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

  • Viognier

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

  • Pinot Noir

    “With so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, they make the blood run hot,” Joel Fleischman, wine columnist at Van...

  • Syrah

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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • Sauvignon Blanc

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

  • Chardonnay

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

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

  • Melville Winery

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

  • Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards

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

  • Au Bon Climat

    Founded in 1982, Au Bon Climat (which means "a well-exposed vineyard") produces internationall...

  • Drew Family Cellars

    Jason Drew began his winemaking odyssey in 1980, when he helped plant his uncle’s vineyard in the...

  • Babcock Vineyards

    With new vineyards currently being planted, a new barrel aging facility, and a renowned winemaker...

  • Hitching Post

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

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Santa Barbara on Snooth

  • Toretti 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Oh... Santa Barbara County Pinot Noirs... I am a big fan of the French wines, I made it to Napa... and yet... I have a soft spot in my heart (and mouth) for the beauty of the many flavors of their Pinot Noirs. Mr. Toretti knows what he is doing too: silky, yet firm, and sophisticated, this wine will go well with almost any foods (not sure about ... Read More

    Wine review by AlineAlmeida


  • Thornhill Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 2013

    Snoothrank:

    A Tasting Room Quarterly Selection; Opens with Grapefruit and Lemon Butter, more butter and minerality, and then vanilla and baking spice. Nice full and rounded mouthful with balanced acidity and slightly heavy body. Opens up further in the glass with a meaty and oaky finish. Had alone, but think it would be superb with food. Read More

    Wine review by puhnner


  • Bernat Estate Syrah "Gratitude" 2009

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by ALICEPEARL


  • We did stay at a few B&B inns in Santa Barbara back in the 1980's.  I do believe we stayed at one in Monterey too.  Both areas are nice.  Most places along the coast are decent in California.  However, I would not want to walk here.   Read More

    Forum post in the topic Weekend Wines


  • Can't lose with either location. Santa Barbara can be plenty romantic, we'll have plenty of rec's as well. Read More

    Forum post in the topic Weekend Wines


  • If you want wine, then Santa Barbara wins out, hands down. If you want romantic retreats, go for Post Ranch or Ventana in Big Sur no. 1, San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara also tied for first, El Encanto in Santa Barbara and a number of Carmel places tied for 3rd, and anywhere in Monterey 5th. Santa Cruz...meh. Read More

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


  • The oil spill is, I'm guessing, about 20 miles north of downtown Santa Barbara and about 20-25 miles south and west of what most people refer to as Santa Barbara wine country--Lompoc/Santa Ynez.  There are some tasting rooms in the city of Santa Barbara, and, in fact most of them are within walking distance of each other.  I would guess that the... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Weekend Wines


  • It's a bit of a schlep from Carmel/Monterey up to Ridge and Mt. Eden. ... ... are not at the same level.Santa Barbara area is generally friendlier. And Ojai is an option, Mark is playing it down a bit. Lots of famous people from all sorts of walks of life have chosen to live in that valley. Advantage to staying in Santa Barbara itself is the a... Read More

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


  • JD, late to the game but congrats on the anniversary! Have yet to sample ... ... maybe heading to Monterey or Santa Barbara for the celebration but haven't made a final decision yet, any suggestions will be warmly welcomed.RBA, as you might have suspected, the French Roederer owns the Mendocino Roederer. We visited the CA branch and were very ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Weekend Wines by 357808vin0vin0 357808 vin0vin0


  • Cambria Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Dried hay and vanilla on the nose with lighter baked apple and french vanilla ice cream. More fruit on the palate than in the nose, with a fair heft from the vanilla, perhaps almost overly so as it feels like it doesn't fit well in the wine, however fans of oakiness might well give it a try. Still, the fruit on the attack is warm peach, apple an... Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


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