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Santa Barbara, CA, United States
I enjoy creating original wine-pairing recipes that are healthful and delicious. I work for Touring & Tasting a Santa Barbara based wine club and national magazine as Food Editor. However, I am not paid for this blog and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. I received my Personal Chef Skills Competency Award from the SBCC's School Of Culinary Arts. In 2012, I started Inside Wine - Santa Barbara with pal Lila Brown which features wine tastings with winery owners and winemakers. I also serve on the Board of the Santa Barbara Culinary Arts group, which had Julia Child as one of the founding members and funds scholarships for SBCC culinary students in her name.

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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Innovative Way to Taste Wines at Avant Tapas in Santa Ynez Valley

Joe Padilla of Avant Tapas
Joe Padilla, the proprietor of Avant Tapas, is forward-thinking. With 20 years experience in the wine and hospitality business, he had the creative vision to buy into a custom crush facility, then create a tapas restaurant and wine bar next to it--a vibrant, fun place to taste wine paired with fresh cuisine.

One wall of windows overlooks the state-of-the-art custom crush facility where 30 wineries make their wine. They have use of the best machinery and technology, including a lab and enology team. Terravant, the custom crush facility, also makes private label wines for big-name customers like Whole Foods and Winn-Dixie, plus their own Insomnia #16 is the best-selling wine in the US.

interior Avant TapasAlong an adjacent wall in the stylish space is a row of high-tech wine dispensers offering pours of 15 highly-acclaimed wineries like Ken Brown, Hitching Post and Sort This Out Cellars. Behind-the-scenes, argon tanks are connected to each wine bottle, with the neutral gas preventing oxygen from contacting the surface of the wine, keeping it as fresh as newly opened wine. On weekends, Avant Tapas is so busy, there is one employee who just switches out wine bottles!
Lila of Inside Wine Santa Barbara

With a swipe card, you can sample a full pour, half or quarter pour. This ingenious wine wall is a lot of fun--we were able to sample 6 wines between us, without impairing our driving. We ordered three tapas--a generous beet and pistachio salad, artichoke pizza with a perfect chewy crust and baked brie. We appreciated the freshness of the ingredients--Joe told us produce is purchased at the local farmer's market or local producers. All the beef, chicken and pork is sourced from Santa Barbara County. We each took home a doggie bag for lunch next day from our very reasonable lunch at Avant Tapas. We will definitely be back! With grape harvest coming up, this will be THE place to watch the fermentation and bottling process.
                                      Avant Tapas cuisine
Read more about Avant Tapas, including hours and location: here

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