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

  • 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...

  • Syrah

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

  • Viognier

    History of the grape: Viognier is thought to be an indigenous grape of Croatia that was brought to the Rhone in Franc...

  • Chardonnay

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

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

  • Rideau Vineyard

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

  • Andrew Murray Vineyards

    "Handcrafted wines, from hillside vines, planted exclusively to Rhone varieties..." Andrew Mur...

  • 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...

  • Cult Vines

    Cult Vines’ relentless pursuit of perfection is embodied in our world-class wine. Our passion ...

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Santa Barbara County on Snooth

  • Margerum Sybarite Sauvignon Blanc 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Very pale yellow color. Something of a fresh, tart nosea bit of cut grass, and a hint of melon. Green apple fruit on entry to the palate. This is accentuated by acid tartness towards the back of the tongue and palate. Very refreshing wine. Great for a summer evening on the patio. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • "Pisoni, Rosella's, Gary's. Keefer Ranch, Cargassaci.."Of those 4 only Keefer is in Sonoma. County. The other 3 in SLH, Santa Barbara. Oops! A lot of cellar worthy CA Pinot comes from Anderson Valley Read More

    Forum post in the topic Single Varietal vs. Bordeaux...


  • Lido Bay's Seven Seas Chardonnay 2010

    Snoothrank:

    Fairly big and ripe Santa Barbara county chardonnay. This hits the glass with dark gold/honey color and is more on the tree fruit side of taste. Flavors of apricot, honeysuckle, a touch of oak, ripe pear and just a hint of clove go along with medium acidity and a slightly thick mouth feel. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0


  • Liquid Farm Chardonnay Golden Slope 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Really, really nice Sta. Rita Hills chard. Loads of zippy lemon chiffon, a touch of honeysuckle, bracing acidity, light to no oak showing thru and a fairly long finish. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0


  • Unless you're an utter Revolutionary War geek, or want to get down and ... ... sipping the early wines of Santa Barbara County back then I did spend a moment wondering if Night Train was the official Jersey state wine...  So what I'm saying, Greg, is just embrace the CA herby hills, and surf and food, and ambiance even if San Diego doesn't hav... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Looking for a less expensive...


  • Don't know how much you can get back up into the hills of inland San Diego county, Greg, but I grew up very frequently traipsing across the backcountry mountains of Ventura, Santa Barbara and LA Counties, occasionally even up into San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties, too. You come home with your clothes all smelling of sage and many, many othe... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Looking for a less expensive...


  • Ojai Vineyard Santa Barbara County Syrah Presidio Vineyard 2008

    Snoothrank:

    Attractive purple in the glassnot inky dark. Some rea fruit and, maybe, some anise on the nose. Very easy on the tongue red fruit flavorsplum, raspberry, and, maybe some tropical hints. At mid-to-rear palate, tannins emerge, more or less, negating the fruit flavors. When a bit of acid tartness kicks in, this becomes a refreshing wine. This i... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • The Ojai Vineyard White Hawk Vineyard Sangiovese 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Very attractive red color in the glass. Not the biggest nose in the worldmostly, earthy, slightly musty herbal thing. Very light (for red wine) bodied, and, wow, tart. I love the acidity of Sangiovese-based Chianti, but this is way, way over the top. There are some red-fruit flavors herecherry, raspberrybut they are also very light. Its sim... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Zaca Mesa Syrah Mesa Reserve 2009

    Snoothrank:

    Lots of black fruit on introduction, but, happily, missing the sweet sensation that is usually associated with a fruit forward wine. On the other hand, there seems, in fact to be a slight bitterness similar to unsweetened cocoa, instead. As the wine moves towards the back and the edges of the tongue, refreshing acid tartness causes the bitter... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Oreana Cabernet-Syrah Blend Santa Barbara County 2004

    Snoothrank:

    Light color red wine. Structure developed a bit after opened with a few overnights in the fridge. Acidic, red raspberries, overall balanced through the acid. Read More

    Wine review by connie7899


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