The first sentence of any dialogue about must-do activities in Santa Barbara usually mentions the word “wine.” Sure, there’s plenty else here, but local vineyards do produce some of the best product in the world, and those unfamiliar ought to take advantage of the region’s flavor. To help guide visitors to tastings while not deterring from the rest of the wonderful things to do in Santa Barbara, here are some wine experiences that expand beyond sipping various reds and whites.

Grapes ‘N’ Hops Tour

A wine tour that stands out from the rest, Wine Edventures of Santa Barbara’s “Grapes ‘N’ Hops Tour” combines tastings of over fifteen wines from three boutique wineries with a beer sampler at Figueroa Mountain Brewery, a picnic and vineyard tour.

Eat This Shoot That

A walk through Santa Barbara’s artsy and bustling Funk Zone neighborhood, Eat This Shoot That covers all the bases. The tour group samples local delights like cupcakes at Sugar Cat Studio, beer at Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co, tapas at Red’s Bar, and vino at a several wineries throughout the neighborhood. The tour guide also happens to be a professional photographer who educates your Canon or iPhone pictures along the way.

Captain Jack’s Top Deck Tour

Get ready for a full day with Captain Jack’s Top Deck Tour, which begins with an early morning kayak ride along “Smugglers Cove,” one of the least populated areas of the California coast. Coast by sea lions and dolphins on your way to a picnic and horseback ride through canyons and the Santa Ynez Mountains. This vigorous day will serve as the perfect build-up to a scenic and relaxing wine tasting at a couple of Santa Barbara wineries.

Cupcake Funkday

Alisons Riede, the creator of local bakery sensation Sugar Cat Studio, hosts the delicious Cupcake Funkday every week. The frosting and bubbly connoisseur pairs three mini cupcakes with three sparkling wines for one super-sweet tasting. The event comes is part of the weekly line up from Corks and Crowns, a beloved local wine club with intriguing events every day of the week.

image via flickr