Santa Barbara's Funk Zone is busting out in tasting rooms. The latest to open is Santa Barbara Wine Collective, the first communal tasting room on the city's Urban Wine Trail. The Funk Zone, if you're not among the initiated, is neither a mental health clinic nor a James Brown museum (sadly), but a neighborhood largely devoted to artists, chefs and winemakers.
Six winemakers are part of it, and those stellar names — Bryan Babcock of Babcock Winery, Matt Dees of the Paring, Blair Fox of Fess Parker Wines, Eric Railsback or Ca' del Grevino, Raj Parr and Sashi Moorman of Sandhi and Bob Linquist of Qupé — make the new tasting room on Anacapa Street an obligatory stop.
The great thing is that visitors to the tasting room will be able to sample wines from the six producers side by side, comparing terroirs, grapes and differences in winemaking practices. They'll also be able to taste — and buy — some limited release bottlings that would have only been available at the wineries before.
Running the operation is general manager Alejandro Medina and certified sommelier Megan Cline. These two wine professionals are not just going to be pouring tastes, but developing tasting programs and a series of winemaker dinners, along with new release parties and pop-up brunch, lunch and dinner events. They're also planning seminars and classes that will be open to the public. Think of the tasting room as an education center, too.
The Santa Barbara Wine Collective is at 131 Anacapa St. and will be open Tuesday through Thursday from noon to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Wine flights from Babcock, Ca' del Grevino, Fess Parker, The Paring and Sandhi are priced at $15. Wines from Rhone-style specialist Qupé will be available after May 1.