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Ride, Wine and Dine with Vino Vaqueros
There are regions of the Santa Ynez Valley that are simply breathtaking. Take a ride with Vino Vaqueros to experience the valley’s richness on horseback, followed by wine tasting and a meal, and your time spent in the valley is sure to be a memorable one.
Enjoy an easy ride among majestic oak trees, sweeping meadows and comical yellow-bellied magpies on Fess Parker’s Winery and Ranch, a unique setting at the base of the scenic Santa Ynez Mountains.
Owner Peter Ganibi and close friend Graham Goodfield, owner of Los Padres Outfitters, put their heads together, forming the concept so guests could enjoy some of the best the valley has to offer.
“We created a plan and refined it by trial and error,” said Ganibi, a polo player and horse trainer for 12 years. “We received great feedback since we got off the ground in February.”
Through a winemaking friend of a friend, Ganibi and Goodfield connected with Eli Parker, Fess Parker’s son, to explain their concept. He gave them the green light to use the ranch and winery.
A typical Vino Vaqueros ride meets at the Fess Parker Winery, 6200 Foxen Canyon Road, in the morning or afternoon. The horseback ride lasts for 90 minutes, with amazing views of Figueroa Mountain and Grass Hill. After dismounting, guests stroll over to the tasting room to sample about eight wines. Lunch or dinner follows down the road at Patrick’s Side Street Café in Los Olivos.
“I think the guests are sometimes shocked that the same guy showing them around the ranch and winery is capable of preparing a tasty meal,” Ganibi said.
He said the menu includes a wide selection of sandwiches and salads, but the most popular choice is the open-faced prime rib.
“The dinner menu always has a tasty barbecue item that the guests seem to love,” Ganibi said.
— Local freelance writer Chuck Graham is editor of Deep magazine.
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