“Lompoc is a beautiful place with grace and charm,” said no one ever. But it has come a long way with an increasing emphasis on winemaking, wine tourism, and in fact, truly great wine.
Once solely a bedroom community for the nearby Vandenberg Air Force base, the City of Lompoc now hosts multiple winemaking facilities, centered around what is called the “Wine Ghetto.”
The Wine Ghetto is simply an area of Lompoc that is host to over 20 wineries. If you are traveling west on SR 246, as you enter Lompoc, this area is just behind the Home Depot. Most wineries are located on East Chestnut or Industrial Way, with a few only a short distance beyond.
But what wines! While you may not have heard of most (or even all) of these wineries, they produce wines that showcase the region, especially the vineyards of the Santa Rita Hills, a top AVA (American Viticultural Area) of California.
Stolpman Vineyards produces many lesser known varietals from vineyards in the Ballard Canyon area of Santa Barbara County. They are known primarily for their Syrah, but also produce excellent Grenache and Sangiovese reds, and Roussanne and Viognier whites (and others). The tasting room in Lompoc is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 pm. 1700 Industrial Way, Lompoc, CA. 805-688-0400. There is also a tasting room in the nearby town of Los Olivos that is open daily 11-5 pm. www.stolpmanvineyards.com.
Another fine producer of delicious wines is Palmina. This winery specializes in Italian grape varieties, and produces some very fine blends from these grapes. They do the reds of Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto. For whites, they make Vermentino, Arneis, Tocai Friulano, Malvasia Bianca, and Pinot Grigio. They also make wonderful sparkling wine, including a Sparkling Barbera. Their tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday from 11 to 5 pm. 1520 E. Chestnut Ct., Lompoc, CA 93436. 805-735-2030. www.palminawines.com.
Pali Wine Company is primarily known for their luxurious Pinot Noirs, but they also do a splendid Chardonnay. Their Pinot Noirs are fruit driven in an upfront style and are meant to be enjoyed immediately if not sooner. They don’t require aging. Their Chardonnays are equally delicious. The Pali tasting room is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday 12 to 7 pm. On Sundays they are open 11 to 6 pm. 1501 E. Chestnut Court Lompoc, CA 93436. 805-735-2354. www.paliwineco.com.
If you crave traditional Old World (Burgundian) style Pinot Noir, look no further than Arcadian Winery. These wines need several years to fully exhibit their extraordinary depth and charm. The winery buys fruit from many different vineyards and emphasizes the distinct characteristics of each vineyard in their various bottlings. While their prices are higher relative to other Pinots in Lompoc, the wines are truly classic. The Arcadian tasting room is open Thursday and Friday from 1 pm to 5 pm. On Saturday their hours are 11 to 5 pm, and on Sundays 12-4. 1515 E Chestnut Ave, Lompoc, CA 93436. 805-737-3900. www.arcadianwinery.com.
Did you know that goats can fly? Check it out at Flying Goat Cellars. Specializing in Pinot Noir and Sparkling Wine, this winery offers flights of sparklers, as well as flights of Pinots. These award-winning wines are deep and rich, and as the Wine Enthusiast says, “magical.” And the flying goats? When owner and winemaker Norm Yost was looking for a name for his new winery, his pet goats were playful and would constantly jump and cavort about. They were so entertaining, that it appeared they were flying. The delightful (and art-filled) tasting room is open Thursday-Monday from 11 to 4 pm. 1520 East Chestnut Court, Unit A, Lompoc, CA 93436
This is by no means the entire list of wineries at the Wine Ghetto in Lompoc. There are so many of them that make great wines. But if you have the time, be sure and also visit Fiddlehead, Holus Bolus and Jalama as well as the ones above and those we haven’t mentioned. You can spend days here and not tire of what Lompoc and Santa Barbara County have to offer.