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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

  • Chardonnay

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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • 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

  • Palmina Wines

    Palmina is more than a winery and enoteca. It is a philosophy and it is a passion. It is a str...

  • Verdad

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

  • Rideau Vineyard

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

  • Zaca Mesa Winery

    Zaca Mesa Winery, located in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County, California, is dedica...

  • Shoestring Vineyard & Winery

    Pinot Grigio, Syrah-Rose, Sangiovese, Merlot & Syrah all International medal winners. Buy direct...

  • Sunstone Vineyards & Winery

    When Fred and Linda Rice and their three children moved in 1989 from Santa Barbara to a peaceful ...

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Santa Ynez Valley on Snooth

  • 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


  • 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


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