SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- The popular Santa Maria Valley wine trolley returns to action this weekend, ready to transport passengers around to some of the area's favorite wineries, tasting rooms, breweries and other businesses.
"We are very excited that the wine trolley is coming back this year," said Taz Dougherty, Santa Maria Valley Chamber Tourism Coordinator. "We are very excited to go out and be able to take some of our patrons out to different wineries and Old Orcutt to experience local businesses."
The trolley will operate from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. beginning tomorrow on May 13 and continue each weekend through Nov. 26.
"The wine trolley offers you all the transportation you need while you can go out and safely experience the Santa Maria Valley wine country," said Dougherty. "You can go and experience our wineries, our breweries, etc. and have a safe way to get around the area.
Following a two-year stoppage due to the pandemic, last year marked the first time the trolley was abler to operate since 2019
"It's been a huge success," said Dougherty. "Last year, we even did an extension. We were supposed to end in October and we extended it out to November and this year we kept it all the through November."
This year, the route has five different stops and has slightly been altered from the one used in 2022.
"We reversed the route, so you're going to get more wine country up front," said Dougherty. "You're going to do Costa de Oro and Cottonwood Canyon first. You are going to get those two stops in Orcutt to experience the wine bars, the breweries, all the restaurants and shops, and then our new addition this year is going to be Santa Maria Public Market and we are very excited to have them onboard and see them open."
The brand new Santa Maria Public Market celebrated its grand opening today and is ready to welcome in visitors to its location on McCoy Lane.
"I am beyond excited," said Esfuerzo Wines owner Fidencio Flores, who will operate a wine service in the multi-dimensional eatery. "Santa Maria Public Market is ready for everybody to come out. It's a very special place that I feel the community is going to find a home very quickly. We have multiple foods here. We are beyond excited to be here with this community, beyond excited to pair with all the foods. There is going to be Mexican food from Casa Comal. We are going to have Italian food. There is going to some Asian fusion. There is a bistro. There is BBQ ribs. The food is delicious. The wines are amazing. There is also a full beer tap from Figueroa Mountain."
Santa Maria Public Market is located in the building that formerly housed Moxie Cafe. The new business is one of five trolley stops that includes: Costa de Oro Winery; Cottonwood Canyon Winery; Orcutt: 76 Gas Station (in Old Town Orcutt ), the intersection of Clark Avenue and Dyer Street in Old Town Orcutt (near Steller’s Cellar).
"I'm excited about it," said Stellar's Cellar owner Mark Stellar. "We were involved with it last year and it gets some people in the community out and about on the weekends and I think it's just a great program for the community."
The Santa Maria wine trolley is operated by Santa Maria Regional Transit and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber in a partnership to support tourism and economic development.
"I think the wine trolley is going to be a very beautiful thing for the business and the community," said Flores. "You get to pick your stops. You can make us one of your stops, come choose some food, choose and amazing wine flight, truly it's going to be beautiful to be here. I think it's going to be key, a key thing to have for us."
Tickets cost $15 per person if purchased in advance and $18 For just $15 per person in advance and $18 per person the day-of.
The complete route will run approximately 65 minutes and allow passengers to step on and off at their convenience.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Stellar. "I'm glad to see. The experience of the wine trolley, do it with friends and family and you'll have a great time out and about. Please indulge and enjoy and get out on the bus."
Tickets can be purchased at several locations in Santa Maria and Old Orcutt. Passengers will receive wristbands and can show their wristbands at participating tasting rooms, restaurants, and attractions to learn about special deals.
For more information about the Santa Maria Valley wine trolley, click here.