Wine Spectator: Devastating Mudslides Kill 21 in Santa Barbara County

By Jamie Slone
Jan 16, 2018
Wine Spectator: Devastating Mudslides Kill 21 in Santa Barbara County
Main highway to Los Angeles is closed, hurting sales for winery tasting rooms and restaurants. 

This story was updated on Jan. 22.

Just two weeks after the flames of the largest wildfire in California’s modern history subsided, bringing relief to Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, a new disaster has struck. More than 5 inches of heavy rain fell last week on the scorched hillsides above the Santa Barbara community of Montecito, sending a river of mud, trees, rocks and debris cascading down.

As of Jan. 22, at least 21 people are confirmed dead, with two others missing, and dozens of homes have been destroyed. Helicopters from the U.S. Coast Guard and National Guard as well as firefighters from Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties are continuing the search for anyone who may be trapped in the debris.

The historic San Ysidro Ranch, the world-famous resort and home of the Wine Spectator Grand Award–winning Stonehouse restaurant, has sustained heavy damage. According to local media reports, a gas line ruptured on the property during the mudslide, starting a fire that destroyed half the resort’s buildings. Several other buildings were buried in mud and debris. The resort staff evacuated the day before on the advice of state-issued mudslide warnings.

The Thomas fire burned for more than a week across the hills above Montecito, a wealthy community that is home to celebrities including Oprah Winfrey. After the flames were contained, state and local officials warned that hillsides denuded of vegetation could not contain or absorb heavy rainfall.

But few predicted the severity of the rains that began in the early hours of Jan. 9. A storm system dumped .54 inches in just five minutes, and 5 inches overall. Thousands of tons of mud and giant boulders poured down the hillside.

A week later, crews are working to clean up Highway 101, the main artery through the area. State officials had hoped to reopen it this week, but now say it will be closed for the foreseeable future.

Others are assessing damage in neighborhoods. A representative for the Montecito Inn says it will be closed while damage is assessed. The historic Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel, located where Montecito meets the Pacific, proved to be the end point for the debris flow. The Biltmore had closed its doors during the fires and had just reopened the day before the mudslides. “The safety and well-being of our guests and employees continues to be our top priority,” a representative told Wine Spectator. “As a result of recent flooding and mudslides, evacuations have been ordered across Southern California, including Santa Barbara County, and the resort will be closed until further notice."

The 29 wineries and tasting rooms that make up downtown Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail, less than two miles north of Montecito, suffered no apparent damage, but repercussions from the disaster can be felt throughout the area.

Read the full story here . . .

Posted in News.







Enjoy FREE Corkage at Santa Barbara's Best RestaurantsFREE Corkage at Santa Barbara's Best Restaurants

Appointment Only Wine Experiences

Santa Barbara Private Wine Tastings

Recent Posts

The Santa Barbara International Film Fest's Best Wine Tasting Experience!

The Santa Barbara International Film Fest's Best Wine Tasting Experience!
By Jamie Slone on Feb 02, 2018 at 02:16 PM in News

The Santa Barbara International Film Fest's Best Wine Tasting Experience!

Read more...

The 101 Freeway is open to Santa Barbara!

The 101 Freeway is open to Santa Barbara!
By Jamie Slone on Jan 22, 2018 at 11:29 AM in News

Read more...

KEYT: Richie's Barber Shop sets up pop-up store after Montecito mudslides closes Coast Village Road

KEYT: Richie's Barber Shop sets up pop-up store after Montecito mudslides closes Coast Village Road
By Jamie Slone on Jan 21, 2018 at 10:40 AM in News

Richie's Barber Shop sets up pop-up store after Montecito mudslides closes Coast Village Road

Read more...

SB Family & Life Magazine: JAMIE SLONE WINES HOSTS POPUP BARBERSHOP FROM MONTECITO

SB Family & Life Magazine: JAMIE SLONE WINES HOSTS POPUP BARBERSHOP FROM MONTECITO
By Jamie Slone on Jan 21, 2018 at 10:27 AM in News

Fire department and law enforcement personnel along with many local residents have been getting their haircuts with Richie’s Barbershop at a new pop up location at Jamie Slone Wines in downtown Santa Barbara. The wine tasting room is located in the historic El Paseo in the Presidio.

Read more...

Santa Barbara News Press: Wine Tasting Room Becomes Pop-Up Location for Displaced Montecito Barber Shop

Santa Barbara News Press: Wine Tasting Room Becomes Pop-Up Location for Displaced Montecito Barber Shop
By Jamie Slone on Jan 20, 2018 at 12:34 PM in News

A Different Kind of Buzz: Santa Barbara Wine Tasting Room Becomes Pop-Up Location for Displaced Montecito Barber Shop

Read more...