July 28, 2007

Five Years of Wonderful

Five years ago yesterday I married my best friend!


For our five year anniversary I surprised Chrystal with a trip to Santa Ynez. We stayed in a quaint B&B called Meadowlark Inn and went wine tasting for the first time. Both of us thought it crazy that we have lived in Santa Barbara so long and never gone wine tasting.

When we arrived I was a bit disappointed because the B&B was not what I expected. I was expecting something a bit nicer, but the old adage “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” definitely applied. Upon arriving, the inn keeper welcomed us by name and was so friendly we immediately felt at home. We stayed in the Cabernet suite, which has a funny hot tub on the patio (check out the video). There was a mix up with our wine tour schedule where I thought it was Saturday, but it was Friday. The tour started at 11:00 but we were not able to get there till about 1:30. The staff was super accommodating, and adjusted our wine tour to start at 2:00 by picking us up half way through the tour and then took just the two of us for another two hours to complete the tour.

The best part about the tour is that the inn owner does the tour personally. We were told that she was a former restaurant owner, so she new all of the places to go that had great wine versus just popular wineries. To our delight, our tour guide was Brigitte (pronounced bri-gee-ta) of Brigitte’s restaurant fame in Santa Barbara (now Opal). We heard wonderful stories of her move to the United States from Germany and how she has been involved in starting multiple restaurants in Santa Barbara (Brigitte's, Downey’s, and Norbert's).

My favorite tasting room was Artiste, which is a tasting room and art gallery. The featured artist’s medium was wine! Chrystal and I both thought it was so interesting. All the wine labels are featured artists, and the name of that wine is the name of the painting.

At the last winery which was my favorite, Rusack, we just sipped wine and talked with Brigitte about the restaurant industry. The winery manager finally had to come and kick us out because they were closing.

What really made our stay, other than it being with my best friend, was that we were treated like family. It is not the nicest B&B I have stayed at, but it is definitely my favorite experience at any B&B. Brigitte and her staff staged a great experience that we will forever correlate with wonderful memories. As a business owner Brigitte really understands that hospitality is about staging a memorable experience for the guest.

We definitely plan on doing future wine tours with Brigitte, and hopefully she will be a future client of kevin sturm Consulting as she is going to open a restaurant at her other B&B Story Book Inn.

If you would like to contact Brigitte directly to inquire about a customized wine tour you can reach her at info@meadowlarkinnsolvang.com.



2 comments:

Tim Halberg said...

very fun!! Congrats on five years!!!!

I'd love to hear which wineries you got to visit!!

fun@life said...

It was fun. We went to Buttonwood Farm, Sunstone, Rusak, and Artiste. We were really slow and were chatting it up with the other couple and Brigitte so we didn't get to hit all the wineries on the list. We had such a good time though we didn't care!