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...

  • Merlot

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

  • Chardonnay

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

  • Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc is widely grown in California -- at over 15,000 acres, it’s now the third most planted variety -- and...

  • Syrah

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

  • Viognier

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

Popular Wineries in Santa Ynez Valley View all

  • Andrew Murray Vineyards

    "Handcrafted wines, from hillside vines, planted exclusively to Rhone varieties..." Andrew Mur...

  • Santa Barbara Winery

    Santa Barbara had the good fortune of being the site of one of the numerous California Missio...

  • Stolpman Vineyards

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

  • Cult Vines

    Cult Vines’ relentless pursuit of perfection is embodied in our world-class wine. Our passion ...

  • Kaena

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

  • Vogelzang Vineyards

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

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Santa Ynez Valley on Snooth

  • Know the Bath St. from previous years. It was OK, but nowhere I'd choose on ... ... Los Olivos and the whole Santa Ynez valley doesn't hold a candle to Santa Barbara when it comes to accommodations. I'd splurge in the latter, and make do in the former. Fess Parker (in his main place in the Valley, not SB) was better when he was alive, but that'... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Best wineries and wines in... by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker

  • It's a bit of a schlep from Carmel/Monterey up to Ridge and Mt. Eden. Better to stay in Santa Cruz or over in the Silicon Valley area if you're interested in them. Driving those roads at the end of the day (evening rush hour) can also be a nightmare. The Monterey/Carmel area wineries are not at the same level.Santa Barbara area is generally frie... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Weekend Wines by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker

  • Al, I have bottles of both in the inventory.  Keep your eye on the various threads, and you'll probably see more of my comments.v v, for sure the Santa Ynez and Lompoc areas are getting a lot of attention, these days, and, based on my personal research, much of it is well-deserved.  I like Edna Valley because it is "the road less traveled."  As ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic A 3-Hour Edna Valley Tour

  • Mark, very nice write up!We are always looking for wine related places to visit, especially in CA. Edna Valley is on the "to do" list. We still need to check out Santa Ynez and Santa Barbara as well. Read More

    Forum post in the topic A 3-Hour Edna Valley Tour

  • Tonight we had a 2011 Sunstone Merlot. Nice black pepper notes, very soft ... ... try. Grapes sourced from the Santa Ynez Valley.&nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?

  • Tonight it was a 2013 Stolpman Carbonic Sangiovese in a nuveau style and very ... ... high on my list of local Santa Ynez Valley wineries that makes a good Tuscan style red as well as Syrah, Grenache and Viogniers. This Carbonic Sangiovese is a new one for me. As you all know, the process is to innoculate the whole clusters with yeast  in a ta... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?

  • Gainey Vineyard Limited Selection Merlot 2011


    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

  • Thanks Emark, there is plenty to explore in my area. It really has been coming ... Rhone inspired wines and the Santa Ynez Valley has some excellent Pinots and Syrahs. I'm not a white wine drinker but many of the Chardonnays, Viogniers and Pinot Blancs are amazing.&nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Enophiles!

  • DV you may be referring to a half case of Sunstone Chardonnay which was a gift ... vineyards in the Lompoc and Santa Ynez valleys. Like Bion Rice, Peter is passionate about making wine. He is usually pouring in his tasting room and teaches as he pours. You will learn a ton about winemaking by visiting him in Lompoc. For those asking about my c... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Enophiles!

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

    Forum post in the topic Hello Enophiles!

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