Vega Vineyard and Farm reflects Santa Ynez Valley ‘cultural origins’
Hospitality entrepreneurs, Karen and Jimmy Loizides, have plans in place for a Wednesday opening of the first part in what will be a phased launch of the family’s newest Santa Ynez Valley venture, Vega Vineyard and Farm.
The working winery, farm and event venue, located on historic land most recently home to Mosby Winery and Vineyards, has been renamed “Vega” in honor of the ranch’s initial identity, Rancho La Vega, and its important place in the heart and history of northern Santa Barbara County.
The 212-acre Vega Vineyard and Farm will comprise the previously Mosby property’s 21 acres of vineyards, currently covered in Italian varietals, as well as the property’s winery and tasting room, both of which have undergone extensive updates and a design overhaul.
The tasting room, situated in a barn that was once the land’s circa 1880s carriage house, joins the likes of other historical structures on the ranch, including the original adobe home, dating back to 1853, which continues to greet guests with a new garden and VIP area.
Sitting atop one of the highest points of the mountainous parcel of land, a 216-square-foot adobe-style chapel, built in 2014 with pews salvaged from an Ohio church, the chapel is adorned with stained-glass windows and an expansive outdoor patio with endless views of the Santa Ynez Valley.
“This property has an incredible, tangible history, and such energy of its own. But it was in need of some love, and we are overjoyed at the chance to be the people who inject new life into this important place,” said Mr. Loizides.
Phase one of the property’s new life will entail the reopening of the now-family-friendly winery tasting room for bottle sales and tasting experiences. After Wednesday’s opening, available wines will include the winery’s existing library of inventory as well as bottles under the Vega Vineyard and Farm label, made with grapes sourced from Santa Barbara County vineyards.
Wines currently available for sale and tastings include red wines like Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Syrah, Barbera and Pinot Noir; and white wines such as Chardonnay, Bianco (a white blend), Albariño, Pinot Grigio, Vermentino and Viognier; and a Rosato (rosé).
Estate-grown Vega Vineyard and Farm bottlings will begin with vintages from harvest of 2022.
Leading Vega Vineyard and Farm’s winemaking operations is Steve Clifton, Santa Barbara County winemaker known for his decades-long work with Italian grape varieties.
Working alongside Mr. Clifton as general manager, is Kara Teel, who worked in the Santa Barbara County wine industry for 23 years and for the Loizides family the past three years, managing K’Syrah Catering and Events, and then Sear Steakhouse.
Part of Vega Vineyard and Farm’s initial phase is the opening of a second entrance to the property, leading to a newly constructed barn and recently planted organic farm. A new farm stand will offer produce from Vega Farm as well as other produce and baked goods.
The farm’s resident animals include goats, pigs, llamas, chickens and ducks, available for guests to feed and all part of the farm’s sustainable system.
The Vega Farm portion of the new venture will soon feature hayrides along the trail system, which runs through the property.
Guests can opt for an al fresco wine tasting experience with multiple seating areas overlooking the vineyards, with live music, lawn games and other entertainment. Picnic-perfect spots are located on the west side of the property.
“This is an eclectic, somewhat eccentric property (that) we feel, in part, is a reflection of the surrounding valley with its mini-melting pot of cultural origins,” said Mr. Loizides.
Vega Vineyard and Farm started life as Rancho La Vega in 1853 when Dr. Roman de la Cuesta, the first doctor in the Santa Ynez Valley, and his wife Michaela Cota, the daughter of Francisco Cota of neighboring Rancho Santa Rosa, constructed the property’s original 13-room adobe house along the south bank of the Santa Ynez River.
Dr. de la Cuesta, known as Don Roman, was born in Spain and arrived in California in 1849. When he married Micaela Cota, he was given Rancho La Vega as part of her dowry (“vega” is a Spanish word that roughly translates to “field” or “meadow”).
The couple’s son, Don Eduardo, lived and grew wine grapes on the land for many years with his wife, Eleva Pollard, a granddaughter of Captain William Henry Dana and great-granddaughter of Carlos Antonio Carrillo, patriarch of Santa Barbara’s Carrillo family.
Don Eduardo de la Cuesta would become instrumental in getting Highway 101 routed through Buellton in 1927, and a portion of an original Highway 101 bridge still exists on the Vega Vineyard and Farm property.
Demetrios (“Jimmy”) and Karen Loizides, Santa Ynez Valley residents and business owners who relocated to the area in 2011, had always been drawn to the region due to its similarities to Demetrios’s ancestral and grape-growing village of Kathikas, Cyprus, and then his childhood town of the untamed Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
The duo has owned and operated several hospitality endeavors in the Santa Ynez Valley, including the Maverick Saloon and K’Syrah Catering and Events. The couple was also the original owner of the newer Solvang restaurant, Sear Steakhouse.
In early 2022, the Loizides family sold the restaurant to make way for their plans to refurbish and expand Mosby Winery, which they have returned to its nomenclature roots as Vega Vineyard and Farm.
The next phases of Vega Vineyard and Farm include the introduction of an event series, such as outdoor concerts which will be open to the public as well as the evolution of the property’s private event menus and offerings.
“We have always been enamored by the history of the land in this region of the Central Coast, the historic structures which dot the landscapes and the area’s agricultural past,” said Mr. Loizides.
“Purchasing and restoring Vega Vineyard and Farm just takes our plans to learn from that rich history and sustain it for the future to the next level.”