SYV Buzz

Discover music and wine in the Santa Ynez Valley


Savoring Rainy Days: A Unique Wine Tasting Experience

Santa Ynez Valley, renowned for its picturesque vineyards and award-winning wineries, takes on a different charm when raindrops grace the landscape. While wine enthusiasts often associate vineyard visits with sunny days, I enjoyed the mystical quality of exploring Santa Barbara County's wine country under a driving rain storm. Here's how I turned a rainy day into a memorable wine-tasting adventure.

Call AheadMany wineries close during an intense rain storm due to power outages, road closures, and low body count. Koehler Family Wines was first on my list because of their recent 2021 Petite Sirah release which I had been eager to try. I called ahead and the inviting voice on the other end, Derek Koehler, indicated they were indeed open, although their hours were reduced due to the storm. Petite Sirah, here I come!

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Musicians talk music with musician Arwen Lewis on the Arwen Lewis Show

Here at SYV Buzz, our goal is to spread the word about all the fantastic live music happening at the wide variety of venues in Solvang, Santa Ynez, Los Olivos, Los Alamos, and Buellton — and we love it when we find other passionate, like-minded people with a similar mission.

Arwen Lewis is one of these. Already well known around the Santa Ynez Valley as a musician and songwriter who performs regularly at Lost Chord Guitars, Dana V. Wines, and other hot spots, Arwen has also recently branched out into radio as the host of her own show in which she interviews upcoming and accomplished musicians, many with local ties.

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Feast and Festivity

Unveiling the Winter Wonders of SYV Restaurant Week 2024 Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week stands out as one of the most anticipated culinary celebrations on California’s central coast. Traditionally, both locals and fortunate visitors clear their calendars, making reservations at esteemed establishments, ranging from classic favorites to new culinary gems, all offering exclusive deals not found throughout the rest of the year.

Across the valley, various destinations and wineries join in, presenting specially crafted menus with prix fixe selections for brunch, lunch, and dinner, ensuring a delightful culinary experience.

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Ignite the Night

The Idiomatiques Red-Hot Gypsy Jazz Revelry at Lost Chord GuitarsThe Idiomatiques skillfully blend Django Reinhardt-inspired moments with straight-ahead grooves. They’re as irresistible as a glass of Rhône red, promising a bold and well-rounded musical experience.

Their sizzling heat and thrilling energy unfailingly ensures a fantastic night out. The quartet’s musical skills are exceptional, reflecting a profound passion and genuine joy in both their delivery and arrangements. The Idiomatiques set list is pretty “up” musically and is the kind of hug you need when you’re struggling through especially troubling times. Their performance is complemented by a witty sense of humor, making it a very entertaining time on the town.

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Heard Through the Grapevine

Can Music Alter the Taste of Wine? In the realm of SYV Buzz, where wine and music harmonize, the question arises: Can the right musical pairing amplify the gustatory essence of the wine in your glass and add an extra dimension to your tasting pleasure?

A study conducted by Oxford University revealed that imbibers can experience a 15% increase in pleasure from their wine when sipping and listening to well-matched music. Who knew!

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Monte Mills: Authentic Cowboy Icon of California's Central Coast

Monte Mills stands as a true icon of California’s Central Coast, a living testament to the dwindling legacy of yodeling cowboys. But Monte isn’t just any cowboy: he’s the epitome of authenticity—a farrier and auctioneer by trade, embodying the essence of the Wild West. Yet beyond his cowboy persona, Monte is an integral part of the local tapestry, breathing life into traditional western swing country music and sharing it with thousands of Central Coast residents and Cal Poly SLO students annually.

As the maestro of the Annual Barn Dance benefiting the Santa Ynez Valley Historical Museum on a recent Saturday night, Monte drew hordes of boot scooters, swing dancers, line dancers, and two-steppers, both novices and seasoned, into the infectious world of country music that adds a whole lotta old-timey soul to the Central Coast experience.

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Brander Vineyard, I have a crush on you

It’s that celebratory time of the year in wine country when the word “crush” is tossed about like confetti. Sure, we all know crush as the term for high school puppy love, but in this wine-soaked realm, it’s one of the absolute best seasons—the time after the grapes are plucked from the vines and then crushed (literally) to kickstart the next phase of winemaking.

Crush stands proudly as a key player in the grand scheme of winemaking, a partner alongside other essential steps in the process like harvesting, fermentation, fining/clarification, and the grand finale of aging and bottling. Winemaking might seem like a straightforward process, but truth be told, there’s a lot more involved than one might think. So, let the grape adventure continue!

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Cheers to merlot!

Celebrating International Merlot Day Over a dozen years have whizzed by since the movie Sideways swirled into the spotlight with five Oscar nominations, including the prestigious Best Picture category, leading up to the 2005 Academy Awards. While the film, a wild adventure exploring fear and loathing in the wine-soaked landscapes of California’s Santa Ynez Valley, only managed to pocket the slightly less glamorous award for Best Adapted Screenplay, its true legacy lies in the uproar it caused within the wine industry.

For those who missed out on this cinematic gem (cough, millennials, cough), Sideways chronicles the escapades of two chums on a journey through the picturesque Santa Barbara wine region. We meet the dashing soon-to-be-wed actor Jack Cole, played by the charismatic Thomas Haden Church, and the down-on-his-luck divorcé Miles Raymond, masterfully portrayed by Paul Giamatti. Among Giamatti’s unforgettable moments are his impassioned ode to pinot noir and, of course, the legendary line, “I am not drinking any fucking merlot!”

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Sip into sunshine

Santa Ynez Valley’s Slippery Winter and the 2023 Harvest Winemakers and their teams have been knee-deep in the grape harvest lately, but that will soon come to a close — so it’s time to explore what this season’s bounty holds for your wine glass. Spoiler alert: it’s looking incredibly promising! So grab your corkscrew and join us as we venture into the vineyards and raise a glass to a bountiful 2023 vintage.

A Drenching Winter The Central Coast of California, known for its wild west landscape and vineyard-dotted hills, had quite a watery winter this year. If you’re a resident of the Central Coast, you won’t soon forget last season’s rainy days and soggy bottoms (unless, of course El Niño gives us another walloping this year!). While many were cursing their umbrellas, winemakers were secretly doing rain dances of joy (yes, it’s a thing). The region enjoyed a generous dose of precipitation that left the soil saturated and the grapevines grinning from root to vine tip.

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Carhartt's 2020 Rhone Blend

The Rebel that Stands A Roan Hold onto your hats 'cause we're gonna tell you about Carhartt Family Wine's 2020 Rebel Roan and how this horse got its name.The 2020 vintage packs a punch of flavors, striking a delightful balance both on the nose and palate. Straight outta the bottle, it's a real showstopper, but here's the trick — give it some time to stretch its legs in the glass, and watch as layers of spices reveal themselves like buried treasure.

Now let's talk ingredients. Blend composition on this Rhone blend includes 46% Syrah, 33%Grenache, 16% Mourvedre, and 5% Petite Sirah. "The 2020 vintage of Rebel Roan is a crowd pleaser at its finest. I think this vintage is a little brighter in terms of fruit than 2019, which after a year in bottle, is showing amazing. There is some noticeable acidity that will help this wine age, and I think in 3-5 years, it should be drinking very well,"ays Chase Carhartt, Co-Winemaker.

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We try to keep our events list as comprehensive and up-to-date as possible, but we encourage you to verify with the artist or venue websites for possible changes or cancellations. Thanks!