Tim Bristol on September 7, 2010
I offer Artiste Winery as a fun, original, and comfortable place to taste excellent wine. The wines are blends of various grapes and are made with loving care by Bion Rice. Artiste's wines are fittingly blended, named and labeled as inspired by the original artwork of numerous fine artists. As an Artiste wine club member it has been a privilege to regularly taste Bion's wine creations. I have marveled at the subtle changes in various blends as they mature month-by-month. Most wine aficianados should be able to take pleasure in the ranges of taste and variety offered at Artiste.
Artiste further distinguishes itself through the display of artwork in the tasting rooms, and offers visitors the chance to create their own paintings (even your own label, possibly-ask the staff). Artiste hosts terrific parties for new wine releases & artist receptions, with delectable food/wine pairings and a festive atmosphere.
Artiste's employees are among the most friendly and accommodating wine industry workers I've encountered. They are generous with their knowledge of the blends, not snooty or patronizing. The friendly staff seem to embrace a notion of visitors being a part of a large and growing family. It all adds up to Artiste being very worthy of its vision.Jessica Isley, 2010:
If you are looking for something fun and different in the Santa Ynez Valley, this is the winery to visit! The tasting room is a comfortable space to taste the delicious wines while creating art! There are easels set up around for you to find your inner creativity! As a member of the wine club, I can say I look forward to every shipment. The wax top bottles with unique works of art make perfect gift for anyone who loves wine. I took 3 of my girlfriends there on a wine tasting trip last summer and the staff alone is a reason to come back. Everyone was so friendly, we had a great afternoon. If you get a chance, stop by and check it out!!Anthony Link on February 24, 2010
If you are not familiar with OBTN you should be. Great opportunity to promote fine wines like Artiste. Just Google it and you will find out what it is all about. Last year we had friends over for OBTN and we drank 5 bottles of Artiste. We have 4 bottles... set aside for this Saturday's celebration of OBTN.
Testimonials from 2009:
I have been enjoying Artiste wine since it's inception - not only is the wine itself interesting and complex, but the actual bottle presentation is beautiful as well! Selfishly, I would love to keep it all for just me but have found it to be the greatest gift! I have signed up many a friend and family member for Club Artiste to rave reviews - the gift really is something no one can forget! Thanks to Bion and the Artiste family for putting soul into this wine! Look forward to many more years to come! And many more bottles!Dale Stein:
Our wine group has been meeting and tasting wine every other month for the past five years and this last Friday we did a tasting of your wines. Just wanted to let you know we all enjoyed the wines and the artwork. Thanks.
I have been a wine club member since 2005 (I think!) and have always loved Artiste wines and the tasting room in Santa Ynez. We have brought friends and family, many of whom are also members! We head up from LA quarterly and I just wanted to let you know that what you're doing in '09 is truly awesome! We've quit many wine clubs lately due to the economy, but I am certain we'll be at Artiste for years to come :)
Steven Bender of Solvang:
My wife, Lou Ann, and I live in Solvang, keep our horses in the Santa Rita Hills appellation, love wine, belong to about a dozen wineries, and often visit the others. We have friends at many of these wineries and recommend them often. However, when friends visit – no matter where we go – there is one place we always take them – Artiste. The wines are wonderful, the art (on labels and walls) is fabulous, and the Artiste people go out of their way to make you feel at home. They explain the wine, help with pairings, and generally make sure everyone has a good time. Artiste is about the intersection of art and wine, and is an art gallery in addition to a tasting room. The winemaker, Bion Rice, commissions top artists to create paintings (some using wine as paint), which become Artiste labels and are inspiration for each of his wine blends. It is fascinating and the wines quickly become collector’s items – for those that can resist drinking them immediately. A visit to Artiste is also an opportunity to bring out your own inner artist. There are easels, brushes and paint for everyone to play with. A visit to Artiste is great wine, great fun, and a unique experience - not to be missed. Oh – in the wine club we take magnums!
Sonja B. Nelson of Santa Barbara:
Please accept my enthusiastic vote for ARTISTE WINERY in Santa Ynez, CA as my favorite tasting room. Not only are their wines superb, the staff is knowledgeable and very friendly, and the room is an inspiring eclectic artist's gallery and working studio. It is a fabulous setting to savor wonderful wines. They are five-star.
Philip Macdonald of Franklin, Tennessee:
Artiste is the best I’ve come across. The room incorporates changing art landscaped by known artists based on the wine maker’s latest release. Visitors not only can view art chosen for wine releases while enjoying samplings of the meritages assembled, but they’re welcome to pick-up a brush and craft their own design(s). A majestic yet simple and cathartic way to enjoy Artiste and the great ambience they provide!
Amahl Drake of Santa Barbara:
My favorite tasting room EVER is at Artiste Winery in Santa Ynes, California. The entire experience at the tasting room is visually stimulating as well as palate stimulating. It is like walking into an art gallery. There is nothing nicer than coupling fine wines with fine arts. the very talented and charming winemaker, Bion, is always there, engaged with conversations with guests and making sure that everyone is being taken care of; the staff is friendly, organized and extremely knowledgeable not only about the wines they are selling but also about the impressionist art that graces the walls of the tasting rooms. their renowed and talented group of artists-in-residence, produce the unique and gorgeous labels on all the wines ... YOU should go and see the place!! it is addicting. on special occasions when they are releasing new wines with new labels by one of the artists-in-residence, they feature a fun day with an evening party with apetizers complimenting both the wines and the art. the artist is on hand to sign the bottles! what a treasure it is to have a great wine bottle signed by the wine maker and the artist, and sometimes also by the model. those are collectibles!! The wines are always extremely well blended... never a dull moment. it is always exciting to experience the awakening of the palate to the first sip of the tasting. PLEASE go and check it out.
Don Luria of Culinary Wine Tours, AZ:
Just a short note to thank you for our wine tasting at Artiste. Our group was very pleased. Your staff did a great job talking about your wines. That is after we got them away from painting. The painting, by the way, seems to be growing on us! We are beginning to plan for another group in May 2009 and plan to return to Artiste.
Amanda Massucci & Mike Wokosin:
The first time we visited, the winemaker poured our wine. We instantly fell in love with his vision - beautiful wines blended together captured in artwork which becomes the name of the wine and the bottle’s label. With each visit, we enjoy seeing others experience this very unique and special place.
WOW. Bion all I can I say is WOW! One of the best new years eve party I have ever been to. Thank you so much for including us, the port was great and I cant wait to order.... our should I say drink it. Ken was so nice to Carrie and I and so great to talk to. Please thank him again for us. Happy New Year to you and your family. Thank you.
Wow! We experienced a most unexpected pleasure as we stepped over the threshold into Artiste. Believing we had just been teleported to a French Impressionist art studio and salon, our senses were awakened by the visual impact of the surrounding environment. We were totally consumed by the walls of the tasting room which are adorned with paintings and empty frames just yearning to be used. The shelves, haphazardly stocked with art supplies and entertaining gifts of the most unique kind, demanded our attention. In the background, a musician played his soft guitar creating an gentle ambiance that lured us toward cozy sofas. The friendly employees impressed us with their deep knowledge of wines. We loved every minute speaking with Bion Rice (definitely not your mother's "lil' ol' winemaker'!) and Christina LoCascio (resident artist extraordinaire). Bion's true enthusiasm for discovery and adventure with varietals is infectious. The highlight was wandering into Artiste's lovely garden, so reminiscent of Giverney, even I was inspired to paint a picture on a beckoning easel! Ohh....did I mention that every bottle is labeled with gorgeous artwork and sealed with wax? And...ALL eight tastings in the flight (whites, rose, reds) were dynamic and amazing too! The whole place is genuinely inviting.... So much passion and good karma radiate from Artiste -- We can hardly wait to return! Lovely, just lovely.
Hello Bion and staff at Artiste, we thoroughly enjoyed our experience at your "studio" last month (we were part of the Litvak birthday party), and look forward to our shipment this February. Your blended varieties go down very smooth, and we are enjoying the lithographs that accompany the wine. We would like to add a bottle of the port featured this month as we are unable to attend any sampling dates. If you need more information please let us know. Again, thanks for a great memory for many people and we look forward to future events.
Thank you so much for creating a special event for the Saint Gobain team last Thursday. All had a wonderful time - more blending occurred on the bus on the way home and several glasses were broken. By far, the participants enjoyed Artiste the best. I know it was due to you, Christina and Ken's special attention to details and hospitality. The cheese and fruit was a hit as well as the canvas painting. Please share my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Christina and Ken for their help too.
I just got a notice in the mail that I missed a shipment ... That's a tragey as I LOVE the beautiful Artiste wines and don't want to miss a single one!
Cyndi and Bion, I wanted to email and say Thanks for yesterday. It was truly a wonderful day made more so by your lovely winery and gallery. Dave and I enjoy meeting people and yesterday was a great day for that. As I think Dave mentioned, we almost passed by – opting for a more "traditional" winery, but since we were already there and we both like art, we decided to check it out. We are so glad we did. Not only did we get to sample your outstanding wines, but we got to enjoy the art as well (some of which we brought home) ... Anyway – we’re looking forward to our dinner party this coming weekend – with the anticipation of enjoying the wonderful wines we brought home with our friends. In fact, we may open a bottle tonight – you never know. Haha So – thanks again for the experience. We will be back and we will, for sure, recommend Artiste to any and all of our wine loving friends. And we’ll pity those who don’t get into wine. Haha Looking forward to seeing you again.
Dear Cindy: I just wanted to let you know that I just got home and was happily surprised to see that I had received the painting that you had framed for me. I can' thank you enough for doing that for me. I have already hung it in my sitting room and it looks wonderful... as usual. By the way, please make sure and tell Bion that Fredo and I immediately came home Memorial Day and I made the Pizza's from scratch. They came out fantastic! I'm so glad you had the chef there to teach us how to make Pizza's. Say Hi to everyone. Greatfully yours.
First of all, I would like to say thank you for all your wonderful wines. Whenever my husband and I visit Santa Ynez, your wine tasting room is one that is a must go to! This year I joined your wonderful wine club, and thus far I have enjoyed your selection very much. Please keep it up! ...Again, thank you for making great wine and I’ll see you next time I’m in Santa Ynez!
I felt compelled to email you guys to share the wonderful experience we had at your tasting room on Saturday. Somehow I had the dumb luck to have Casey pouring wine for our group of friends when we got there, and not only was she a beautiful girl (which I think always helps the tasting experience, no?) but also extremely knowledgeable about the wine and the people she was catering to. We weren't experts by any means, but she was still happy to answer all of our questions about the wine-no matter how silly they were. We all had a few laughs while there, but also learned a few things about the wine that we were drinking. I won't gush too much, but I hope you all compliment her on a job well done, because I bought a couple of bottles and our group all agreed that we would definitely be ordering from you in the future. Thanks!
Rev. and Mrs. Gary and Wendy Tucker:
WOW !!! ... We are honored to be a part of your (and our only) wine club.... So looking forward to “more to come” information.