Santa Ynez Wine Tasting: The Summer Pass

What date should you go? That's up to you, as long as your vino-riffic outing happens before the last day of August.

A PASS TO TRY VINO... is quite often tied to a particular day or weekend, with no extra wiggle room built in. You've got to be there, at the appointed hours, and at a particular group of wineries, to make sure you've gotten the very most out of the tasting pass you purchased. No quibbles with this set-up — it absolutely works, and remains popular, which is why so many passport weekends flourish so robustly throughout the state — but there is something rather lovely, and even relaxing, about being able to pick when you'd like to go, no rush, no fuss. And, of course, where you'd like to go, as in which wineries have caught your fancy. The Summer Pass, from the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association, is full of that you-choose-the-dates freedom, as long as you use your $45 pass by the final day in August. That seems doable, looking out over the next three months of the summer of 2017, but, as everyone knows, summer flies as fast as a bumblebee seeking a flower. So nab your pass then study the...

14 WINERY TASTING ROOMS... that are on The Summer Pass map. Each'll provide pass holders with a single taste, and no reservations are needed. Another bonus? No dates are blocked on the calendar. Yet another bonus? The line-up is stellar, from Alexander & Wayne to Lucky Dogg Winery to Lincourt Vineyards. As for when your pass will be thoroughly through? When you've had that single, scrumptious taste at each of the dozen (plus two) wineries. Of course, it'll also be donesville as of Aug. 31, whether or not you've reached all of those lovely Los Olivos, Buellton, Solvang, and Santa Ynez spots, so keep that in mind. Want to see a map? That's an excellent idea. Want to know the SYV and all of its grape-great bounty? The Summer Pass is as big as a wide window open to a summery spread of leafy vines.

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