Santa Ynez Valley Wine

The Santa Ynez Valley AVA is a large subregion of Santa Barbara County within California’s Central Coast. The narrow east-west valley has restrained access to the Pacific Ocean, which means limited fog and rainfall, but warm days. Because of varying elevations (higher in the east), there are several microclimates within the Santa Ynez Valley, allowing a spectrum of wine styles from cool climate Riesling and Pinot Noir to powerful Cabernet, Syrah and Merlot. During some vintages, conditions are ideal for Botrytis (“noble rot’) late harvest dessert wines.

As with many locations within California, grapes were originally planted in the region in the 1800s by missionaries at Mission Santa Ines for ceremonial wines, with other more serious wine endeavors developing through the century. Since Phylloxera and the Prohibition all but wiped out the local wine industry, much of the region’s vineyards laid waste until the 1960s when vintners rediscovered the area due to its climate and terroir Read more »

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Popular wines made in Santa Ynez Valley under $20

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Varietals Produced in Santa Ynez Valley 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...

  • Merlot

    The Occitanian word “merlot” translates to “young blackbird.” An accurate description for this popular, early-budding...

  • 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...

  • 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...

Popular Wineries in Santa Ynez Valley View all

  • Vogelzang Vineyards

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

  • Firestone Vineyard

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

  • Kalyra Winery

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

  • Verdad

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

  • Star Lane Vineyard

    Jim Dierberg, When he has a passion for something, he acts quickly and decisively. Just ask his w...

  • Koehler Winery

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

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Santa Ynez Valley on Snooth

  • Darren--'09 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, '11 Block 28 Zin and '11 Blocks 2 & 22 Zin.  You may or may not have seen OT's comment about the difficulty with '11 Zins from Napa Valley.  So, we'll see about these, but, probably, not for, at least, a few months.Well, last night we met nephew and his wife at a wine bar in Fullerton.  They are back f... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


  • 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


  • Andrew Murray Syrah Santa Ynez Valley 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Another vintage, another really nice wine. Fruit on the front with a touch of spice and some smooth tannins on the finish. Great value syrah. Read More

    Wine review by RandyFisher


  • Blackjack Ranch Double-Down Syrah Santa Barbara County 2006

    Snoothrank:

    Dark fruit with notes of leather and eucalyptus on the nose. Blackberries and blueberries are carried through with heavily jeweled fruit tones. High acid, medium tannin, and a long finish that shows indication of age. Read More

    Wine review by Claudia Angelillo


  • Stolpman Syrah Originals 2012

    Snoothrank:

    92 acres of Syrah. Clones from Cornas and Cote Rotie are now in the vineyard but these original vines are moderately old vines, old for the region, 18-20 years old. Deeply fruited with hints of vanilla stemmy hints, mineral base notes adding complexity to the core of fresh plummy and red tinged fruit. Velvety and dark on the palate with a bit of... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Harrison Clark Syrah Cuvée Charlotte Ballard Canyon 2010

    Snoothrank:

    Planted in 1999. 12 acres, planted to Syrah, grenache, and Mourvedre. First harvest of mourvedre this year. Northern end of the appellation at an altitude of 1000 feet. Comes from the ridges in the vineyards with shallowest soils and most limestone influence. All spontaneous fermentation. Limestone gives great ripeness, helps hold the acidity, ... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Rideau Vineyard Duplantier Blanc 2012

    Snoothrank:

    A great foray into Rhone blends. Butterscotch pudding on a fall evening. This wine is positively unqiue. Mottled lemon and apple tones bring this wine to another level of satisfaction. Read More

    Wine review by Claudia Angelillo


  • Starlane Sauvignon Blanc 2006

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by smuratore


  • Stolpman Syrah "Originals" Santa Ynez Valley 2008

    Snoothrank:

    Woody, somewhat fruityberriesnose. Whoapractically, no fruit to speak of on introduction to the palatealmost a neutral sensation. Some tartnessreminiscent of plumon the edges of the tongue, then something of a hit of tannin. Interestingly, most of the flavor of this on is way in the back of the palate. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Buttonwood Farm Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

    Snoothrank:

    A dark maroon color. Big bold cabernet flavor so it's great for steak or lamb, preferably grilled. Blackberry, cinnamon, tobacco and clove/star anise. Read More

    Wine review by zmapman


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