Santa Barbara native and certified sommelier Kyle Erickson joins the team at Alisal Guest Ranch & Resort as the new food & beverage director. Bringing his noteworthy experience in the wine and spirits industry, he works in tandem with Executive Chef Anthony Endy to elevate Alisal’s already reputable food and beverage program. He strives to incorporate his passion and knowledge of the region in his approach to his new role at the Ranch.
“We really want to show off the Central Coast,” Erickson says. “I want to be on the forefront of championing the trailblazers who are putting Santa Barbara on the map.”
In his first month at Alisal, Erickson has already taken steps to integrate local wine into the food and beverage program, working closely with Chef Endy to ensure the wine program and menus cohesively feature the best purveyors in the region. Erickson has also added a sommelier spotlight on Alisal’s wine list with notes of horizontals and verticals provided by featured wineries. On top of this, he has introduced a quarterly winemaker dinner series open to the public and has expanded the cocktail offerings at Alisal’s iconic Oak Room bar.
“My aim is to make sure that we are doing everything we can to be stewards of the region by highlighting local wines and prominently featuring them at the Ranch.”
Erickson’s restaurant roots begin in the Santa Ynez Valley, with his first role as a restaurant manager and wine buyer for The Red Barn Steakhouse, later moving to The Wine Cask where he met Alisal’s Executive Chef, Anthony Endy. During his time at The Wine Cask, he developed skills in the global fine wine scene and was inspired to be certified as a sommelier. Once obtaining certification, Erickson moved to Arizona to work for Fox Restaurant Concepts to develop and open their new restaurant space, Olive & Ivy.
Over a year later, Erickson moved back to his hometown of Santa Barbara to transition as General Manager and Wine Buyer for The Hungry Cat. While in this role, Erickson began selling wine part time under Martine’s Wines portfolio and others. Through this experience, Erickson met his former partner Ted Vance, forming Vance Erickson Fine Wine Brokers out of Santa Barbara. His robust experience and connections in the industry has led to his early success at Alisal.
“I am grateful for the relationships that I’ve fostered over the years. They inspire me to support the founders of the Santa Barbara wine industry.”
Erickson is a passionate advocate for local legends in the industry who are continuously gaining notoriety for Santa Barbara County wines both regionally and globally. The original Santa Barbara winemakers are still active in the winemaking process today and Erickson aims to highlight their accomplishments when possible, sharing stoires of their craft and expertise.
As locals, both Erickson and Endy are proud to show up to the 10,500-acre Santa Ynez Valley ranch for work every day. Erickson says, “we both grew up in the region and being a part of the Alisal team is a dream come true.” Erickson currently resides in Solvang, CA, with his wife and two young children and aspires to continue training and acquire Master Sommelier certification.
Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort has long been considered the premier full-service guest ranch for couples, families, and conferences since it opened in 1946. This secluded hideaway is one of the few places where time seems reluctant to move forward. Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort offers 73 telephone-and-television-free guest cottages and suites, more than 50 miles of horseback riding trails, two 18 hole championship golf courses, a 6500 square foot spa and fitness center, six tennis courts and a 100-acre spring-fed lake with water sports, including fly fishing, canoeing and kayaking.