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

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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • 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...

  • 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

  • Verdad

    Louisa Sawyer Lindquist is the inspiration behind Verdad. In the late 80’s, while working at a re...

  • Firestone Vineyard

    Founded in 1972 by father and son, Leonard and Brooks Firestone, Firestone Vineyard has enjoyed 3...

  • 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...

  • Kalyra Winery

    An outstanding portfolio of wines from Santa Barbara County, California and Australia. All create...

  • Saarloos & Sons

    The Labels and Wines you find from SAARLOOS & sons are Extremely low production. Each wine is a ...

People getting updates on Santa Barbara County Wines

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Santa Barbara County on Snooth

  • Epiphany Vineyards, in Los Olivos, its at the end of the street.  Amazing stuff for such a small vineyard.  Also a huge fan of Dragonnette Cellars,  Most of their stuff needs to be aged but great for tasting and the staff is very knowledgable.  If you are in the mood for fun and its ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Barbara County...

  • 5 yrs ago, bought an '06 Santa Barbara County Syrah (actually 6 of them) from a winemaker named CLEB wines. It was "Evelyn Noir Syrah" from Black Oak Vineyard.  I think I paid $17. After trying 3 of them over the first 3 yrs, I gave up and just figured it to be a bad choice, a mouthfull of tanins shrouded in alcohol. They were moved to the botto... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Barbara County...

  • I had a Pinot Noir, last night, that I have to admit was pretty darned ... ... darned good--Ken Brown 2009 Santa Barbara County.  Since my PN cred is, pretty much, non-existent, others may or may not agree with me on this one, but I liked it.  It had the cherry and slightly woody flavor that I seem to get a lot in Pinot Noir, but it also had s... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?

  • Testarossa Santa Maria Valley Sierra Madre Pinot Noir 2012


    No written review

    Wine review by Mr Dolce

  • Testarossa Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley Sierra Madre 2012


    No written review

    Wine review by Mr Dolce

  • I enjoyed visiting Rusack - up a pretty road and not overcrowded. Also, Stolpman is nearby and has a new tasting room at the vineyard.  Haven't seen it but looking forward to my next trip out.Both fit the scenic requirement.Have fun,Manny Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Barbara County...

  • I would start out up in Foxen canyon, and then head to Los Olivos.  Los Olivos is comprised of a few blocks of tasting rooms (not full fledged wineries), but is quaint, and you can taste many wines.  Then you could head west to Lompoc if you like.  Lompoc has some good wines (more pinot here), but it is not picturesque.  In fact they call the wa... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Barbara County...

  • Well, DJ, I like Ojai Vineyard because I like their wines.  Their tasting room is in the town of Ojai south of Santa Barbara.  It is pretty plain jane, although, Ojai is a nice little town.  If you can procure Ojai Vineyards wherever you live, I don't see any particular reason for you to visit the tasting room.  There are no other wineries in th... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Barbara County...

  • Anyone have some favorite Santa Barbara County wineries that have good wine and also have locations that are scenic or unusual? Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Barbara County...

  • The Ojai Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc Mcginley Vineyard 2010


    Very, very pale yellow in the glass. Fairly big floral nose. Initial mouth sensation is quite filling, but then it calms down. Not overbearing fruit flavors but there is some green apple. Some bitterness around the edge. Modest acid, but not the big grapefruit flavor that I'm seeing in a lot of SBs, these days. US$30.00 from the winery club. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

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