New Animal Lovers Wine Tasting Tour in Santa Ynez Valley

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Grapeline© launches a new private wine tour featuring the animals of the Central Coast including a zonkey at Seein’ Spots Farm and alpacas at West Ranch.

The Santa Ynez Valley, the wine growing region located just over the hills from Santa Barbara, is well known for its wine production and beautiful scenery, and tourists from all over the world visit more than 100 local wineries to sample vino right at the source. But a lesser-know attraction has proven popular to be popular among wine country visitors - a wide variety of unusual and exotic animals live in the Valley. Grapeline's new Animal Lovers Wine Tour combines a full day of wine tasting with stops at several locations where guests can see some of the more unusual fauna that lives in the area.

Grapeline starts off the tour with a visit to Seein’ Spots Farm where guests get to pet very affectionate mini donkeys. The farm breeds and sells miniature donkeys, but also serves as a rescue for the other animals such as goats, turkeys, ducks, a mule, a pot belly pig, and a giant tortoise. The most photographed member of the Seein' Spots menagerie is Zeyore the zonkey, a rare zebra-donkey hybrid who has become the farm's fan favorite. For added enjoyment, groups may add a photo opportunity in Buellton at the Miniature Horse Ranch or Ostrich Land to feed the Ostriches.

The tour heads to Koehler Winery next where sheep and emus wander the outskirts of the property. These animals often come very close to the edge of the enclosures, but are not recommended for petting. Here guests enjoy a full tasting of estate wines with a complimentary logo stemless glass in their rustic tasting room. A catered lunch from Paninos is served on the picnic tables overlooking the field where the animals graze.

Next, guests enjoy a tasting of 6-7 wines at Fess Parker Winery where the winery dog, Yorick, is likely to give each guest a warm welcome before entering. Founded by the actor, Fess Parker, who portrayed frontiersmen Davy Crocket and Daniel Boon in the 1950’s and 1960’s, this winery is complete with fake coon-skin hats for guests as well as wine bottles.

The last wine tasting stop is Curtis Winery for a private tasting with chocolate pairing followed by a tour of the winemaking process by a knowledgeable winery staff member. The tour also includes details about the Firestone family and local small-production winemaking.

With animals being the main focus of this private excursion, a visit to the Alpacas at West Ranch is last on the itinerary. Founded in 2005 by the Women of West Ranch, this location features top quality bloodline Alpacas. These gentle timid animals come close for easy access to their soft fur while a knowledgeable guide talks about the history of the ranch and what makes these Alpacas such unique creatures.

Grapeline Wine Tours began in Temecula in 2002, and expanded to Paso Robles in 2004 and Santa Barbara in 2007. Serving more than 25,000 wine tasters annually, it is the largest wine tour company in Southern and Central California, and also the top rated wine tour company on popular user-review sites Yelp and TripAdvisor.

The Animal Lovers Wine Tour departs at 10am from all local hotels and concludes at approximately 5pm. It is available for small private groups of 10-16 guests and pricing is $219 per person from Solvang and Buellton or $239 per person from Santa Barbara, all inclusive. This tour can be booked any day of the week. Reservations are required.

Reservations are available by calling Grapeline at 1 888 8-WINERY.

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John Kelliher
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