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

  • 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...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

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

  • Viognier

    This special and exciting variety has taken California by storm and young plantings already demonstrate that this out...

  • 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...

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

  • Carr Vineyards & Winery

    Established in 1999, Carr Vineyards & Winery specializes in ultra-premium, limited production ...

  • Barnwood Vineyards

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

  • Hitching Post

    The Buellton Hitching Post was established in 1986, but our roots started at the Casmalia Hitchin...

  • Melville Winery

    Welcome to Melville Vineyards and Winery! Come by our tasting room and sample our current Estate ...

  • Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard

    When Fess Parker was cast in the roll of Davy Crockett in the mid-1950’s, it caused an interna...

  • Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards

    Pioneer winegrowers in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA since 1970, Thekla and Richard Sanford have left t...

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Santa Barbara on Snooth

  • The Ojai Vineyard Fe Ciega Pinot Noir 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Translucent garnet color. Translucence correctly forecasts a relatively light-bodied red wine. Tart red cherry on the tip of the tongue, Some mineral hints farther back. I want to rave about this wine, but there is nothing that jumps out at me. It's just a pleasant, easy-to-drink, uncomplicated wine. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • The Ojai Vineyard Sans Soufre a Joute 2017

    Snoothrank:

    50/50 Grenache/Syrah blend. No added sulfies. Quite dark plum color in the glass. A surprising almost smoky nose. I anticipated lots of fruit on the tongue, and, sure enough--blackberry and stone fruit A bit of spritz around the edges of the tongue--probably acid. Medium bodied and refreshing--probably justifies another shout ou to the ac... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Could have been a triumph but that was then. Now I gotta find stuff to do until ... LA area would be great, but Santa Barbara and Paso Robles are a few hours away. Then there's nor-Cal and WA which I'd be OK with.Or Snake River in Idaho. They make wine there to Read More

    Forum post in the topic The Face to Face Club - a...


  • "Walla Walla is amazing.  But it is about a 5 hour drive from ... ... ... and even more so the Santa Barbara/Ojai/Santa Maria areas. Home bases by someone(s) in the group are good anchors to rely on--if that's intelligible. Read More

    Forum post in the topic The Face to Face Club - a... by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • I agree with you both - if we are talking about entry-level, everyday wines - ... - ... coastal areas such as Santa Barbara).  There are deals out there - but I was only generalizing, if you'll pardon that bit of laziness for the moment.I don't always vet my messages like in the past (time constraints and perhaps the fact that familiarity doe... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Jammy


  • Seattle's good, especially if some visits to reachable wineries could be ... far more concentrated. Or Santa Barbara/Santa Rita/Paso for that matter.&nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic The Face to Face Club - a... by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • I think that's true. There's a lot of new money getting into the wine ... $20, there's stuff from Santa Barbara, Sonoma, Lodi and elsewhere that is pretty available in CA and in that case I agree with Zuf. It's available so people buy. You go into a non-specialist store, or part of a grocery store, and they'll have things identified by grape v... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Jammy


  • Been busy with taxes.  Now that can suck - really suck - depending on how ... ... nearby.  But then Santa Barbara is not far away from the City of Angels.Even if only a few of us show, that is also fine with me.  But there is still time to rustle up more interest.M./Z. &nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic The Face to Face Club - a...


  • The Ojai Vineyard John Sebastiano Vineyard Syrah Grenache 2016

    Snoothrank:

    An easy wine to enjoy. Stone fruit on entry, although I can also make a case for a suggestion of blueberry. Pleasant, and not over the top, acid. Fairly sedate tannin. Just a nice early drinker that will pair with lighter casual meals. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • The Ojai Vineyard Puerta del Mar Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015

    Snoothrank:

    Quite light-bodied. Red fruit on the tip of the tongue. It could use more acid. An interesting "spritziness" farther back. A good wine, but not, particularly, compelling. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


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