On Thursday, Santa Barbara’s wine region will receive a trailblazing wine, bar and fine food enterprise in the form of the new BOTTLEST Winery, Bar & Bistro, a full-service restaurant, bar and winery operation debuting in Buellton, California.
The hospitality space, located adjacent to Terravant Wine Company’s winery facility, inhabits the outgoing “Terravant Winery Restaurant” (a.k.a. “Avant”), which has undergone a design and menu overhaul in addition to receiving a new team in the kitchen, new management, new front-of-house staff, a dedicated Sommelier, and a full bar, with a signature cocktail mixology program. Bottlest anchors the south end of Buellton’s burgeoning Industrial Way, an urban-industrial district becoming synonymous with food and drink due to its concentration of wineries and wine tasting rooms, craft distilleries and breweries, and gourmet restaurants and bake shops.
Bottlest features Lunch, Mid-Day (3 to 5 p.m.) and Dinner menus with frequently-changing dishes constructed from seasonal, locally-sourced produce, highest-quality natural meats, and local seafood. The “wine country bistro” fare—prepared with classic French techniques, complemented by avant-garde culinary processes like molecular gastronomy and sous vide—is accented by modern California flair. Bottlest also boasts a separate Bar Menu, with comforting, classic foods for a more casual dining option.
Overseeing the menus is Executive Chef Owen Hanavan, who comes to Bottlest from Santa Barbara dining phenom Barbareño, where, as Head Chef, he opened the restaurant. Chef Hanavan’s culinary résumé also includes time spent at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara and the Michelin-starred COI Restaurant, in San Francisco, among other stops.
“Bottlest is an exclusive opportunity for a Chef in the Santa Ynez Valley. I get to create food that becomes an integral part of the ultimate wine country experience, and I get to work with a world-class Somm, to pair my food with our wines,” says Bottlest’s Executive Chef, Owen Hanavan.
Working in conjunction with Chef Hanavan is General Manager and Certified Sommelier, Vlada Stojanov. Stojanov arrives at Bottlest post-Bacara Resort Santa Barbara, where he managed the resort’s beverage program and rebuilt the on-site restaurant’s wine cellar. Stojanov’s wine and hospitality career highlights include his work in high-end, international resort locales such as Eastern Europe and Cancún; and stateside, in Lake Tahoe and Martha’s Vineyard.
A wine world award-winner and active participant in select competitions, Stojanov recently earned a finalist spot in the 2017 Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Sommeliers Far West Regional Competition, and will travel to Vienna in May 2017 to compete in the European Sommelier Championship.
Terravant Wine Company’s President, Lew Eisaguirre, explained, “Our motivation for the name ‘Bottlest’ is derived from Terravant’s many-year history of sourcing ultra-premium varietals and grapes from all over world—and our desire to ‘bottle’ the best of those wines. We realized this opportunity to custom craft a unique wine country experience, by creating a restaurant that parallels the quality of Terravant’s wines and showcases the hundreds of wines produced at this state-of-the-art winery.”
Exemplifying Bottlest’s custom-crafted wine country experience, is the venue’s focal point in the form of a 52-bottle “Wine Wall,” a Napa Technology WineStation system dispensing 52 ever-changing wine tasting options available as one ounce tastes, half-glasses or full glasses.
The Bottlest wine program also entails, in part, “Bottlest” branded wines. Created by the Bottlest restaurant and wine team, and powered by Terravant Wine Company, Bottlest wines are deliberately sourced from some of the world’s most renowned growing regions, selected to specifically represent the brand.
Stojanov adds, “What appealed to me about Bottlest, was the incredible grape and wine sourcing capabilities. Here, I have access to representative styles from every major wine growing region. I look forward to working with Chef Owen to create sensory experiences that combine great wine with custom-crafted food.”
The Bottlest restaurant wine list also includes numerous offerings from non-Bottlest branded wineries at a wide range of price-points, including both local selections and luxury-level international wines, offering fine wine seekers a singular wine tasting experience in the Santa Ynez Valley.
The Bottlest wine list will run deep when it comes to local representation providing what Stojanov calls “a liquid history” of Santa Barbara Wine Country, showcasing a rotating roster of local producers’ rare library wines in vintages dating back to the beginnings of the viticultural area. Bottlest also features a wine retail section, allowing guests to take a piece of the Bottlest experience “to go.”
Rounding out the new Bottlest team is Consulting Chef De Cuisine, Barton Jones. Jones’ innovative, entrepreneurial and edgy restaurant and bar experience garnered in cities like Boston, New York and Denver, brings progressive culinary techniques to Bottlest’s food and drink menu items, complementing Chef Hanavan’s style and what the kitchen produces.
Bottlest’s menu items run the carefully-considered gamut from starters like lamb meatballs served on a “potato chip”, to pork belly with sunchoke and apple gastrique; to dynamic ingredient-laden mains such as Sumac Rack of Lamb (with farro, roasted beets, tzatziki, red wine sauce), Jidori Chicken (whipped potato, kohlrabi noodles, grapefruit, chicken jus), and the NY Strip (sousbise, duck fat potato, chimichurri, crispy leeks). Bottlest also revived some locally-favorite items – such as bacon-wrapped dates with goat cheese, a Steak Burger (bacon jam, gruyere, aioli, on brioche), and playful pizzas like “The California” (with chicken confit, fontina) – offering more casual dining in the bar, at lunch and late-night.
Inventive desserts include the likes of “The Chronic” (white chocolate cranberry semifreddo tossed with popcorn and white chocolate ganache) and a house-made California Bay Leaf Ice Cream.
In the coming months, the existing Terravant Wine Club will be replaced with the “Bottlest Club,” which will function as a “wine and dine” club membership: Bottlest Club members will be afforded a restaurant membership of sorts, akin to a private club membership (further details TBA).
Bottlest also serves as a physical component to a new web-based wine business, Bottlest.com. Bottlest.com, currently in Beta, is the first on-line experience allowing consumers to custom craft wine from start to finish, based on their personal preferences.