Fess Parker (Davy Crockett) Winery

Fess Parker Winery on Foxen Canyon Road.

After making a bunch of trips to Paso Robles the past few weeks (Firestone Brewery, downtown Pismo, Wine, Waves, and Beyond Surf Competition, Hearst Castle), I had a craving to keep the wine flowing but spend less time in the car. The Santa Ynez Valley is less than an hour from Santa Barbara.

We drove up the 101 north and had lunch at Firestone Tap Room in Buellton, then found our way to Foxen Canyon Road and stopped at Fess Parker Winery.

Fess Parker passed away last year, but his legend lives on at the winery he started back in 1987 after an acting career that featured roles of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone (the wine glasses have little raccoon-tailed hats on them).

The first thing you notice about the vineyard is it’s beauty, but I could probably say that about 90% of the vineyards I visit. Rolling hills, perfectly straight rows of grapes, groomed properties, classy settings. I would say it is not very difficult to show people the beauty in these landscapes – and I suppose the 10% that are still struggling either lost sight of its importance or don’t serve good enough wine (beauty is blinding when you’ve had a few, no?).

To my surprise, even though most wineries are beautiful, few do enough to promote it – many wineries cram you into a dark tasting room and ask you to stay close, not to wander. I try to avoid these places now, because there are many spots to get a good glass of wine – there are plenty that encourage you to enjoy the wine, not just taste it.

Fess Parker is one of them. We sat outside beside the courtyard, along with the others who brought their own blankets and coolers. You can bring whatever you want – a full-on lunch or cheese and crackers – and spread out on the lawn with a few bottles of wine (you can bring your own I guess, but you really should buy at least one bottle from there).

Taking turns going inside for the next round, we chose a slow-paced tasting out on the patio. Saturday afternoons are a nice time to go – it’s usually a pleasant social atmosphere.

Bring your sunglasses if you like to people watch.

One of the tasting bars at Fess Parker Winery.

Fess Parker Winery on Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Ynez Valley.

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