Friday, February 1, 2013

Girls Weekend 2013, A Santa Ynez Valley Wine Tour Review

Last month, we headed to Solvang for our Annual Girls' Weekend.  Best Friend Swagger's Daddy-o was kind enough to take care of our accomodations for us, and we stayed in the largest wonderful room.  It was so much fun, and we're already looking forward to next year!  Currently, the possible location list is up to: Palm Springs (round deux), and Big Bear.  Do we want to escape the winter to sunny PS or settle into it in snowy BB?  Only time will tell!

The first view of our room.  Amazeballs.

Our kitchen, larger that the one I have at home.

Fold out couch that somehow managed to fit myself, Cute Apartment, Dimples and Swagger while we watched a movie Saturday night.  Fashionista kept her sickly germs to herself over on the chair.

Well that's not too bad for five girls for a weekend away, right?  Oh wait, this is just mine and Cute Apartment's stuff...

Cute Apartment and I shared the room with two little beds.

Just a glamour shot of some fake flowers to start the weekend off right.

Cute Apartment sewing my dress together so I didn't end up with a wine tour wardrobe malfunction.

Friday night was spent (before the LA ladies' arrival) with some major girl talk and wine drinking being done by Cute Apartment and myself.  After Dimples, Swaggs and Fashion showed up, we tried to peer pressure them into getting drunk with us, but alas they just sipped.

Saturday morning was met with some sad news before we even popped champage: Fashionista was sick!  It was the worst timing, and poor girl was feeling rough.  She was a tropper and tried to join us for the wine tour, but just couldn't make it and unfortunately had to head home early.  Such a bummer.  For her, because she missed out on super yummy wine and fun times.  And for us, because we missed out on her company.  

Starting off Saturday morning with some mimosas.

Note the Advil bottle in the background.  Necessary.

After some mimosas and some ineffective Pepto Bismol (for Fashion), we were picked up for our wine tour.  I cannot say enough good things about The Grapeline Wine Country Shuttle.  Our tour guide's name was Kris, and she was fanstastic.  Truly, the entire day was wonderful - and incredibly reasonably priced in my opinion!  Our total was $109/person, but it included tastings at four different wineries (at least 6 tastings at each one, more at some), lunch, and transportation with a pick-up and drop-off at your hotel.  If you are looking to do a wine tour in the Paso Robles, Santa Barbara (this is where Solvang is considered), San Luis Obispo or Temecula area, do yourself a favor and book with The Grapeline.  Cute Apartment and I are even considering a sequel wine tour in March, but this time in Temecula! 

Our favorite wine tour guide ever, Billy, showing us all about how wine is made at the Curtis Winery.  My one suggestion for this fantastic winery? Start with the tour first, because CA and I were drunk and obnoxious the whole time after eight tastings...lightweights.


Not the best photo, though I do think you can tell who the two drunk ones are.  Had to include it though since we got a quick shot with sicky Fashionista before she headed back to the hotel.

Dimples and Cute Apartment before starting our tasting at our second winery.

We were so lucky with the weather over our weekend away.  It had been really cold (for Southern California, at least) the weeks prior, but we lucked out and had temperatures in the mid seventies all weekend.  See that sunny sky in the background on the above photo?  Gorgeous.

All of us getting our drank on at Brander Winery.

Swagger and myself.

Right around this time, at Brander, is where I broke a wine glass.  I'll admit that I was a little tipsy, but truly it was an accident.  The one complaint about Brander?  The attitude little miss wine pourer had about it.  You work at an effing winery, am I really to believe I'm the first drunk asshole to knock over a wine glass?  Moving on.

Brander is also where we had our amazing lunch.  The lunch was included in the cost of our tour, and it was incredible.  It was provided by Pannino, where we happened to go back to the next day before we left town.  Because that's how good their sandwiches are.

Stopping for a group shot before we left Brander.

After Brander, we headed to Blackjack Ranch, and if I'm being honest?  They were awful.  Our host was so incredibly rude, she sort of ruined it for us at that stop.  However, we did make friends with some fun and gorgeous female attorneys from our area when we bonded over the bitch rude lady pouring. 

When we left Blackjack, we sadly headed to our last winery of the day.  At Koehler Winery, we were greeted by some a pretty arch (perfect for a photo opp, what what!) and some gorgeous vineyards we got to prance around in before our tasting began. 

Lovin' Life out in the vines

After our mini photoshoot, we headed to the outdoor tasting area and had Dan as our host, who was a total treat - especially after the nasty ladies at Blackjack Ranch.  Dan was funny, kind, and relaxed, it was a great place to end the day.  We got our last few sips in, bought a few bottles of the good stuff, and got on the bus to head back to our hotel.

Before we made it all the way to our hotel though, our new friend (who just so happens to be a news anchor for Fox in the Bakersfield area - Rob Finnerty, what what) wanted to stop in front of The Hitching Post restaurant, which is featured in the movie Sideways.  We made our way back to The Hitching Post later that night for dinner, but I think that is another story for another day.

We made our way back to the hotel, checked on our little Fashionista (who was still feel yucky, poor thing!), and ate way too much Mexican layer dip (like way too much).  We also noticed the sweetest little note on our box full of goodies from Kris, our Grapeline Wine Shuttle tour guide.

After some impromptu naps (and a little True Life: I'm a Surrogate watching done by Cute Apartment and myself), we scurried to get ready for dinner.  In our rush to get ready on time for our reservations (for the oh-so-exclusive Hitching Post), we managed to forgot the following:
1. To take a single photo of us all dressed up and cute (though, to be honest, I looked a little haggard due to the whole drinking wine for 5 hours and unplanned nap time).

2. That we were not even hungry, and most of us actually didn't feel too hot (also probably due to the whole drinking wine for 5 hours).

3. We weren't drunk, so we didn't need to call a cab.
But alas, we did not remember the aforementioned, and we rushed to get dressed, call a cab, and head to the restaurant.  I don't think we quite realized how hungover we were until we were at the restaurant, and when we did?  There was no way we were going eat our $40 steaks that we ordered seconds after sitting down.  This whole shebang was one of the dumber things I've done as of late, but it made for some really good laughs at the dinner table as we tried (and failed) to choke down our food.
After hightailing it out of The HP with a bag full of quite expensive steaks (and salmon for red-meat-avoider Swagger), we rented Sideways to truly experience Solvang from the comfort of our own couch.  Except for the fact that there were four of us on the couch, and it was not so comfortable.  The movie was...interesting.  And if we're being honest, I didn't make it all the way through, and headed to bed before seeing the end. 
The next morning we awoke feeling refreshed, and hangover free!, and after cleaning up our room a bit, we checked out of our lovely hotel and headed into town (a whopping mile or so from our hotel) to do a little sight-seeing, grab some lunch, snap a photo, and hit the road. 

Swagger is always on the lookout for a new pair of shoes.

All in all, it was a wondeful weekend with wonderful ladies.  I wish BF Fashionista had been feeling better, as I know she would have had so much fun on Saturday with us.  Now time to brainstorm for next year!
Have you ever gone on a Girls' Trip?


Life With Lauren said...

Looks like you had a wonderful girls trip! Love the wine signs you all have!

Brittany M. said...

Love every part of this. The Grapeline tour sounds really fun; I always wanted to do a tour because I'm a LIGHTWEIGHT and feel bad getting draaaank in front of my driving friend... Anyway. LOVE that Panino is part of the tour (I work like two minutes away from the one in Montecito, it's dangerous), and Yay for the Hitching post! Their potatoes are BOMB. Anyway. Glad you guys had fun!

Shellsea said...

Beautiful Photos! Looks like a really fun time :) You ladies all look lovely!

Jessica Gehman said...

Looks like so much fun - and the bus is the greatest idea ever! Hubby and I did a wine tour in NY for our anniversary and it was really hard to find a balance between enjoying ourselves and knowing someone had to drive at the end of the day!

You all look great in the photos though, and I was cracking up at the photo shoot with the grape vines!

Corey Glenn said...

If I’d be staying in a place like that, I would probably have an amazing party and time with my family. Aww, I felt bad about “Fashionista” since she wasn’t able to taste some mouth watering wines in the winery. You girls got really cute names for each other, so what do the ladies call you?

~Corey Glenn

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dolly jenny said...

Great blog! The information you provide is quiet helpful. Welcome to Vineyard Limousine and Wine Tours. Temecula Wine Tours. We offer 4 Winery Stops for $35. We are experts in providing wine tasting tours of the Temecula Valley.

Kristin H said...

Looks like fun! Thank you for sharing! I am heading there with 8 of my girlfriends for my birthday. I am looking into some of the wineries you mentioned! Do you recommend any restaurants? Thanks!


Kristin H said...

Looks like fun! Thank you for sharing! I am heading there with 8 of my girlfriends for my birthday. I am looking into some of the wineries you mentioned! Do you recommend any restaurants? Thanks!


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