Artiste Tasting Studios
In the heart of the romantic town of Los Olivos in the Santa Ynez Valley, among quaint shops and restaurants, lies the Artiste Tasting Studios. Upon entering the inviting French doors of the rustic red building, you get a feast for the senses.
The Artiste Winery and Tasting Studio, inspired by Hotel Baudy in Giverny France, is a place where art and wine can be enjoyed together. The Artiste Tasting Studios provides an 1880s impressionist art studio experience where you may taste Artiste wines in a casual atmosphere surrounded by beautiful works of art both on the walls and on the wine bottles. The oil paints beckon visitors to create their own masterpieces. Guests are encouraged to paint or write poetry in journals and if need should arise to brush up on painting skills, there are weekly classes offered at the studio.
When we sat down on a cozy couch in the corner of the tasting studio with Bion Rice, his eyes sparkled as he recounted the founding of Artiste and his winemaking philosophy. His partner John was busily putting the finishing touches of the faux paint of the studio wall. Bion Rice, a second-generation winemaker, founded Artiste in 2002 with an emphasis on “cuvee” wine production and a reportoir of approximately ten wines, that are only available in the tasting room. His partners John Poulos, Tom O’Higgins, and Matt Hahn each bring their diverse backgrounds to Artiste, but they are unified in their commitment to quality.
In the late 1990s, Rice discovered his passion for winemaking at his family’s Sunstone Winery, where he honed his skills at assemblage, or the blending of wines to yield complex cuvees. California vintages and varietals from extraordinary winegrowers and winemakers are artfully combined by Rice to compose neo-classical blends called “impressionist cuvees” that capture blend orld world style with the new.
The Tasting room was once located in the old town Santa Ynez, but has moved to Los Olivos.
Several of the bottles showcase the work of Aldo Luongo, official artist for The Olympic Committee at the 1988 Summer Games, Aldo’s compelling Aguilucho or The Hawk, is a self portrait of the artist with the character of his future self. We love the traditional high quality glass bottles that have been sealed with the finest cork and hand waxed, and it looks quiet impressive when we open one of these front of our family or friends. Even the names of the wines reflect the art that is on the label, like the red blends Nella Colline and Red Rooftop Tiles. Nella Colline is a neo classical blend of Nebbiolo, Barbera and Merlot. The label depicts a wine painting by general manager and artist Christina LoCascio. From seven entries to the International Wine Competition at the L.A. County, Artiste earned two Gold, two Silver, and two Bronze medals. Artiste’s highly sought-after wines are limited productions of less than 300 cases each and are exclusively available through Artiste Tasting Studio, at winemaker dinners, and select restaurants.
So if you like a blend make sure you get a few bottles because you may not be able to find it upon your next visit.
Public Tasting hours (effective 3/1/15):
Daily 11am-5:30pm (Last tasting at 5:15pm)
Tasting fee: $15.00*
Artiste Tasting Studios
2948 Grand Ave. Studio E
Los Olivos, CA 93441