Show 312, February 23, 2019: Winemakers Gray Hartley and Chef Frank Ostini, Hitching Post Wines, Buellton

Frank Ostini and Gray HartleyIt’s hard to believe but before last year Hitching Post Wines (made famous in the Oscar-winning 2004 feature motion picture, Sideways,) never had a tasting room. That all changed for the better last year when acclaimed winemakers Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini debuted a mid-century farmhouse, destination Tasting Room (with lunch service delivered from Hitching Post 2) adjacent to Chef Ostini’s Hitching Post 2 restaurant in Buellton.

Leading the Hitching Post Wines team are the creators and two long-time friends, Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini, who have been making wines in Santa Barbara County, California since 1979. Long before Hollywood discovered the winemaking landmark and its excellent wines, Gray Hartley, a former Alaskan salmon fisherman and Frank Ostini, chef and owner of the famed Hitching Post 2 Restaurant in Buellton, were brought together by their love of wine and winemaking. Over the years their backyard hobby has turned into a highly acclaimed winemaking enterprise.

A special quality of Hitching Post Wines Tasting Room is the back patio area and the expansive picnic grounds with incredible valley views. The “HP 2 You” Lunch comes over piping hot from the Hitching Post 2 restaurant. Enjoy specialties including Grilled Artichoke with Smoked Tomato Mayo and the Oak Grilled Cheeseburger. Appetizers (HP Steak Bites & more) are served daily after 2:30 p.m. until close.

Most of the Hitching Post Wines are available by the glass in the picnic area alfresco. The various Tasting Flights (Traditional and Reserve Tasting) are available inside the front HPW Tasting Room.

Gray & Frank pop the cork on a bottle of their signature Highliner for us.

Play

Show 288, September 1, 2018: Chef Frank Ostini, Hitching Post 2 and Hitching Post Wines, Buellton

Frank OstiniChef Frank Ostini’s Hitching Post 2 restaurant in Buellton is a beloved local institution known for incredible Santa Maria – style BBQ. Chef Frank and Gray Hartley are the creators and winemakers of Hitching Post Wines (Highliner Pinot Noir) made famous around the world in the Academy Award-winning feature motion picture, Sideways, released in 2004.

Surprisingly there has never been a Hitching Post Wines Tasting Room until just recently. Chef Frank Ostini takes us on a tour of the Hitching Post Wines Tasting Room conveniently located next door to the Restaurant on E. Highway 246 in Buellton.

Lunch (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily) for the Tasting Room (and wine pairings) will initially come (via a custom delivery tricycle) from the kitchen at the adjacent Hitching Post 2 restaurant known for Santa Maria-style BBQ. Look for HP Burgers, Triple-Fried French Fries, Santa Maria BBQ Artichokes and Grilled Corn Quesadillas. In the next phase a restored and converted Airstream kitchen trailer along with HP Santa Maria grills will be onsite and offering a broader menu.

There is quite a fascinating history to the picturesque, expanded property.

Play

Show 288, September 1, 2018: Chef Frank Ostini, Hitching Post 2 and Hitching Post Wines, Buellton Continues…

Frank Ostini“Leading the Hitching Post Wines team are the creators and two long-time friends, Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini, who have been making wines in Santa Barbara County, California since 1979. Long before Hollywood discovered the winemaking landmark and its excellent wines, Gray Hartley, a former Alaskan salmon fisherman and Frank Ostini, chef and owner of the famed Hitching Post 2 Restaurant in Buellton, were brought together by their love of wine and winemaking. Over the years their backyard hobby has turned into a highly acclaimed winemaking enterprise.”

“Hartley and Ostini strive to create flavorful handcrafted wines that possess poise and balance, putting a slice of Santa Barbara in each glass, and a piece of their soul in every bottle of Hitching Post. The Traditional Tasting at Hitching Post Wines offers a flight of five Hitching Post Wines consisting of Pinks 2017; Hometown Pinot Noir 2016; Cork Dancer Pinot Noir 2015; Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir 2015; and Gen Red 2016 priced at $15 per guest. A Reserve Tasting, priced at $20, includes five wines – Highliner Pinot Noir 2015; Perfect Set Pinot Noir 2015; Bien Nacido Pinot Noir 2015; Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir 2015; and Four Top 2012. The caveat of the Reserve Tasting will be its ever-changing menu featuring rare single-vineyard bottling and special older vintages of Hitching Post.”

“For those seeking the ultimate experience, Hitching Post Wines offers customized Private Winemaker Tastings with Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini for $60 per guest and by appointment only.”

Play

Show 265, March 17, 2018: Gray Hartley, Founder & Co-Winemaker, Hitching Post Wines, Buellton

Gray HartleyHartley-Ostini Hitching Post Wines are made by Buellton Hitching Post owner / chef Frank Ostini (made famous in in the Oscar-winning feature “Sideways”) and his good friend, former fisherman Gray Hartley. Frank and Gray first made wine at home in 1979. They found their first Pinot Noir in 1981. The project moved to a winery in 1984 to make wines exclusively for the Hitching Post Restaurant.

Their passioned focus has been to work with the California Central Coast’s best vineyards producing many Pinot Noirs, a couple Syrahs and a red blend of Merlot named Gen Red. They also produce a dry barrel fermented rose named Pinks.

Hitching Post Wines strives to create handcrafted, flavorful wines that possess poise and balance so that they may complement the food at Chef Frank Ostini’s wildly popular Hitching Post Restaurant.

Co-Winemaker & Partner, Gray Hartley pulls the cork for us.

Play

Show 265, March 17, 2018: Gray Hartley, Founder & Co-Winemaker, Hitching Post Wines, Buellton Continues..

Gray HartleyFrank Ostini and Gray Hartley of Hitching Post Wines believe that great wines are made in the vineyard. Their winemaking philosophy is that they are caretakers who guide the wine into the bottle. As the wine matures it is simply left to gently age in the barrel. This minimalist approach allows Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Wines to reflect the character of the vineyard and the vintage, preserving the essence of the grape for you to enjoy when you open the bottle.

Hitching Post Wines are admired by those who appreciate Santa Barbara wines for their fresh fruit, spice, earthy complexities, and refreshing acidity. Their goal is to put a “slice of Santa Barbara County in each bottle and a piece of their soul in every glass of Hitching Post Wine.”

“Highliner is the “Best fisherman in the fleet” and our flagship Santa Barbara Pinot Noir. Each vintage is crafted from our best vineyards and best barrels.” Highliner was featured in the 2014 Oscar-winning film, “Sideways” that brought international attention to the Hitching Post brand.

“Sideways” was based on a (then unpublished) novel by author Rex Pickett who really enjoyed hanging out at Hitching Post restaurant and savoring ample glasses of pinot noir. Gray shares the unlikely story of what happened thereafter.

“We shaped this cuvee to include mostly Bien Nacido, Sanford & Benedict, and Fiddlestix Vineyards grapes. Delicious today with flavors of red cherry, plum, mint, white pepper sand blood orange, this Highliner (2014) is destined to give pleasure for many years.”

Play

Show 98, November 22, 2014: Stagecoach Co. Wine Tours / Wine Tours Santa Ynez Valley

Eric John ReynoldsThe primo attraction in California’s charmingly rural Santa Ynez Valley is the diversity of noteworthy wineries. The wine trail there includes Los Alamos, Buellton, Solvang, Ballard, Los Olivos and Santa Ynez. How do you navigate the Valley? The “SoCal Restaurant Show” recently left that in the expert hands of Stagecoach Co. Wine Tours, based right there.

All of their accommodating hosts have Level One sommelier training and are treated as VIPs at the carefully selected wineries included on the tour. As a Stagecoach Co. Wine Tours guest you are guaranteed a warm welcome at each of the four carefully selected winery stops. A picnic lunch is part of excursion and you get picked up at your hotel. Some of their personable hosts have actually managed winery tasting rooms.

“Just sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty and wonderful boutique wineries that Santa Barbara wine country has to offer.”

We’ll meet the proprietor and founder, Eric John Reynolds.

Play