The Hitching Post in Santa Barbara wine country

Hitching post in Buelton

To culminate our wonderful weekend in the Santa Barbara wine country following the recent Wine Bloggers Conference, we didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to have dinner at the Hitching Post in Buellton. We’d last eaten there shortly before the restaurant was featured in the 2004 movie, “Sideways.” As in the movie, when Miles and Jack meet Maya and Stephanie, it’s obvious that the Hitching Post is a popular spot for locals and tourists.

Reading the information on the menu, we found that Frank and Natalie Ostini opened the restaurant in 1986 to bring Santa Maria style Barbecue to Buellton. Today their children continue the tradition of combining old and new, and boast of serving the best French Fries in Southern California. The staff is very courteous and friendly, which is always a plus.

When we visited on this Sunday night, the restaurant was packed with families, couples and a few singles. The menu features a good assortment of appetizers, BBQ meats, fresh salads and yummy desserts. Most of the wines, by the glass or bottle, are from the many great wineries in the Santa Barbara wine country. The restaurant also serves wines from their own winery that focuses on Pinot Noir.


If you want to explore the Santa Barbara wine country and the “Sideways” wine trail, be sure you stop by the Hitching Post. You won’t be disappointed.

Winemaker Andrew Murray

andrew murray winemaker

Meet winemaker Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray is one of the Santa Barbara wine country’s premiere winemakers. He has been making wine for the past 24 years. His Andrew Murray Vineyards winery is located on the Foxen Canyon Road Wine Trail. While traveling in France with his parents at age 18, he found his passion in the Rhone Valley. Today his winery’s focus is Rhone-style wines. They are extremely well-made and balanced wines in the true spirit of the Rhone. His wines are reasonably priced. Andrew Murray recently acquired a long-term lease for the Curtis Winery facility from the Firestone Family. He is planning on expanding his winemaking capabilities. Andrew Murray Vineyards is open to visitors on weekends or by appointment during the week. Andrew Murray also has a tasting room in the town of Los Olivos that is open daily.

Three years ago, Winemaker Andrew Murray wrote a blog post on Wine Country Getaways about the Santa Ynez Valley.

The North American Wine Bloggers Conference will be held this year in the Santa Barbara wine country. Conference attendees will visit many of the Santa Barbara wineries and we expect that the Andrew Murray Vineyards will be a popular destination.

More information on Santa Barbara Wineries

Santa Barbara wine country will host wine bloggers in 2014

At the conclusion of the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference in Penticton, British Columbia, on Saturday, June 8th, it was announced that Santa Barbara wine country has been selected to host the 7th annual North American Wine Bloggers Conference for 2014. The conference will be held at the Santa Ynez Marriott Hotel in Buellton from July 11 to 13th.

Bloggers a larger impact than the “Sideways” movie?

Until the movie “Sideways” came out in 2004, this area of Santa Barbara had been best known for the Anderson Split Pea Soup factory and for the Danish town of Solvang. How fitting that the Santa Barbara Wine Bloggers Conference will be held on the tenth anniversary of the movie. The movie featured the Santa Barbara wine country as the characters of Miles and Jack moved from winery to winery in search of Pinot Noir. The movie had such a following that it had an enormous effect on Pinot Noir. Because it was so esteemed in the movie, Pinot Noir sales were carried to new heights and higher prices followed. A negative mention of Merlot in the movie did just the opposite for that varietal, with popularity of the grape plummeting. When the movie was released there were five tasting rooms in Los Olivos, the center of this wine country. Today, there are 27 tasting rooms alone in the town. “Sideways” had a huge effect on the popularity of this area. Now comes perhaps an even greater influence, the 2014 North American Wine Bloggers Conference.

There are expected to be 350 attendees at this conference. Most of these attendees not only blog, but tweet copiously, post to Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. They won’t be doing this just during the conference, but also for months before and long after the conference. As we write this post, the Tweeter feeds and Facebook posts are making their way throughout the digital wine community. This is an absolute bonanza for the Santa Barbara Wine Country Association. It will bring more attention to wine lovers around the globe to the many varietals and styles of wine that are produced in this area of the four separate AVA’s of Santa Barbara.

Watch this two-minute video to gain a perspective of the San Barbara wine country and what it has to offer to wine lovers around the globe.