Santa Barbara Wine

The Santa Barbara County AVA lies within the Central Coast territory of California. Like much of the state’s wine regions, grape planting began with the Catholic missionaries to make wine for ceremonial mass. Though Santa Barbara can boast some of the earliest plantings, beginning in the 1780s with Father Junipero Serra bringing Mission grape cuttings from Mexico and planting them in what is now the Milpas Creek district. From there, mission vineyards spread to San Jose, Santa Cruz, Carpinteria and Goleta  (an adobe winery built there in 1804 has the distinction of being the area’s old landmark).

But also like most of California’s wine regions, production in Santa Barbara was hurt by the late 1800s Phylloxera crisis and further brought down by the Prohibition between 1921 to 1933. It wasn’t until the 1960s that a U.C. Davis study identified Santa Barbara County as a favorable wine-growing region due to its combination of soil types, geology, water and coastal climate conditions Read more »

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Popular wines made in Santa Barbara under $20

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Varietals Produced in Santa Barbara View all

  • 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...

  • Chardonnay

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

  • Viognier

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

  • 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...

Subregions of Santa Barbara

  • Santa Rita Hills

    The Sta. Rita Hills AVA is located within Santa Barbara County in California’s Central Coast re...

Popular Wineries in Santa Barbara View all

  • Ampelos Cellars

    Our vineyards and winery are managed in a very intensive, hands-on way, which we believe is the o...

  • Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery

    Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery at Rancho Santa Rosa is the realization of vintner Bill Foley's d...

  • Consilience

    Our goal at Consilience is simply to make the most expressive & reliably high quality wines possi...

  • J. Wilkes Wines

    The roots of our new beginning actually took hold in 1984. I had just accepted a position with Bi...

  • Carina Cellars

    In the southern hemisphere the constellation Argo Navis is separated into three star clusters: Ve...

  • Barnwood Vineyards

    Laetitia Vineyard & Winery has a prestigious heritage, rich in French tradition that is still evi...

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Santa Barbara on Snooth

  • Liquid Farm Chardonnay Golden Slope 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Really, really nice Sta. Rita Hills chard. Loads of zippy lemon chiffon, a touch of honeysuckle, bracing acidity, light to no oak showing thru and a fairly long finish. Read More

    Wine review by 357808vin0vin0 357808 vin0vin0


  • If you can find a copy of the Wine Lovers Companion, a nice book small enough ... ... from Napa, Sonoma and Santa Barbara, a vin de pays chardonnay from France, a lower-priced Burgundy, an Aussie chardonnay, for example) and just note what you taste.  Lemons, apricots, grass, herbs,salinity, stony notes, heavier body to lighter, whatever you ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic No clue about Wine Terminology


  • Unless you're an utter Revolutionary War geek, or want to get down and ... ... sipping the early wines of Santa Barbara County back then I did spend a moment wondering if Night Train was the official Jersey state wine...  So what I'm saying, Greg, is just embrace the CA herby hills, and surf and food, and ambiance even if San Diego doesn't hav... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Looking for a less expensive... by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • Don't know how much you can get back up into the hills of inland San Diego ... ... mountains of Ventura, Santa Barbara and LA Counties, occasionally even up into San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties, too. You come home with your clothes all smelling of sage and many, many other herbs depending on where you've been. Whole hillsides that would... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Looking for a less expensive... by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • Lincourt Chardonnay Steel 2012

    Snoothrank:

    I was pleasantly surprised by this wine. I don't tend to drink American white wines but the Lincourt Steel tasted more like a French burgundy and it is my go to wine both for sipping and with food if I am in the mood for a white wine. Read More

    Wine review by vin du sud


  • JD, it looks like you can buy Whitcraft wine on the winery website or at their ... or at their tasting room in Santa Barbara. Chris Whitcraft died in June of this year, and his son Drake has taken over the business. No telling if that will affect the wines.Tyler has a tasting room in the Lompoc wine ghetto, so I should be able to make it over ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic California Central Coast


  • Dave, Chardonnay has been the most impressive grape coming out of Santa Barbara (Sta. Rita Hills to be more precise), then Syrah from Santa Ynez. Pinot is somewhere down the list...the only couple I've liked have been from Whitcrafts Aubaine vineyard (unfortunately you need to be a club member to get it), and a wine from the Fiddlestix vineyard,... Read More

    Forum post in the topic California Central Coast


  • JD, you like Sanford PNs? I have too many memories of off aromatics and ... ... trying to drink some on the Santa Barbara pier, since that's where I had them most often for some reason. That was '80s into the '90s and I haven't had any this millenium because of those very uneven stabs at pinot-ness I kept encountering. Perhaps they've improved... Read More

    Forum post in the topic California Central Coast by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • I go to S. Calif every winter to visit family and drive up to Santa Barbara for a day to visit vineyards. We've now been to quite a few vineyards and among our favorites are Zaca Mesa, Koehler and Bridlewood.  But the stand-out vineyard was Demetria. You need a reservation to visit, but it's worth it. It's at the end of a long winding private ro... Read More

    Forum post in the topic California Central Coast


  • Ojai Vineyard Santa Barbara County Syrah Presidio Vineyard 2008

    Snoothrank:

    Attractive purple in the glassnot inky dark. Some rea fruit and, maybe, some anise on the nose. Very easy on the tongue red fruit flavorsplum, raspberry, and, maybe some tropical hints. At mid-to-rear palate, tannins emerge, more or less, negating the fruit flavors. When a bit of acid tartness kicks in, this becomes a refreshing wine. This i... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


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