The Traveling Steve's

Wine touring around Santa Barbara in a Tesla!

We woke up early Saturday morning as expected due to the 3 hour time change from the East Coast.  We got to our hotel, the Fess Parker Doubletree in Santa Barbara around 10pm last night, and  as we got in late and were tired, we couldn’t fully appreciate the beauty of our location, much less the property itself.  

The Fess Parker Doubletree Hotel is a beautiful resort-like property just across the street from the Pacific Ocean, and has a Mediterranean feel with its low-rise building design and orange-tiled roofs.  Before we were picked up for our tour, we walked up to the third floor patio, which offers beautiful views of the property, ocean and palm trees swaying with the Santa Barbara breeze.We had checked the weather forecast before we headed out on our quick cross-country weekend getaway, and it showed Saturday to be nice and sunny, although Friday and Sunday would be cool and rainy.  For once the weatherman was right, and we had fantastic weather on our one day of touring thru wine country, and indeed Friday and Sunday were cool and very rainy – we lucked out!  It is January after all and winter time, but like Florida, the California weather can be hit or miss this time of year.

We had a really terrific buffet breakfast at the hotel’s main restaurant.  As a Lifetime Hilton Diamond (Doubletree is part of the Hilton portfolio) Steve (DOS) and I both received a complimentary breakfast, and I must say this was one of the finest everyday hotel buffet’s we’ve been too.  There were plenty of hot and cold items, (eggs, bacon, sausage, etc) breads, muffins, fresh fruits, yogurts, juices – quite impressive!   We were taking an all day private wine tour, so we wanted to make sure we had plenty to eat before meeting our winery guide host at 10am.

We were picked up in style promptly at 10am by Bryan, co-owner of Sustainable Vine Wine Tours of Santa Barbara.  Although DOS had arranged this private tour for us in a Tesla, it was even more amazing to finally see it in person, much less right around in style all day!  This was a Tesla Model X, which is SUV-like version of the Tesla, and is in a league all of it’s own, due to not only its stylish features such as the doors opening up and out, but the safety, self-driving, emissions, navigational assistance features etc – unbelievable!Bryan saw the wow factor on our faces as the doors opened out, and gave us a ‘tour’ of the awesome car.  I asked about trunk space as I knew we would be buying some vinos to take home, and was surprised how much space there was not only in the trunk, but in front too!What was really amazing was the hood of the car – it was actually used for storage space unlike a traditional car with a motor up front!  Bryan showed us how the doors of the car opened, and handed us a large map explaining our wine journey for the day, as well as the huge mega-pad like screen used for navigation – the interactive map was like a big screen TV and the detail was amazing.

We hadn’t even left the parking lot and we were so impressed with Bryan’s professionalism and knowledge (not only of the car!) but of wine and the area, as well as his easy going manner.  We knew we were in for a fun day, and Bryan did not disappoint us – he truly exceeded our expectations.

Bryan asked our wine knowledge, and while I wouldn’t say we are connoisseurs, we aren’t novices either.  Bryan wanted to know  what we enjoyed to help customize our experience.  I told him we have toured Napa/Sonoma many times over the years, and have also enjoyed branching out and trying different regions of the US (Washington, Oregon, Virginia, North Carolina), and world including France, Italy, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, and most recently Chile.   Chile has recently become one of our favorite up and coming regions and I shared with him some of our recent trip highlights to Chile last September on a tour there.  While we prefer reds, we do enjoy whites with starters, salads, or even poolside at home.

As we headed out of the hotel, we were full of questions for Bryan of both the car and wine.  Looking at the large map he handed us, and the mountainous regions we would be touring, our first question was the range of the car on one charge?  We would be covering a lot of territory on this tour – from Happy Valley on the right all the way over to the Central Coast on the left.No worries though; the Tesla will go a couple hundred miles on one charge, but there are plenty of charging stations along the way – of course we’re in California!  And you can’t get lost with the GPS, and it even ‘self drives’ if you want a cruise control coasting option!  

The actual wineries we visited continues in the next post. . .  We’re off to see the wineries, and half the fun is getting there in a Tesla!




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