Santa Barbara County Wine

The Santa Barbara County AVA lies within the Central Coast territory of California. Like much of the state’s wine regions, grape planting began with the Catholic missionaries to make wine for ceremonial mass. Though Santa Barbara can boast some of the earliest plantings, beginning in the 1780s with Father Junipero Serra bringing Mission grape cuttings from Mexico and planting them in what is now the Milpas Creek district. From there, mission vineyards spread to San Jose, Santa Cruz, Carpinteria and Goleta  (an adobe winery built there in 1804 has the distinction of being the area’s oldest landmark).

But also like most of California’s wine regions, production in Santa Barbara was hurt by the late 1800s Phylloxera crisis and further brought down by the Prohibition between 1921 to 1933. It wasn’t until the 1960s that a U.C. Davis study identified Santa Barbara County as a favorable wine-growing region due to its combination of soil types, geology, water and coastal Read more »

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Popular wines made in Santa Barbara County under $20

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Varietals Produced in Santa Barbara County View all

  • Viognier

    This special and exciting variety has taken California by storm and young plantings already demonstrate that this out...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc is widely grown in California -- at over 15,000 acres, it’s now the third most planted variety -- and...

  • Pinot Noir

    “With so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, they make the blood run hot,” Joel Fleischman, wine columnist at Van...

Subregions of Santa Barbara County

  • Santa Maria Valley

    The Santa Maria Valley AVA is located in the north of Santa Barbara County in California’s Cent...

  • Santa Ynez Valley

    The Santa Ynez Valley AVA is a large subregion of Santa Barbara County within California’s Cent...

Popular Wineries in Santa Barbara County View all

  • Château Le Bernat

    Château Le Bernat is the enchanting story of a meeting between two wine lovers with a shared pass...

  • Shoestring Vineyard & Winery

    Pinot Grigio, Syrah-Rose, Sangiovese, Merlot & Syrah all International medal winners. Buy direct...

  • Daniel Gehrs Wines

    In Spring 2000, our winery's new tasting room and gift shop opened in Heather Cottage, a landmark...

  • JCR Vineyard

    Planted in the spring of 2008 with dormant vines, the five acres of pinot noir and half acre of...

  • Harrison Clarke Winery

    The great Syrah areas are still being discovered, the future for great Syrah is in the Santa Ynez...

  • Santa Barbara Winery

    Santa Barbara had the good fortune of being the site of one of the numerous California Missio...

People getting updates on Santa Barbara County Wines

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Santa Barbara County on Snooth

  • Lutum Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard 2014


    Dull red color. Fairly nondescript nose. Tart cherry on the tip of the tongue, Then there might be a slight suggestion of cola. Overall, though, this one is pretty tart, Some slate. An OK wine, but it is not particularly winning me over. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Kendall Jackson Jackson Estate Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley Camelot Highlands 2016


    No written review

    Wine review by martins2002

  • The Ojai Vineyard White Hawk Vineyard Sangiovese 2017


    Very nice wine. Introduces itself with a subtle suggestion of red cherry. Mid-palate suggestion of herbs--marjoram, basil. Medium-bodied. Nicely refreshing. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • The Ojai Vineyard Fe Ciega Pinot Noir 2016


    Translucent garnet color. Floral nose. Red fruit--strawberry, red cherry--on the tip of the tongue. Some salinity. Some spritziness. Medium body. Pleasant finish, Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Bedrock Wine Co. Bien Nacido Vineyard X-Block Syrah 2017


    Very nice wine. Light stone fruit on the tongue. Interesting spiciness--cinnamon--at mid-palate. Some very noticeable tannin. Not the biggest wine, but it is fairly full-bodied. Moderate finish. I have another bottle that I will ignore for some years. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • The Ojai Vineyard John Sebastiano Vineyard Grenache 2014


    Attractive garnet color in the glass. Something of a tangy nose. Raspberry, red plum on the tip of the tongue. A sensation suggesting black licorice under the mid-palate. Fairly tart, Medium-bodied. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • The Ojai Vineyard Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard 2012


    Interesting wine. For those who complain about new world wines being hyper-fruit forward, take a look at this one. It has only the slightest suggestion of fruit. What is there suggests blackberry or plum, but it only suggests. Nothing, at all, suggests sweetness. Some savoriness, mid-palate. Some pepperiness. No tannin to speak of. There ... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Flying Goat Pinot Noir Bien Nacido Vineyard 2013


    Murky, almost prune color in the glass. Tangy nose of stone fruit. Initial taste is of slightly over ripe stone fruit or, maybe, over ripe table grapes. Fairly full-bodied. Seems hot. Has a definite acidic spritz. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • The Ojai Vineyard Santa Barbara County Riesling Special Botrytis Bottling 2011


    Very pretty straw color. Quite a shy nose, but I do get orange blossoms. Thick, viscous mouthfeel is the first thing I notice about ths wine. That, of course convinces me that I am getting honey flavors. I guess I am Various ripe fruits--apricot is the most obvious, but there is a touch of citrus, some papaya. A suggestion of baking spices... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Ojai Vineyard Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2013


    Very pleasant wine. On opening, there is a definite sulfur funk, but, happily, that blows off quickly. On the tongue there is very attractive tart cherry flavor. Very nice, refreshing acidic spritz. Some suggestions of baking spices, Medium-bodied--appropriate for a PN Read More

    Wine review by EMark

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