Santa Maria Valley Wine

The Santa Maria Valley AVA is located in the north of Santa Barbara County in California’s Central Coast. A portion of it also lies within San Luis Obispo County, with the Cuyama River marking its divide from Santa Barbara. The wide, open valley benefits from cool air and fog that comes in from the Pacific Ocean, contributing to moderate temperatures and a long growing season to balance out grape structures.

Santa Maria Valley shares its grape-growing history with many other nearby regions: Franciscan missionaries planted vineyards for ceremonial wine in the 1800s, immigrants and settlers expanded the industry into the 20th century, Phylloxera and Prohibition leveled it and other crops grew in the place of wine grapes. 
Wine-makers saw potential in the region in the 1960s and starting replanting and rejuvinating the industry once again. Today, Santa Maria Valley is home to many well-regarded vineyards, with Pinot Noir, Syrah (which likes the higher elevations of some parts of Read more »

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Popular wines made in Santa Maria Valley under $20

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Varietals Produced in Santa Maria Valley View all

  • Chardonnay

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

  • Viognier

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

  • Syrah

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

  • Pinot Blanc

    History of the grape: Pinot Blanc was first grown in Burgundy and Champagne, France, and can be traced by some source...

  • 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...

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Santa Maria Valley on Snooth

  • 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 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

  • Qupe Syrah Bien Nacido Hillside Estate 2012


    Murky plum color in the glass. Similar "murky" nose--it smells old, not funky, old. E x t r e m l y mild fruit on entry. Dried fruit, but not sweet, at all. Some salinity. Some tartness. Tannins are completely resolved. An unusual, but completely enjoyable wine. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • The Ojai Vineyard Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard 2014


    Very easy wine to enjoy. Light hit of blackberry and black plum on the tip of the tongue. As the wine passes back I get some salinitity and earthiness. Very sedate tannins and acids. Not terribly full-bodied, but this wine will not be out of place with a beef entree that was not heavily sauced. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • The Ojai Vineyard Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard 2013


    Quite dark plum color. Berry and violet aromas. Nice level of red berry, plums on the tip of the tongue. Quite deft with tannin and acid components. Clearly, this wine is the result of Adam Tolmachs adopted IPOB philosophy. While this is not a big fruit-forward California wine, make no mistake, it is however, it is a wine for California win... Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • The Ojai Vineyard Solomon Hills Pinot Noir 2013


    Attractive garnet color in the glass. Light flowery nose. Very subtle entry. Tangy red plum flavor along with violets. Fairly light-bodied. Very enjoyable wine. Nice acid tartness makes this easy to enjoy with or without accompaniment. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Hey Lefty, gotta love the viognier.  Surprisingly enough, some of my ... ... sources their grapes from Santa Maria Valley.  Love that white stone fruit mixed with honey and creamy citrus flavor along with the typically fairly high acidit Read More

    Forum post in the topic Viognier Virgin

  • The Ojai Vineyard Roussanne Bien Nacido Vineyard 2014


    Clear, pale yellow in color. Lots of fruit and flower aromaspear, apple, geranium. On the tongue, the fruit is most apparentthe pear apple thing, but, also tropical fruit like kiwi. I guess it would not exactly be a news flash if I characterized it as light bodied. Very nice acid content makes for freshness. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Went into town (Charlotte NC) to take in a tasting of 3 different high end CA syrahs at one of my favorite wine stores - Petit Philippe. On offer were:Peay Estate 'Les Titans' Syrah, Sonoma Coast 2013Lagier-Meredith Syrah, Mount Veeder Napa Valley 2012Bien Nacido Vineyards Syrah, Santa Maria 2012 All three were excellent (except for the 1st bott... Read More

    Forum post in the topic What have you bought lately?

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