In wine speak, the cycle of life for the vine begins in the spring. The vineyard starts to come to life as bud break approaches after laying barren and dormant during the winter. It is a new beginning and a new vintage and signals a time when I am ready to explore what the vineyards have to offer. Therefore, wine lovers should consider spring travel as the ideal time to visit a wine region or a specific winery.
The smells and sounds of spring are all around in the vineyard, from the blossoming of flowers to the chirping of birds; I know this is the time for me to travel up the coast to my favorite wine regions as they beckon me to visit. Those calls are often from those wineries that practice sustainable, organic, or biodynamic farming.
Spring Travel And Down To Earth Month
Another signal of spring in California is Down To Earth Month, which celebrates California wines and wineries utilizing sustainable practices. Many wineries offer special events during April, encouraging spring travel to the wineries.
Venturing to the Central Coast
As spring comes to the vineyard, my favorite place to visit to discover the new vintage is the Central Coast. The area encompasses wine regions within Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, and San Luis Obispo County, including the Edna Valley and Paso Robles. In addition to bud break, another clue that spring has come to the vineyard is the mustard flower as it blooms in the fields adjacent to the vineyards. The rolling hills are alive with bursts of yellow, orange, and purple flowers. Between vine rows, wildflowers may bloom because they have a purpose in the regeneration of the vineyard.
Spring Travel and Picnicking In The Vineyard
In the spring, I enjoy visiting my favorite wineries with areas for picnicking in and around the vineyards. Some have lovely ponds where the wildlife engages us with their presence., This is all part of the mystique of spring travel to Central Coast wineries and vineyards.
Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard
One favorite winery to picnic and enjoy the scenery is Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard in Solvang. Buttonwood is a sustainable winery and farm. The property features a lovely pond that is ideal for picnicking. Adjacent to the winery is a farm stand where one can purchase fresh produce.
For Buttonwood, vineyard life is structured around harmony, which begins with the soil utilizing organic materials to create a healthy mineral balance. In the vineyard, Buttonwood created natural ecosystems that encourage wildlife and birds of prey to reside and keep rodents and unwanted insects, birds, and animals in control. The pond is an enticing ecosystem for ducks, turtles, and others to dwell in its natural habitat. This harmonic balance comes together in the spring as the vineyard comes to life.
One of my fond memories at Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard was the Annual Spring Vineyard Walk & Scavenger Hunt. I remember walking through the vineyards during bud break with winemaker Karen Steinwachs followed by a brunch at the pond. We were harmonizing with the vineyards and the wines on that glorious morning. This annual event signals bud break and the advent of spring.
Other Santa Barbara County wineries with Picnic Areas
Here are some other optimal areas to picnic and enjoy a glass of excellent wine.
In Lompoc along Highway 246, Melville is designed to encourage picnicking near the tasting room. Deirberg Starlane also features picnic areas set against a picturesque backdrop of the rolling hills that live behind their tasting room.
In Santa Ynez, Beckman Winery has an outdoor deck overlooking their pond. Another Santa Ynez Winery is Rusack Vineyards and Roblar Winery and Vineyards.
With springtime upon us, consider putting a visit to wine regions and wineries on your spring travel bucket list as a fully satisfying sensory experience.