The Long-Awaited Tasting Room in Buellton Makes Hitching Post Wines Available to the Audience Exploring the Popular Santa Barbara Wine Country
BUELLTON, California; August 20, 2018 – Frank and Jami Ostini and Gray and Charlotte Hartley announce the opening of their new tasting room, Hitching Post Wines on August 20, 2018, at 420 East Highway 246 in Buellton, located next door to the famed Hitching Post 2 restaurant. Hitching Post Wines is their first-ever tasting room and is complemented by Hitching Post 2’s take-out and delivery menu, offering lunch for guests of the tasting room and picnic grounds.
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.
In 1981 they discovered the wonders of Santa Barbara Pinot Noir; since then Pinot has been their primary focus. Their flagship wine is the Hitching Post Highliner. The “Highliner” is the best fishermen in the fleet, and this name honors the great men of the Alaskan Salmon Fishery alongside whom Gray Hartley worked for 28 years. A special wine, Highliner is meant to be the “best of their fleet” of Pinot Noirs. Along with ten selections of Pinot Noir, Hitching Post produces a dry Rosé called Pinks, a Syrah, and a Merlot-based red named Gen Red. Then came Sideways in 2004, the Academy Award® winning film set in Santa Barbara wine country, prominently featuring The Hitching Post 2 and Hitching Post Wines. Since exposure in the movie, Hitching Post wines have gained in popularity. Currently, the winery has 12,000 barrels and produces about 17,000 cases a year.
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.
Hitching Post Wines would not be complete without the added flavor of Hitching Post 2’s Santa Maria Style BBQ food pairings to enjoy while tasting. Classic crowd-pleasing favorites served from the restaurant include HP Burgers; Triple-Fried French Fries; Santa Maria BBQ Artichokes; and Grilled Corn Quesadillas. Coming soon, the public will experience an expanded lunch menu served from a refurbished 1970s Vintage Airstream trailer, relocated from Seaside, Florida, and converted into a first-class Santa Maria BBQ kitchen on wheels.
Hitching Post Wines is set in a mid-century farmhouse off the 246 Highway with trailing walkways and outdoor seating areas banking a view of the Santa Ynez Mountain landscape. The tasting room building covers 2,000 square feet and sits on nearly twelve acres of land, landscaped by red oak trees, including a 200-year-old tree greeting passers-by in the front of the property. Rustic corral fencing frames the building and main property and encloses a red bark-covered landscape with decomposed granite and native plants scattered with picnic tables and ample seating areas covered by shade screens.
The charming cottage has a gray exterior trimmed in white accents and window shutters. Guests first view a cast iron Hitching Post brand inlaid into the polished concrete floor when entering the front door. To the west, the main tasting room boasts original oak floors and a fireplace dating from before 1950. The color palette includes warm stone grays with details of white, copper and bronze. To the east, there is a private tasting room ensconced in gray wainscoting accented by a distressed corrugated tin ceiling. Separating the two wings is a secondary tasting room showcasing historical photos of Frank Ostini and Gray Hartley with a timeline of Hitching Post wines. The tasting bars are covered in burnished copper and composed of repurposed barn-wood siding, copper piping footrests and illuminated by oil-rubbed bronzed and copper farmhouse hanging fixtures.
Throughout the property are walkways and casual picnic areas that invite guests to linger over a bottle of wine while taking in the dramatic Santa Ynez Mountains and river landscape. Dogs with attending families are welcome.
The property has a storied history. Owned by the family of Judith Evert Dale, her parents, Loren and Lillian Evert purchased it in 1954 along with the land where the Hitching Post 2 sits. Loren, a commercial dahlia bulb farmer, built their home in Anaheim. When they moved to Buellton, he tore the house down board by board and relocated it by truck in 23 loads to The Hitching Post 2 location. The lumber stood in a pile by the barn until he built it into the building that exists today. Daughter Judith was born in Anaheim and was raised in the home that is now the tasting room. The Everts operated The Hitching Post 2 building as a gift shop and produce stand in the 1950s. Next door to The Hitching Post 2, her father built another building to serve as a nursery – Evert’s Rainbow Ranch – designed to be a twin to the original building. Due to the growth of Vandenberg Air Force Base and the influx of homes built in nearby Lompoc, there was a necessity for businesses that young families could turn to when setting up their new homes in the Santa Ynez Valley. This building is now Santa Barbara Airstream next to The Hitching Post 2.
In the coming months, development of Hitching Post Wines will include the phase two restoration of the rear building into a public wine bar with an enclosed patio overlooking the river with mountain views and a natural stage, ideal for live performances. The classic Airstream trailer and Hitching Post Santa Maria grills will offer a broader menu, cooked onsite surrounding by casual seating. Also planned is a phase three restoration and remodel of the original barn that oversees the Santa Ynez Mountains specifically for private Hitching Post events.
Operating hours for Hitching Post Wines are Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. Food service from The Hitching Post 2 is available from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. with limited cheese and charcuterie available for purchase in the tasting room.
1st Row: Hitching Post Wines Exterior; Hitching Post Wines Interior
2nd Row: Frank Ostini and Olive deliver lunch; l-r Frank Ostini, Jami Ostini, Charlotte Hartley
3rd Row: Hitching Post Wines Interior; The Hitching Post Burger and Triple Fried Fries
photo credit Rob Stark
ABOUT THE HITCHING POST 2 RESTAURANT AND WINERY:
The Hitching Post was founded by Frank and Natalie Ostini in Casmalia, California in 1952, specializing in “Santa Maria Style Barbeque,” a California ritual stemming from the culture of the Native American Chumash and the Spanish Rancheros who cooked over the heat of a fragrant red oak wood fire. Son Frank Ostini Jr. is the owner of The Hitching Post 2, opened in Buellton, California in 1986. Ostini, renowned as both a nationally respected chef and winemaker, showcases the tradition of the highest-quality Santa Maria Barbeque paired with the enjoyment of the region’s best Pinot Noir wines. The Hitching Post 2 became internationally recognized with the 2004 Academy Award-winning film Sideways and has been earning praise for its food and wines for over three decades. The restaurant and wines have been featured in Gourmet, Newsweek, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Wine Spectator, Sunset, Santa Barbara Independent, Santa Barbara News-Press, Los Angeles Magazine, Decanter, Zagat, Eater, and Thrillist, among others. The restaurant was the recipient of the 2010 National Food Service Beef Backer Award.
HITCHING POST WINES
420 East Highway 246, Buellton, CA 93427
For updates on the opening the public can visit: www.hitchingpost2.com/hitchingpostwinery
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For information on the Hitching Post 2 restaurant visit: www.hitchingpost2.com