Arts & Entertainment

Los Olivos: Wine with food and scenery to match

VinicultureArts and CultureRestaurantsDining and Drinking

Thanks to recent rains, wildflowers continue to carpet the roads to Los Olivos, the Santa Barbara County wine country destination made famous by the movie "Sideways." And despite its recent popularity, the 1,000-person town has kept a sober head and offers more to do than sip Syrah (there's Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, among others).

The architecture strays from the standard Spanish style that's ubiquitous in Santa Barbara County; Western, as in cowboy, and Mediterranean, to complement the wine, are favored designs.

Wine and olives

Vineyards, not olive groves, surround Los Olivos, and there are wine tasting rooms all up and down Grand and Alamo Pintado avenues, either representing one winery or a cluster of them. Paying homage to the town's name, however, is Global Gardens, with an olive oil tasting room and a mission to share the joys of the ancient fruit (2477 Alamo Pintado Ave., [805] 693-1600, www.oliverevolution.com).

Gallery hopping

In between tastings, art galleries and home furnishing shops show how upscale the area has become since its founding in 1861 as a stagecoach stop on the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles run. Wildling Art Museum features fine art dedicated to the American wilderness, along with nature exhibits and classes (2928 San Marcos Ave., [805] 688-1082, www.wildlingmuseum.org).

Hungry travelers

Local restaurants pair well with the wineries. Mattei's Tavern got its start serving stagecoach passengers, and now its restaurant is known for updating longtime favorites with seasonal touches (2350 Railway Ave., [805] 688-4820, www.matteistavern.com). Always crowded before its cinematic debut in "Sideways," the Los Olivos Café offers fresh California-Mediterranean food (2879 Grand Ave., [805], 688-7265, www.losolivoscafe.com). R Country Store sells picnic provisions (2948 Grand Ave., [805] 688-6750). Take advantage of spring's almost always perfect weather and eat outside at Lavinia Campbell Park, the grassy spot across from the flagpole.

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