If you’ve never been to Santa Barbara wine country, you are missing out. It has all the amazing wine of somewhere like Napa or Sonoma, but with better prices and without all the crowds. Go watch “Sideways” and tell me you don’t want to hop on a plane to California’s central coast, I dare you.
7600 & 7200 Foxen Canyon Road
Santa Maria, CA 93454
Foxen was one of the first wineries I ever visited in the Santa Maria Valley. My partner and I have visited so many times, most of the staff knows us by name and we have a wine club membership there. They have such a great variety of really fantastic wine, you’d be silly not to pay them a visit.
Foxen actually has two tasting rooms (so twice as much wine!). Both are about 12 miles down on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail (where you could spend all day tasting amazing wine) and since they are just down the road from one another, you have no excuse not to stop in at both. At the main tasting room you get to try some of the central coast’s most famous varietals- Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Chardonnay. Head on down to Foxen 7200 (or “The Shack” as it’s called) to try some Italian varietals, ports, and some fantastic Bordeaux style blends. A $10 tasting gets you a flight of 6 at each tasting room, so it’s a steal as well.
Foxen really shines when it comes to Pinot Noirs. They occasionally do Pinot Noir flights, highlighting different blocks and vineyards, and each is unique, complex, and just plain good (make sure you try the Julia’s Vineyard). One of my personal favorite wines is their Chenin Blanc, which is a great Chardonnay alternative since it has some barrel aging and it full of rich cream and butter. It is hands down one of my favorite white wines, as it’s extremely food friendly but stands alone well. If you make it to the tasting room in the summer, make sure you pick a bottle of the Rosé of Mourvedre. It’s perfect for sipping on a hot day or paired with a light snack.
Head on over to The Shack to try their Guillermo Grosso- a 50/50 of Cabernet and Sangiovese blend. If you like big, herbacious food wines, this one is for you. Their Cabernet Franc is also an excellent example of the varietal and just really, really tasty.
Not only does Foxen has fantastic wines, but they know how to have fun! They frequently host dining events both on and off their grounds and have quarterly pick up parties for wine club members. They also frequently do specialty tasting events such as their Roots Tastings where you can try some of their older and vintages (they’ve aged perfectly by the way). They also have a host of adorable winery cats and dogs, some of which are very friendly and snuggly, so you might make a new friend!
All in all, Foxen is a standout winery in the Santa Maria Valley. Whether you like delicate Pinots, robust Syrahs or, you know, wine– Foxen deserves a visit (or three!) The staff is knowledge and extremely friendly, and the wine is delicious to boot! What more could you want in a tasting experience?