The winery and restaurant scene in the Santa Ynez Valley seems to be busier than ever. New wineries are being built. Tasting rooms are opening and closing. Restaurants are expanding their menus and hospitality features. Here's a look at some of what's happening.
Brave & Maiden Estate has broken ground on a new winery and tasting room on Refugio Road in Santa Ynez. Utilizing natural earth tones and modern fixtures, the tasting room will incorporate indoor and outdoor space. It is being designed to showcase views of the vineyard overlooking the Santa Ynez Mountains. The tasting room will be open by appointment in the second half of 2018. Winemaking is overseen by Paul Hobbs.
Royal Oaks Winery tasting room in Solvang unexpectedly closed last month. Tastings are now being done at Roblar in Santa Ynez. Royal Oaks and Roblar are owned by Vineoaks LLC in Healdsburg. Vineoaks President Gary Hawk said the move was necessitated by the ongoing construction at The Landsby (the tasting room was part of the hotel's multibuilding complex) that made it impossible for them to "provide a safe, clean and comfortable space" for their employees and visitors. Hawk acknowledged that the landlord probably didn't know they were moving out when they did. The landlord declined to comment.
Grenache-centric Kings Carey is the latest winery on the Central Coast block. Wine is available direct-to-consumer and at several area restaurants. James Sparks is the winemaker.
The popular Italian restaurant S.Y. Kitchen, in Santa Ynez, has expanded its hours. It is now serving lunch seven days a week (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m). Lunch was previously only on weekends.
Chef Beto Huizar has introduced a new breakfast menu at Mad & Vin at The Landsby in Solvang. And plans are in the works to greatly expand the bar and lounge.
Also in Solvang, Bacon & Brine has a new cotton candy collaboration with California Spun. Two flavors are available for sale, Bacon and Salted Caramel Bacon.
Just slightly more than a year old, PICO at the Los Alamos General Store is already expanding. Chef Drew Terp is now chef/co-owner. He's joined PICO's husband and wife founders, Will Henry and Kali Kopley, as a proprietor. The restaurant has just opened an outdoors dining space. Upcoming are culinary classes and a full bar.
Also in Los Alamos, Brooke Stockwell has left her chef's position at the 1880 Union Hotel. She is now executive chef at K'Syrah Catering & Events in Solvang. Taking over as executive chef at 1880 is Jesse Brockman.
General manager and sommelier Vlad Stojanov has departed Bottlest in Buellton only a few months after the former Terravant Winery restaurant rebranded itself. Expect an announcement on his replacement in the coming weeks.