“Ryan Carr was part of the original team that moved into the Funk Zone in 2005 to start Cellar 205, a cooperative space that opened the mostly forgotten waterfront neighborhood up to its ongoing tasting room boom. But a couple of years later, Carr needed more space, so he searched across Santa Barbara for a new location.
He found an old Quonset hut on Salsipuedes Street, next door to the recently established Telegraph Brewing Co. The tall and wide building had originally been constructed at the Santa Barbara Airport many miles away for military barracks during World War II, but was moved downtown in the 1950s. Trying to give the impression of a large cave, Carr turned the large warehouse into both a production facility and a tasting room that quickly became one of the more popular places to enjoy wine within the city limits.
Though competition from the Funk Zone and other parts of town has increased dramatically, Carr Winery remains a bustling place, and now features a large outside patio and a private locker storage facility whose members have access to an upstairs lounge. The main tasting room is surrounded by the active winery, with barrels stacked five high near the high-top tables and stools where people relax or listen to live music on weekend nights.
Carr, who is also a vineyard manager, focuses on making single-vineyard wines from seven different sites across the county, including a rare perch above the seaside town of Carpinteria called Paredon Vineyard. He also produces Crosshatch wines, which are co-fermented blends, as well as private labels.
The tasting room is full of things to do while sipping, including shuffleboard and barrel-top backgammon, chess and checkers. Tastings are $20 for five wines that change monthly, usually including two whites, a Pinot Noir and two more reds. Everything is available by the glass or bottle for longer hang time too. There’s also wine on tap that’s often used to refill growlers for the winery’s most dedicated fans.
WHAT TO TRY: Ryan Carr’s meticulous farming is best on display through one of his single-vineyard Pinot Noirs, such as the Yard. Then check out one of the Paredon Vineyard wines, as the Syrah and Grenache are grown in a most challenging place: on a cliff above the seaside town of Carpinteria, with more than 180 degrees of ocean view.”
– Matt Kettman for the San Francisco Chronicle‘s “The Press”