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

  • Pinot Noir

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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

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

  • 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...

  • 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...

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

  • Summerland Winery

    Summerland Winery is a boutique winery dedicated to the production of fine wines from the Central...

  • Carina Cellars

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

  • Curtis Winery

    Why Rhônes? Because they are an alternative to the beaten path. Because they are delicious as wel...

  • Casa Cassara Winery & Tasting Room

    We are a small 2500 case winery specializing in handmade wines from Santa Barbara County. Our Est...

  • Au Bon Climat

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

  • Timeless Palates Wine

    Founded in 2005, La Fenêtre is my expression of classic style and technique in winemaking with ne...

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Santa Barbara on Snooth

  • Alma Rosa Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2007


    Nicely spicy and complex on the nose, with some wood spice, hints of roasted peach, intense floral tones, some fine nuanced herbal edges and fresh, spicy red berry scents. This is light, fresh and bright in the mouth with wonderful balance and while its a bit fruity for some palates its really pure and poised. The tannins creep in towards the b... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz

  • Alma Rosa Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills Sta. Rita Hills la Encantada Vineyard 2006


    This is a Gold Medal WIne Club-Pinot Series selection from Nov. '08. A powerful wine, the Alma Rosa 2006 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir showcases the darker, more covert aspects of the alluring varietal. Rich fruit flavors and aromas of black cherries and currants are bolstered by a smoky spiciness with essences of spicy mu shu plum sauce, herb an... Read More

    Wine review by Gold Medal Wine Club

  • Sanford Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills 2006


    Outstanding Pinot, very rich cherry flavors. Read More

    Wine review by fthead9

  • Lucas & Lewellen Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County 2006


    No written review

    Wine review by pinhole

  • Gainey Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2006


    This wine is bold, wearing its oak barrel fermentation proudly. In aroma and taste we got creamy goodness, somewhat like apple pie with ice cream and a touch of butterscotch. Big, round, smooth, comforting are the words that come to mind. I didn't get quite as much acid as I would have liked but all-in-all a very fine wine for seafood (nice c... Read More

    Wine review by tmpape

  • Barnwood Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Barbara County 2004


    This was a past selection of Gold Medal Wine Club's Gold Series. The 2004 Barnwood, 3200' Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from the winerys estate vineyard located 3200 feet above sea level. Right out-of-the-shoot, the 2004 Cabernet is compiling a portfolio of awards equal to earlier vintages. This rich, deep garnet colored cabernet was awarded a... Read More

    Wine review by Gold Medal Wine Club

  • Byron Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley 2005


    No written review

    Wine review by hawk1

  • Gioia 2007


    I am not even a Chardonnay drinker, but this is so light and crisp, it's fantastic. In addition, some of the proceeds go to the Tyler Love Foundation, which increases safety measures and awareness on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, where the winemaker's son was tragically killed due to poor safety conditions and regulations. I highly reco... Read More

    Wine review by danielle932

  • Fess Parker Syrah Santa Barbara County American Tradition Reserve 1995


    Reviewed 11/12/2008 - Not certain about the quality of the bottle - cork was pretty saturated.Powerful nose (lots of petroleum and tar). Bland up front with a hint of grass and tar before the tannins on the finish Read More

    Wine review by jkagel

  • Firestone Vineyard Merlot Central Coast Vineyard Selection 2004


    No written review

    Wine review by jgorn

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