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JCNA InIJF Logoternational Jaguar Festival 2018 - Santa Barbara, California
October 31st - November 4th 

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Los Olivos District … What are olives doing in wine country?

The Mediterranean climate of Santa Barbara County and much of California is as conducive to growing wine as growing olives … much like Spain, Italy and other countries along the Mediterranean.  The Los Olivos AVA is an area where ancient rivers deposited loose soil, rocks and other sediment between the Purisima Hills above Solvang and the western flank of the Happy Canyon area.  It has a relatively uniform topography (generally flat), geology and soil profile.  It is bounded by the townships of Ballard, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos,[1] and Solvang.  This is an area surrounded by vineyards, fruit orchards and horse farms. Grapes grown in the area include principally the Bordeaux varietals (Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot) and Rhone varietals (Syrah and Grenache), with some Italian and Spanish varietals.   
      

What do I recommend in the Los Olivos AVA area?  The charming town of Los Olivos – with a towering flagpole in the middle of a small roundabout as its main intersection – is home to over 30 wine tasting rooms.  Why not minimize your driving by parking in the area and walking to your wine tastings?  In town, in addition to Coquelicot https://www.coquelicotwines.com/ , I recommend Qupè http://www.qupe.com/, Stolpman http://www.stolpmanvineyards.com/ , Andrew Murray Vineyards http://andrewmurrayvineyards.com/ , Bien Nacido www.biennacidovineyards.com/, Nielsen by Byron http://www.nielsonwines.com/ and Blair Fox Cellars www.blairfoxcellars.com/.  Outside of the town of Los Olivos itself, I very highly recommend Blackjack Ranch (Robert Parker calls Blackjack “… the premier producer of Bordeaux varietals on the Central Coast”) https://www.blackjackranch.com/ and Rideau, specializing in Rhone varietals https://rideauvineyard.com/ .  And if you didn’t visit Carr Vineyards & Winery in The Urban Wine Trail, then by all means visit Carr in the town of Santa Ynez. 

Tip No. 4: Be sure to check online for the days and hours of operation for the wineries/tasting rooms you want to visit.  Also, some may require advance reservations for larger groups and some may have tastings by appointment only. 

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[1] Los Olivos will be the site of a special outdoor dining and wine tasting experience at the Coquelicot Tasting Room and Gardens on Saturday November 4th.  See the details in Special Events.