The Wine Cask, one of Santa Barbara County’s legendary wine-focused restaurants, has closed. It reportedly was evicted from its space for non-payment of rent.
The news was devastating to the Central Coast wine community, because the Cask served as a showplace for the region’s wines. It annually held a wine futures sale for area vintners, conducted classes, and helped create and cement the wine culture in Santa Barbara.
What happened? According to reports, like so many businesses in Santa Barbara, the Cask depended heavily on tourism. Last summer, when the bottom dropped out of the tourism market, business soured — as much as 50 percent. A typical restaurant can stay above water with a drop of up to 20 percent for a fairly protracted period, but a 50 percent plunge is nearly impossible to survive.
There is no shortage of wine-focused restaurants in Santa Barbara and surrounding communities. But the Wine Cask was a local institution and, today, it is gone.