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A Local's Guide to Santa Barbara

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A Local's Guide to Santa Barbara

Clear skies and idyllic weather are common here in Santa Barbara and Montecito and now that summer has officially arrived, the locals are increasingly out and about. Fortunately for those who are lucky enough to visit, or even call this place home, there is an impressive array of opportunities to adventure, relax, dine, or anything else your soul desires. If you're yearning to discover unique and high quality places, click here to view a great article by goop.com, which details a variety of wonderful destinations. All of us here at Riskin Partners also have our favorite picks, so check out the list below for a small sampling of all that Santa Barbara has to offer. If you're feeling especially enticed, maybe moving here or buying a second home is in your future! For the full list of our Local Favorites, from real estate needs to lifestyle suggestions, visit the Riskin Partners website here.

Accommodations - The Four Seasons Biltmore, Montecito

For a peaceful and relaxing stay, this 5-star luxury hotel is located adjacent to the beautiful Butterfly Beach. In classic California style, they "invite guests to indulge in everything from tours of local wineries to surfing, lazing on the beach or lounging poolside at the exclusive Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club." Relax and be treated at the Santa Barbara Spa, dine at the ocean-view Bella Vista restaurant, or even book a surf session with surfing legend Tom Curren. Find Sara Thandi here on any holiday with her family, this is her favorite place to grab some brunch!

Adventure - Inspiration Point Hike, Santa Barbara

A great workout with some serious views - Inspiration Point is a classic Santa Barbara hike that will having you feeling motivated once you reach the top. Winding through the stunning Santa Ynez mountains, this 3.5-mile round trip hike is best enxperienced at sunrise or sunset. If you enjoy this one, Rebecca, an avid hiker, also suggests trying the San Ysidro trail.

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Site-seeing & Architecture - Rose Garden at the Old Mission, Santa Barbara

With such a rich history, there are a wealth of landmarks and stunning Spanish Revival style architecture throughout the city which should not be missed. Among the Santa Barbara Courthouse (known by many as the most beautiful public building in the country) and its gorgeous sunken gardens, Meridian Studios, and other iconic buildings, the Old Santa Barbara Mission will always remain a classic. Take Robert's advice: grab a blanket, some wine and outdoor games, and have a picnic next to the Mission's blooming rose garden. A retreat like this is best enjoyed if you bring some friends along!

Mid-day Dining -The Santa Barbara Public Market, Santa Barbara

For just over a year now, the Public Market has been host to an array of purveyors - priding itself in "handcrafted, regionally sourced and sustainably made food and wine." Whether you're looking for Crazy Good Bread, a quality cup of joe, delicious seafood, fresh-made pasta, or a glass of wine, the Public Market has it all. If you're feeling like working on your culinary artistry or need to host an event, their Kitchen serves as a commissary and event space. According to Marie, the Market is a great place to meet with friends because there is something for everyone, but her top pick is the potato gnocchi at the Pasta Shoppe. Pair with a flight of wine at the tasting bar for a delicious Italian meal...you definitely will not be disappointed.

Live Music - The Santa Barbara Bowl, Santa Barbara

Set on a hillside overlooking Santa Barbara, the Bowl is a historic amphitheater circa 1936 with striking views - a true landmark of the area. It has been host to some of the biggest names in the music industry including Bob Marley, Santana, Radiohead, Jack Johnson, Steely Dan, and Sting, just to name a few. The intimate venue also hosts a variety of up and coming artists, so all types of music fans can rock out. Upcoming shows include Aerosmith on July 7thAretha Franklin on August 6th, the Santa Barbara Mariachi Festival on August 8th and the Alabama Shakes on August 18th. Live music has always been a big part of Jasmine's life, her husband is even in a band called Surprise Me (vote for them here to help them have an opportunity to play at Summerfest in Wisconsin!). Of all the music venues she has been to, she claims that the Bowl is by far the most beautiful.

Dinner - The Lark, Santa Barbara

We L.O.V.E. the Lark! This family-style restaurant serves "locally sourced and responsibly grown" meals, which are incredibly fresh and delectable. Try the roasted beets and burrata, the marinated grill & hangar steak, the herb roasted diver scallops, or even their famous brussel sprouts - everything on their seasonal menu is simply divine. Sarah Kelly advises that if you're looking to grab a cocktail on a weekend night, this is the place to be. The bone marrow crusted beef cheeks and Mary's roasted chicken are her favorite picks on this menu.

Wine Tasting - The Funk Zone, Santa Barbara

The Funk Zone is a hip, arts, business, and industrial district close to State Street and the Santa Barbara harbor. Here you may find over 10 wine tasting rooms and a variety of studios, galleries, surf shops, and restaurants (including The Lark)! All within walking distance to each other, the Funk Zone makes for a lovely night on the town. Make sure to check out Pali Wine CoCorks N Crowns, and Dina's favorite, Les Marchands Wine Bar and Marchant, where she recently celebrated her engagement! Fun Fact: the owner, Brian McClintic was featured in the popular wine documentary called SOMM, "which chronicled his journey to the elusive Master Sommelier title."

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Christie's Fine Estates & Fine Wine: A Perfect Pairing

A Santa Ynez Valley vineyard
A Santa Ynez Valley vineyard

Riskin Associates is a proud affiliate of luxury real estate giant, Christie's International Real Estate.  With our office in such close proximity to one of the world's finest wine regions, the Santa Ynez Valley, we are excited to announce the newest branch of the Christie's empire: Vineyards by Christie's. The new program will pair leading wine experts and first-class luxury real estate specialists with participants to provide the knowledge of industry authorities to assist in the accession of wine and wine-producing estates. Other services included with the program are in line with the five-star service Christie's and Christie's affiliates provide, and include personalized travel arrangements and language translation services. The Riskin Associates team is excited for Christie's newest endeavor and supports the ideal pairing of luxury real estate with fine wines! Cheers!

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Santa Barbara Art & Wine Tour - Thursday, May 23rd!

Wine service
Wine service

The Santa Barbara Downtown Organization's fantastic Art & Wine Tour is back! Enjoy an evening of local wine and art from Santa Barbara's acclaimed artists. The tour, which features venues south of Carrillo Street, will benefit the annual Santa Barbara Holiday Parade. The event kicks off at 5:30pm on Thursday at the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. From there, patrons will explore the area and venues while sampling fine wines and delicious food from Santa Barbara's incredible, epicurean area. The tour concludes with a fabulous soiree back at the Historical Museum with live music, a silent auction and a raffle, and of course, more wine and hors d'oeurves. Tickets are available online and can also be purchased in person at the Downtown Organization office, the Arlington Theater box office, and the Paseo Nuevo Shopping Center's Guest Services office. Riskin Associates is once again reminded of what wonderful places Montecito and Santa Barbara are to live, with something fun (and often delicious!) happening in the community every week!

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Wine Country Chic

1575Alisos_vineyardoaktree
1575Alisos_vineyardoaktree

With Spring having officially sprung, the buds are starting to bloom and abundant greenery surrounds us here in Montecito. The climate is one of the most enviable qualities of this fantastic area, and with weather permitting a variety of wonderful options for leisure, its no surprise that wine-making is a popular one! And it seems SoCal is not the only place seeing a surge in wine-making popularity, people (from places) all over the world are getting in on the action, celebrities to suite-clad professionals are snatching up established vineyards or taking the plunge to start their own. Riskin Associates affiliate, Christie's International Real Estate released an article by Zoe Dare Hall offering insight into the mind of amateur vintners, "For Hollywood stars, vineyards are the latest must-have accessory" writes Hall. And she's right; From Brad and Angelina's in the South of France to Soccer star David Beckham's private-consumption only Napa Valley vineyard, celebrity vineyards are popping up all over the world. A little closer to home, recording artist Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson of the Black Eyed Peas owns Ferguson Crest, a wine venture she owns with her father,  in the Santa Ynez Valley.

1575Alisos_redgrapes
1575Alisos_redgrapes

But actors, supermodels and rock stars aren't the only ones starting their own vineyards, Hall also notes that Chinese industrialists consider a fine winery a "trophy asset" and ex-hedge fund managers looking for a lifestyle change flock to the serenity and relaxation strolling through vineyards and sipping on the fruits of one's labor can bring. But if you're interested in more than a leisurely stroll as an investment return, vineyards have potential to produce financial returns as well. Peter Shakeshaft, founder of Vin-X Limited, a fine wine specialist in the UK, tells Hall, "Wine has seen double-digit growth every year for the past 50 years." 

Whether purchasing a turnkey vineyard or starting from scratch, amateurs are not alone, according to Hall 70% of vineyard buyers in France are new to the industry - and if they can do it France, you can do it here too. The Santa Ynez Valley, only 40 minutes outside of Santa Barbara and under 3 hours from Los Angeles, offers a lovely setting to try your hand at producing your own wine. Riskin Associates offers the opportunity to purchase an award-winning vineyard, the 108-acre Vogelzang vineyard is located in the heart of "Santa Barbara wine country" and offers fantastic opportunity to build your dream estate. If you are an epicurean at heart, Santa Barbara and the surrounding coastal communities is a perfect - and chic - location to begin your wine-making adventure!

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vogelzang vines make award-winning wines

If you'll excuse the rhyming title, we want to take a moment to announce some exciting news. One of our vineyard listings, the phenomenal Vogelzang vineyard property in Happy Canyon, has recently received some widespread recognition for its world-famous wines.

- Their 2009 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve was selected to be poured for the leaders of the Free World last weekend at the NATO G-8 Summit intimate leaders only banquet in Chicago's Soldier Field.

- Their 2010 Birdsong Sauvignon Blanc was rated 91 by Wine Spectator in their advanced issue coming public in June.

- Their 2010 Viognier Reserve was selected in January 2012, by Tony Asnault, Executive Chef at Patina in LA (Four Michelin Stars) and served with his creations at The James Beard Foundation, NYC.

- Their 2010 Birdsong Viognier was chosen this week to represent California Viognier at the Court of Master Sommeliers at the Bellagio in Las Vegas May 29-31.

We love that there's so much more to this property than looks alone; and, as we're sure you can see, it has no lack of aesthetic beauty.  Click on any of the photos to see the property's page on our site.

vogelzang white grapes

 

 

 

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Our Montecito Holiday Gift Guide

Montecito Holiday Gift Guide1. Lend some warmth to your loved ones with the Hermés lightweight jacquard blanket. The equestrian print fits perfectly in a Hope Ranch estate or a Montecito Country Estate, not to mention, the Hermés family are Montecito residents. Hermes Finish Blanket, $1850

2. This Jo Malone candle will turn a house into a home with one flick of a match. Bring one when you visit your favorite hostess. Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Luxury Candle, $400

3. Look locally for the bottle of vino that will wow even the most discerning wine connoisseur. With Jonata's luxurious cab, you can bet you'll bring something new to the table (and to your friends' palates)-- the ultra exclusive winery is one of the best-kept secrets of the California wine industry. Jonata Wines 2008 El Desafio de Jonata, Cabernet Sauvignon, $125

4. Montecito's beaches wouldn't be the same without the its residents' ubiquitous, beloved pooches. A bed with graphics as appealing as luxury pet brand, Blueblood's, not only makes a great gift for Fido, but looks wonderful in a Montecito beach estate. Blueblood "Cardiff By The Sea" Trellis Bed, $105-210

5. Wrap an electronic gift as exquisitely as possible with Chloe's tablet case. The tassels add a touch of couture to the simply sleek design. Chloé Leather iPad Case, $600

6. Local jeweler Daniel Gibbings presents an African-style, gold-and-silver confection. The exotic look honors the bohemian-chic style Montecito has become known for. Daniel Gibbings Safari Five Strand Cross Gold and Silver Elephant Hair Bracelet, $245

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