During a recent girls weekend to Santa Barbara, I had the pleasure of visiting some of the most well known and respected wineries in the Santa Maria Valley. Qupe, Au Bon Climate, and Bien Nacido were some of those. For those of you not familiar with this winemaking region of Santa Barbara County, Santa Maria is known for their incredible Burgundian varietals (Chardonnay & Pinot Noir) found at Au Bon Climate and Bien Nacido, as well as their Rhone varietals which I enjoyed at Qupe. See more of this incredible harvest visit to these amazing wineries below.
Arriving to Bien Nacido Vineyards in this fabulous Audi on Demand A5 convertible. Read more about Audi on Demand and this incredible service here which I have used multiple times for business and personal travel and truly adore. Read more about Bien Nacido Vineyards and some of my prior visits to this legendary winery & vineyards here.
You may be wondering, why we are at Bien Nacido Vineyards if we are doing a harvest visit at Qupe and Au Bon Climat: We are here because Bien Nacido vineyards is where Bien Nacido Wines are made in addition to Au Bon Climate and Qupe Wineries are also located. We were a little early for our lunch date and Qupe tour, so I swung by Bien Nacido to say hi and surprise winemaker Trey.
Thanks for hanging out Trey and letting us swing by Bien Nacido during your busy harvest time.
Loving my Audi on Demand A5 Convertible. This convertible is so perfect for a girls weekend in Santa Barbara’s Wine Country. If you’re new to Audi on Demand, use the code JSF to save 20% on your first rental.
Arriving to Qupe and Au Bon Climat for lunch with the team and to watch the winemaking team hard at work.
Our lovely hostess and birthday girl Katie! She led us on a guided barrel tasting of some Qupe and Au Bon Climate Wines. What a special way to taste these amazing wines.
Peeking at the private library Winemaker Bob Lindquist has at the warehouse filled with years and years of Qupe. These wines are shared frequently with the entire team during their daily lunch.
OMG these 1.5 Liter Bien Nacido Wines are incredible. I wish I had a few of these in my cellar!
Vineyard views from the winery. They are literally located within Bien Nacido and I learned that Winemakers Bob Lindquist and Jim Clendendon were asked to locate their winery here to source grapes from the Bien Nacido Vineyards and help promote this incredible region of Santa Maria Valley. Bob is the Winemaker for Qupe and Jim Clendenn for Au Bon Climat. These are two of the most talented and legendary winemakers in California– I feel so fortunate to know them both and to spend time with them and their incredible teams.
Bob working hard during harvest on the fork lift.
Processing the grapes as they arrive from the vineyards for the winemaking to start!
Check out this family style lunch we got to enjoy with the team.
It’s customary at Qupe and ABC (Au Bon Climat) to taste various wines throughout lunch. Key word is taste, this is still a working day. What an amazing tradition and such a nice way for the team and guests like me (yeah) to enjoy the fabulous wines made here.
The delicious lunch spread we enjoyed. I learned that Jim is the serious chef of the group and also gardens! Most of the vegetables are picked from his garden and brought in for cooking the team meals.
The delicious ABC 2014 Santa Maria Chardonnay. Incredible!
Our amazing host, Winemaker Bob of Qupe. I met Bob a few years ago (it’s hard to remember which wine event as we both go to so many) and ever since I’ve appreciated Bob’s friendliness, incredible winemaking skills, and his smiley, welcoming demeanor. Read more about Bob in my interview with him here.
The Qupe team
Me and the team. A HUGE thank you for having me and Kelsey to lunch and to the winery during this busy harvest time.
While Winemaker (and chef) Jim was away traveling, another team member, Enriques, who is the Cellar Master, pitched in to make lunch. He did a great job and lunch was delicious. So yummy that I will be inviting myself to Qupe and ABC every time I’m in the region to repeat this fun tradition.
The team stomping the grapes. This is actually a super hard, exhausting task so although they’re smiling for the camera it is not that fun of a task. Watch a video here to see more…
A huge thanks to Bob Lindquist and team for having me and Kelsey to the winery.
What do you think?