I’ve been to California several times–five times in fact. And only during this last trip did I have the chance to go check out California wine country. Took me long enough…
For an East Coast girl, visiting the West Coast, particularly California is slightly like visiting another country.
Let me explain.
Of course we’re all Americans–it’s nothing like that (though Cali does have it’s own unique vibe). But when you come from a coast that is made of many states, including the 13 original colonies, and then go to the other side, where it’s 3 states that take up the whole of the other coast, you don’t realize how far away things can be, even within the same state.
So while I was recently out in LA visiting my friend Melissa, we decided to take advantage of the great weather on Saturday and road trip it north. Originally that plan included Big Sur, with its epic views of the coast. Me with my east coast mindset and Melissa not being a Cali native both thought this was a good idea…until we realized what we thought was a fairly quick road trip was actually going to take us about 6 hours one way. Ha! Time for Plan B…
I had heard of a few different, more accessible areas for great wine tasting–Santa Barbara or a bit north in Lompoc. So I turned to Google and Yelp to help us make a decision on where to go.
Let me just say, if something has a very clever name and has really good reviews, that’s all I need. So with that in mind, when I saw “Wine Ghetto” listed in Lompoc, CA, I was sold. I mean, come on, WINE GHETTO!
Let me also just say that when you’re so blinded by the coolness of the name, make sure to continue to read the details and check out photos, just so you know what you’re going to pull up to after over 2 hours of driving in traffic…
Should’ve known the ghetto wasn’t going to look like this:
Okay! Okay! Despite the oversight on just what this Wine Ghetto would look like, they did have fantastic ratings on Yelp, and Melissa and I enjoyed tastings from a couple of places, specifically Jalama Wines and Flying Goat Cellars. Jalama specialized in red wine, so ideal for the dryer variety. It was a very chill atmosphere with no rush to get through the tasting, while a few pooches lay napping on the floor completely oblivious to the visiting winos. At Flying Goat, we opted for their sparking wine flight, which was a fun contrast to the previous tasting.
We soon realized that in our mission to get to the ghetto, we lost time with traffic and were determined to have a wine tasting at a winery with actual fields of grapes. And so we found ourselves at Babcock Winery & Vineyards (Keyword: Vineyards).
A little about our quick stop at Babcock: It was just a short drive from the ghetto and the tasting room was not only spacious, but also had a fun, rustic ambience. Our sommelier was a very nice, very handsome gentleman, of whom I cannot remember his name. (Let’s blame that on this being my third round of wine tasting for the day.) And with this being our third tasting in a row, it was also our last stop in our wine excursion.
Hey, the Wine Ghetto may not have exactly been what we anticipated, but there was still a road trip to be had, an 80s playlist to be listened to, and good wine to be savored. We just know now to take heed when you’re planning to visit a ghetto, even one of the wine variety. 😉