Not long afterward, I started going to several wine clubs. Initially, it was at the request of my friend. Then, I started to get into it. Sure, I’d seen the 2004 movie “Sideways,” which was set and filmed in the Santa Ynez Valley (beautiful country, by the way), but I didn’t have any idea about what wine was about until I started day tripping in the valley.
Now, not only do I know a little something about wine, I have my favorite wine club. Artiste. It’s in Santa Ynez and a really a fun place to visit. Billed as an "Impressionist winery and tasting studio," Artiste is a cool, informal mix of art and wine. You can sip and admire some of the artwork displayed. You can sit and play a game of chess, or backgammon, as you sip your “chard.” And you can even paint on one of the easels or sketch if you care to — between sips of Merlot.
Of course you can see the “wine snobs,” who want to let you know that they know about wines, but for the most part, people who visit just want to have a good time.
The staff is cheerful and friendly, especially to club members and other "regulars."
And even if I don't consider myself an expert, I think I've learned enough about wine to "navigate" comfortably.
It's a long way from Boone's Farm, though.