What’s closest to IJF HQS.?
Although not an AVA, just a few blocks west of IJF Hqs. is Santa Barbara’s The Funk Zone (or just the “Zone”). It includes most of what’s called The Urban Wine Trail. Begun by hip visionaries intent on redevelopment of an old warehouse and industrial area -- bordered by the ocean and Santa Barbara’s scenic beaches and marina on the south side and the Amtrak station and Highway 101 to the north – the Funk Zone has now blossomed into the hippest area of downtown Santa Barbara. It features several wine tasting rooms and has become the center of the Santa Barbara’s “happening” music and artist scenes set among buildings decorated with graffiti murals and contemporary art pieces. Surfboard shapers, winemakers and up-and-coming chefs all practice their crafts here. You can visit art galleries, shop vintage and modern clothing and home goods, lots of fun, food and drink and enjoy a five-star dinner or a fantastic delicatessen.
For wine aficionados who don’t want to “drink and drive,” this is a perfect place to visit. You don’t have to drive there. You can get there by bicycle or a leisurely walk. There are over 20 tasting rooms featuring Santa Barbara Wines. And many the quality winemakers from the Santa Ynez Valley AVA have spoiled patrons by offering their wines and tastings in The Funk Zone without having to drive to the Valley.
My favorites on The Urban Wine Trail? Well having a millennial son who works in the region and lives a few blocks from the FUNK Zone means that we are “forced” to visit the FUNK Zone on each visit. Two of my favorites are just a few blocks north of FUNK Zone closer to where he lives. Carr Vineyards & Winery https://carrwinery.com/ and Jaffurs Wine Cellars www.jaffurswine.com. Both are great examples of simply well-made wines ... but in an active industrial area. The Carr Winery has a super delightful tasting room with entertainment from Thursday through Saturday nights. I love his Pinot Noirs, Cab Franc, Sangiovese and blend. At Jaffurs you visit where the wine is made and the tasting area is a table with a few bottles... but the wines. Known for Rhone varietals, but my favorite is its Viognier.
In the FUNK Zone itself, I recommend two wineries from the Santa Rita Hills AVA: Lafond Winery and Sanford Winery & Vineyards. Both are known for their Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Pinot Noir … and for good reason. However because both of these wineries have wonderful tasting rooms in the SR Hills that are in a beautiful country setting and well worth visiting if you choose to drive to the SRH AVA, while in the Funk Zone for something a little different you might instead want to visit Kunin Wines (Viognier, Syrah and Zinfandel) and Ca del Grevino (Pinot Noir, Grenache, Chardonnay, Syrah, Dolcetto and Riesling), a vintner with grapes from the Santa Maria AVA. Avoid the longer drive and taste it here. There are other tasting rooms in the Zone that are well worth visiting.
Here are some helpful links for more information
The Funk Zone: https://funkzone.net/map-of-the-zone/; https://santabarbaraca.com/explore-and-discover-santa-barbara/neighborhoods-towns/santa-barbara/the-funk-zone/
The Urban Wine Trail: www.urbanwinetrailsb.com; https://santabarbaraca.com/itinerary/the-urban-wine-trail/
Tip No. 3: Drive courteously and cautiously ... the “locals” do and would appreciate your driving the same way. Don’t be in a rush. This is an agricultural area and you never know when critters of all shapes and sizes may dart across the road!
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