Unlike most wine tour companies that have a staff of guides, Appellation tours are led exclusively by the owner and certified Sommelier Paul Tilson.
Paul has over 20 years of experience in the wine industry, including as Wine Educator & Senior Wine & Cuisine Manager for Meadowood Napa Valley, Restaurant & Wine Director at the The Ojai Valley Inn and Food & Beverage Director at The Hotel Californian in Santa Barbara. His knowledge, experience, passion, and relationships are unparalleled in the Ojai and Santa Barbara region.
Paul introduces his guests not only to the amazing wines and beautiful wineries of the region but also to the dynamic and passionate individuals who produce them. Crowded tasting rooms are bypassed, for tastings in vineyards, production facilities or private estates. Public tasting rooms can be visited by request if guests are interested in specific larger wineries.
Paul will work with you to tailor the perfect adventure, whether you are experienced connoisseurs or new wine enthusiasts. Let Paul be your guide for an unforgettable viticultural experience when you visit our eclectic, world-class appellations.
Luxury 4x4 SUV for tours consisting of 2-6 guests and utilize a Sprinter Van for tours between 7-12 guests. This includes lunch, tasting fees, and transportation.
Wine is available for guests to purchase at all the wineries.
All lunches are gourmet Pic Nic style, I utilize tablecloths, cloth napkins, dishware and flatware to create a beautiful setting for the picnic lunch. I have a Michelin background and ensure the lunch experience is upscale and memorable.
Any dietary restrictions can be accommodated, 48 hours advance notice is appreciated.
My typical tour consists of 2-4 wineries, all tours are private experiences except for the lunch venue, (but I will always have a pre-arranged lunch venue which will be either a table, section and area which will be reserved and exclusive to my guests only).
All tours are curated individually for my guests, I welcome correspondence and/or conversation to determine and satisfy any personal wine preferences and expectations of my guests. Preferred varietals and/or wine styles, level of interest in education, and how one prioritizes purchasing wine are just a few of the details I consider while designing a unique experience.
A typical itinerary will be a pick up at a local hotel in Santa Barbara or Ojai, between 9:30 - 11am and a return between 3-5pm (all guest preference and pre-arranged). Typical tours last 5-7 hours.
We used Paul at Appellation thru a recommendation from the concierge at the Ojai Valley Inn. He called and planned our whole itinerary based upon our conversation.... what an amazing and unforgettable day! We met and tasted with two different winemakers and toured their vineyards. He thought of every detail and provided us with a fantastic lunch too. 5 STARS doesn't do justice!
Mark G. Chef, L.A.
What People Say
Appellation Wine Tours was the highlight of our trip to Santa Barbara. He was recommended by the front desk at our hotel and the experience couldn't have been more memorable. He took care of everything! We did a private barrel tasting and met the winery owners. We tasted and bought some out of this world wines! I highly recommend that you utilize Paul if you are wine tasting in Santa Barbara.
Dan B. Sedona, Az.
Incredible day out in the vineyards! Best Anniversary present ever! How romantic...we told Paul that we loved Champagne so he arranged for multiple private tastings with the owners of different wineries who specialized in sparkling wines. He also curated a special picnic lunch with incredible cheeses. This was absolutely the BEST!