Folks in Santa Maria Valley are no strangers to great taste. The AVA’s unique geography and prime location makes it the perfect place to grow wine grapes. The unique east-west orientation of the nearby Tepusquet Mountains channels fresh ocean air to the region’s vineyards. And, with one of California’s longest growing seasons, Santa Maria produces superb wine nearly all year long.
Santa Maria Valley is famed for its Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Syrahs. On their own, these wines make for an idyllic tasting experience. However, Santa Maria Valley also boasts the title of the state’s best barbecue. Santa Maria Style barbecue has been around since the 19th century, and in its 150-year tradition has mastered the simple, yet timeless, taste of barbecue.
Santa Maria Style barbecue typically focuses on tri-tip, first seasoned with a simple dry rub of salt, pepper and garlic. The well-aged beef is grilled over red oak coals, the same wood used by rancheros and vaqueros (Spanish cowboys) in the 1800s, when Santa Maria Style barbecue was first served. The meat is always served with the Valley’s home-grown pinquito beans, a type of bean unique to California’s Central Coast. This savory combo is accompanied by a fresh green salad and garlic bread. Download our Santa Maria Style Barbecue Cookbook, and bring the flavors of Santa Maria Valley to your kitchen.
One of Santa Maria Valley’s longest-standing, local favorite restaurants is the Far Western Tavern. The restaurant works closely with local farmers to serve some of the freshest ingredients from around the region, complimented by the finest wines from nearby wineries to create a splendid dining experience. If you find yourself dining at the Far Western Tavern, Wine Oh TV has the perfect barbecue and wine pairings for you:
To start, order the Tumbleweed Shrimp, paired with a 2015 Riverbench Cork Jumper Blanc de Noirs. To follow, enjoy an entree of Red Oak grilled ribeye, Pinquito Bean salad and salsa. Pair this with a 2015 Riverbench Estate Pinot Noir. For dessert, marry Aunt Curly’s Carrot Cake with a 2015 Riverbench Cork Jumper Demi-Sec.
From drinking award-winning wines to digging into authentic Santa Maria Style Barbecue, flavor knows no limits in Santa Maria Valley. Take a two-day trip for $500 or less and experience wine country done differently. Plan your trip now.
*** In Santa Maria Valley, there’s so much to do from here. Hit the road and explore it all with our 24 hiking trails, 34 tasting rooms, seven unique AVAs, 13 beaches, and a growing selection of local breweries, all within a beautiful 30-minute drive. There is no need to venture far if you are looking for sand dunes, cycling and authentic Santa Maria Style dining. You’ll find it’s the perfect home base, where you can eat, drink and do more for less.