attention to the region, has ruined it for the real wine lover. The drunks outnumber the tasters and the prices are not what they should be. There is great wine being made here, it just takes a lot more effort to find. Most tasting fees start at $10 so bring a lot of cash.

    DISCLAIMER: I do not tell anyone I have my own website and am reviewing their winery. I want to get the true experience of a place and their wines. Granted my knowledge may get me special treatment, but that's mostly because I show interest. Show you care, they may as well.


    EXPLANATION OF SYMBOLS:
    Type (of Tasting Room): R=Rustic, A=Average, F=Fancy
    Size (of Tasting Room): S=Small <10ppl), M=Medium (10-20ppl), L=Large (20+)
    Price (of Wines on Average): $=Under $22, $$=22-32, $$$=32-45, $$$$=45+
    W-Rating (Quality of Wines): Drinkable, Enjoyable, Very Good, Great
    E-Rating (Tasting Room Experience): Rude, Hit/Miss, Ordinary, Friendly, Fun
    Name: Links to Winery Website


    Alexander & WayneOpen Daily – TF: $5
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    A M $$ Enjoyable Friendly Bordeaux
    Established: 1992 Location: Los Olivos 2500 Cases
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    Alma Rosa WineryOpen Daily – TF: $10
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    A S $$ Very Good Friendly Chard/Pinot Noir
    Established: 2005 Location: Santa Rosa Rd. 17000 Cases
    Read more detailed report
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    Alta Maria VineyardsOpen Daily – TF: $10
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    A M $$$ Very Good Friendly Rhones/Pinot
    Established: 2004 Location: Los Olivos (?) Cases
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    ampelos cellarsOpen Sa & Sun – TF: $10
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    A S $$$ Very Good Friendly Rhones/Pinot
    Established: 2004 Location: Lompoc 3500 Cases
    Read more detailed report
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    Andrew Murray VineyardsOpen Daily – TF: $10
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    A S $$$ Very Good Ordinary Rhone
    Established: 1990 Location: Los Olivos 9000 Cases
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    Arthur EarlOpen Daily – TF: $5
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    A S $ Enjoyable Friendly Rhones/Italian
    Established: 1996 Location: Los Olivos 2000 Cases
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    Beckmen VineyardsOpen Daily – TF: $10
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    A M $$$ Great Friendly Rhones/Cab
    Established: 1994 Location: Ballard 17,000 Cases
    Picnic Area
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    Bedford Thompson WineryOpen Daily – TF: $5
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    R S $$ Very Good Friendly Rhones
    Established: 1994 Location: Los Alamos 7000 Cases
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    Blackjack RanchOpen Daily – TF: $12
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    A M $$$$ Enjoyable Ordinary Rhones/Bordeaux
    Established: 1997 Location: Alamo Pintado Rd. 9000 Cases
    Read more detailed report
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    Blair Fox CellarsOpen Sat-Su – TF: $12
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    A S $$$ Very Good Friendly Rhones
    Established: 2001 Location: Los Olivos 1000 Cases
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    The Brander VineyardOpen Daily – TF: $8
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    A M $$ Enjoyable Ordinary Sauvignon Blanc
    Established: 1977 Location: Santa Ynez 10,000 Cases
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    Bridlewood WineryOpen Daily – TF: $10
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    F L $$ Very Good Friendly Rhones/Bordeaux
    Established: 1998 Location: Santa Ynez 40,000 Cases
    Gourmet Food on-site/Picnic Area/Tours
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    Buttonwood Farm WineryOpen Daily – TF: $10
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    A M $$ Enjoyable Ordinary Rhones/Bordeaux
    Established: 1989 Location: Alamo Pintado Rd. 8000 Cases
    Read more detailed report
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    Carhartt VineyardOpen Th-Tu – TF: $10
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    R S $$ Drinkable Friendly Rhones
    Established: 1998 Location: Los Olivos 2000 Cases
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    Carina CellarsOpen Daily – TF: $10
    Type Size Price W-Rating E-Rating Specialties
    A M $$$ Very Good Hit/Miss Rhones
    Established: 2004 Location: Los Olivos 3000 Cases

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