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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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

  • Firestone Vineyard

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

  • Rideau Vineyard

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

  • Harrison Clarke Winery

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

  • Kaena

    Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii I grew up under the loving care of my “Tutu” Lucille Hollinge...

  • Daniel Gehrs Wines

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

  • Beckmen Vineyards

    Founded in 1994 by Tom and Steve Beckmen, Beckmen Vineyards is a family-run, estate winery loc...

People getting updates on Santa Barbara County Wines

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Santa Barbara County on Snooth

  • The Ojai Vineyard Syrah Melville Vineyards 2008

    Snoothrank:

    Fairly smooth on entry to the mouth. Then I get some jammy, or, maybe, dried fruitprune, but with low sugar perception, is as close as I can come. So, this one is relying less on fruit than other components. I can say there are earthy and fungal taste sensations, but neither of those really stand out as individual components. Some heat at th... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Happy 100 pages OT! Tonight we opened an Artiste Prepara which is a blend of ... the grapes were sourced in Santa Barbara County and was bottled in 2014. Bion Rice is the winemaker. Cherry and blackberry notes are prominent. There is good structure with mild tannins to give it a pleasant bite. The favors linger on the tongue and it is an overa... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


  • Gainey Vineyard Limited Selection Merlot 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Some fruit and some alcohol on the nose. Lots of cherry on the tip of the tongue. Almost, syrupy, but not quite. Some acid tartness towards the back along with some slightly bitter olive hits. Very little tannin sturdiness. An easy wine to drink, but, really, not much other satisfaction. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • It's another late night for me but I opened this Pahlmeyer Sonoma Coast ... smattering of local (for me) Santa Barbara County wines. I am very happy with this purchase. This Pahlmeyer is delicious! Which one of you guys dislikes Pinot Noir? You need to try this one! Lesson learned... You can't always go by appearances. This bottle had a slight... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


  • Brewer-Clifton is well known in Santa Barbara County and has a reputation as being one of the best houses in our area.  This Pinot Noir from the Santa Rita Hills is the first BC wine I have tried and now I'm kicking myself for not trying it sooner. At $50-$60 a bottle it's pricey but wow what a nice pinot! Strong Cherry notes now getting some gr... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


  • Yeah, I really need to stock up on that Virginia swill. Been eyeballing all the ... from somewhere else. Perhaps Santa Barbara County or San Luis Obispo County.Enjoy your wine in whatever way you choose Paul. Cool story either wa Read More

    Forum post in the topic vintage wine


  • Interesting wine rack; is that in a basement, under a chimney?  Anyway, ... ... I have tried a wine from Santa Barbara County but if you recommend a few reds I might look for them in one of our Total Wine stores out here in Virginia.&nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Enophiles!


  • Thanks DVogler, I just had a PlumpJack Cab 2011 which was outstanding. I have ... Santa Ynez Valley mostly. Santa Barbara County wines are excellent.&nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Enophiles!


  • Mellville Syrah Estate Verna's 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Lots of light coming through the glass suggest, perhaps incorrectly, a medium-bodied red winea la a Pinot Noir. Something of a vegetative (green bell pepper or asparagus) and nutty (almond/walnut) nose. Initial mouth sensation supports the medium-body forecast. Then red cherry flavor with a thickness like caramel. After a few sips I realize t... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • 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


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