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

  • 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...

  • Merlot

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

  • Viognier

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

  • 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...

Popular Wineries in Santa Ynez Valley View all

  • Château Le Bernat

    Château Le Bernat is the enchanting story of a meeting between two wine lovers with a shared pass...

  • The Brander Vineyard

    Welcome to the Brander Vineyard - one of the original vineyards in Santa Ynez Valley and the prod...

  • 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...

  • Koehler Winery

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

  • Stolpman Vineyards

    The vineyards at the Stolpman estate enjoy the warm days and cool nights of Ballard Canyon, which...

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Santa Ynez Valley on Snooth

  • 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


  • Buttonwood Farm Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

    Snoothrank:

    Love at first sniff. I'm on the farm, in the dirt, sunny day with black olive rain. A great example of what a few years can do to soften tannins. But make no mistake -- these tannins are not limp nor weak: They SING across the palate. Fresh tobacco, sweet spice, and plum dance on the tongue. All the best of Santa Ynez. Read More

    Wine review by Claudia Angelillo


  • I prefer mountain fruit for my Merlot but unfortunately  that can't be ... Canyon Vineyards Merlot from Santa Ynez Valley &nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic In Need a Merlot Recommendation


  • Qupe Marsanne Santa Yenz Valley 2011

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by gntop1


  • Zaca Mesa Winery Syrah 2006

    Snoothrank:

    Somewhat murky prune color. On the palate, an immediate hit of ripe stone fruitsplum, peach. Sprightly sensation on the tonguelike an astringency or effervescence. Also, a tartness that seems to hit the front of the tongue. Normally, I seem to get that at the back. Some minerally sensations at the back of the palate. A very lengthy, cherr... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Santa Barbara Winery Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Nice and crisp with lemon pith, green apple, and good acidity. There's some smoothness that adds a bit of complexity. Not much butter or oak which is what I've been liking in my chards recently. Read More

    Wine review by vin0vin0


  • Andrew Murray Syrah Santa Ynez Valley Reserve 2010

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by sgarcia61


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