Santa Barbara County Wine

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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...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • 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

  • Vogelzang Vineyards

    The unique area called Happy Canyon by locals as well as wine lovers has matured and developed a ...

  • Château Le Bernat

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

  • Koehler Winery

    Situated on the celebrated Foxen Canyon Wine Trail in the Santa Ynez Valley, Koehler Winery is lo...

  • Rideau Vineyard

    We invite you to visit our charming Tasting Room and Winery for the most incredible wine tasting ...

  • Stolpman Vineyards

    The vineyards at the Stolpman estate enjoy the warm days and cool nights of Ballard Canyon, which...

  • JCR Vineyard

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

People getting updates on Santa Barbara County Wines

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Santa Barbara County on Snooth

  • Shoestring Winery Syrah Santa Ynez Valley 2005


    GOLD medal 2009 San Diego International Wine Competition. Buy direct Read More

    Wine review by Roswitha Craig

  • Shoestring Winery Rosé Blend Santa Ynez Valley Syrah Rosé 2007


    2007 Rose is sold out. 2008 Rose is now available - buy direct www.shoestringwinery.comTraditional French-style Rose - best served chilled. Read More

    Wine review by Roswitha Craig

  • Brander Sauvignon Blanc Santa Ynez Valley 2007


    I was hit with citrus pineapple melon fruits. Some earthy notes but delicate light and crisp. This night I enjoyed it with a lobster sushi roll.   Read More

    Wine review by Peternywine

  • Kenneth Volk Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido Vineyard 2006


    I'm not much of a barrel fermented chardonnay fan, but this wine blows me away. Ripe white nectarine and peach aromas are followed by layers of stonefruit and a rich, creamy mouthfeel. I'm buying a case for Turkey day this year! Read More

    Wine review by slotownwiner

  • Zaca Mesa Roussanne 2006


    Lovely light nose of peach and apricot. I really like the texture of the wine, it's creamy and juicy at the same time, with the tiniest bit of a bite at the end and a long creamy finish. Flavors have nice fat stone fruits and some oak. Very pleasant. Read More

    Wine review by mark

  • Foxen Sangiovese Santa Ynez Valley Volpino 2006


    Foxen makes an amazing Sangiovese. Such a rich and dark fruit character, the blueberry really is distinctive yet there is a hint of earth and loam that lingers. Read More

    Wine review by jjknight38

  • Koehler Santa Ynez Syrah 2005


    Jammy fruit, very distinctively Syrah nose. Peppery and slightly leathier, even in this relatively young vintage.Very long aftertaste, high alchohol content. Good for pairing with a thick steak. Read More

    Wine review by SanFranciscoJim

  • Zaca Mesa Roussanne 2006


    Really bold and powerful with a soft touch, butteriness and mild acids are in perfect balance, the fruits are melonous and tropical. Would go great with couscous and salmon. Read More

    Wine review by Chris Carpita

  • Zaca Mesa Roussanne 2006


    Lovely, intense aromatics combine hints of lychee and green tea with crisp green pear tones and well-integrated notes of fading spices, chalk, chestnut and lavender. Really rich yet bright on entry, with a seductive mouthfeel that manages to be both filling and vivid. The fruit is verging into the slightly honied, dried peach end of the spectru... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • J. Wilkes Pinot Blanc Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido Vineyard 2005


    No written review

    Wine review by cruane

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