Hitching Post Wines
Opens New Tasting Room and lunch Venue
Santa Barbara County has an exciting new tasting room at Hitching Post Wines, right next door to the ever-popular Hitching Post 2 Restaurant at 420 East Highway 246 in Buellton. More than just the location made famous in the film, Sideways, the new tasting room—created by Frank and Jami Ostini and Gray and Charlotte Hartley—has become a prime destination where everyone can enjoy wines made from among the most sought-after vineyards in the region.
About Those Wines!
Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini have handcrafted wines in Santa Barbara County for nearly 40 years. Frank, owner and chef of Hitching Post 2 Restaurant, became fast friends with Gray when their appreciation for good winemaking converged. Through tenacity and hard work, what began as a hobby for long-time friends became popular and very successful.
Their flagship creation, Highliner Pinot Noir, represents the “best of the fleet.” Crafted from both Santa Maria Valley and Sta. Rita Hills grapes, this go-to cuvée is a nod to Gray’s 28-year experience as an Alaskan salmon fisherman.
The Hitching Post’s 10 Pinot Noir wines are created from grapes that are sourced from Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Los Alamos. Inside the tasting room, a flight of five Traditional Tasting selections from the Hitching Post label includes their 2017 Pinks, a dry, crisp rosé, the 2016 Hometown Pinot Noir, 2015 Cork Dancer Pinot Noir, and St. Rita’s Earth Pinot Noir. HP’s 2016 enduring Generation (“Gen Red”) Red wine is a blend of Merlot, Valdiguie, Tempranillo and Sangiovese grapes.
Their second Reserve Tasting menu offers a rotating series of rare, single-vineyard and special aged vintages, including four Pinot Noirs – 2016 Highliner, 2015 Perfect Set, 2015 Quinta del Mar Pinot Noir, and 2015 Fiddlestix Pinot Noir, as well as their 2012 Four Top, made of primarily Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon plus Valdiguie and Cabernet Franc grapes.
An ‘Old’ New Tasting Room, And ‘HP 2 You’
For those familiar with Hitching Post’s incredible Santa Maria-style BBQ steaks at their Buellton location, it makes more sense to dedicate a sister location in which to feature their winemaking. Hitching Post Wines is situated on a 12-acre parcel bordered by red oak trees and a large 200-year-old tree near the entrance.
The 2,000-square-foot structure contains two wings. The west wing features a fireplace hearth with original oak flooring, and inside the east wing is a seating area and retail space with a corrugated tin ceiling. Between the sections is a second tasting room with photos displaying the history of Hitching Post Wines. Throughout the new construction, inlaid concrete, burnished copper wine tasting bars, repurposed barn siding and copper design elements lend a warm and welcoming rustic feel.
Outside, shaded picnic grounds with lots of seating, native landscaping and walkways throughout encourage guests to relax and unwind. The adjacent Hitching Post 2 delivers delicious lunch to the grounds, featuring HP Burgers, Triple-Fried French Fries, Santa Maria BBQ Artichokes and Grilled Corn Quesadillas. It’s a great way to taste the unmistakable flavor of Hitching Post food while enjoying Central Coast wines.
A second phase of Hitching Post’s building restoration is under way. Soon, a public wine bar with an enclosed patio will open onto a natural stage to facilitate live music performances. A classic 1970s Airstream trailer and HP’s famous Santa Maria-style grills will offer an extended menu with onsite cooking and adjacent casual seating. Later, in the third phase, a full remodel of the family’s barn will enable guests to enjoy private events right on their picturesque property in view of the Santa Ynez Mountains.