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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

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

  • Glunz Family Winery & Cellars

    At Meridian Vineyards, we were guided by our founding winemaker, Chuck Ortman, whose vision was t...

  • Presidio Winery

    Presidio Vineyard & Winery was founded in 1991 from winemaker Douglas Braun’s concept of bringing...

  • Barnwood Vineyards

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

  • Huber Cellars

    The Huber Estate was established in 1986, and the first vines were planted in 1987, making it one...

  • Ampelos Cellars

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

  • 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

  • Ampelos Pinot Noir Lambda United States California Santa Barbara Sta. Rita Hills 2006

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by MSEBAE


  • Growing up fishing from boats off the coast of Santa Barbara/Ventura/Oxnard/Port Hueneme used to catch lots of what we called red snapper, rock cod, barracuda, sharks and sometimes ling cod and sea bass. If we were going deeper, groupers and rockfish and scorpion fish. Off the pier was perch and seasonal fish like bonito and sometimes more bass.... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Lingcod and Cooking Fresh Fish by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • Buttonwood Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Grown Santa Ynez Valley 2009

    Snoothrank:

    Earthy notes of black currant and blackberry with notes of leather and toasted resin on the nose. Full and rich in the mouth, with delicate notes of ripe plum and dried fig, red licorice and creamy vanilla. The palate is warmly spiced with tingling acidity and delicate chocolate notes finishing with a touch of leather. This is a wonderfully comp... Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Lafond Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills Lafond Vineyard Clone 828 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Red currant and black cherry aromas have a touch of barnyard to them which is pleasant and well integrated. Bursts with acidity on entry and showing a lot of bright red cherry and currant, lightly oaked and showing a creaminess that mellows the mid palate but is almost completely gone by the finish which is fully strident and full of tart cranbe... Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Lafond Pinot Noir Sta Rita Hills Lafond Vineyard Clone 667 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Smoky and red fruited on the nose with full cherry notes that have a hint of sweetness to them but do carry a toasted and lightly burnt note. Full on the palate with creamy red raspberry preserves and black cherry with some light leathery notes and a freshness to it. Tart with cranberry notes to the finish but in a nice way. Read More

    Wine review by Snooth Editorial


  • Uncorked the first of the Santa Barbara cache this evening - 2011 Sibylline.Fairly big ripe GSM from Carina Cellars out of Buellton, CA. I believe this is Joey Tensley's second label.  A bit on the jammy side with loads of ripe dark fruit, black cherries, slightly underipe plums that are nicely balanced with some zingy acidity. The tannins are f... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara... by 357808vin0vin0 357808 vin0vin0


  • Excellent VV, there's a place that doesn't get much run around here! Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara...


  • Thank you all for the help and comments! Obviously we love taking trips that are wine-centric and it is especially rewarding when I can share our experiences with the like-minded Snooth family.Still very early in the planning stages but next up is an early summer trip to Alsace. We've already secured a VRBO in Colmar so that part is already sett... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara... by 357808vin0vin0 357808 vin0vin0


  • We tipped when the tasting room person went out of their way or did more than just pour from behind the counter. For instance, at Demetria, we had a sit down tasting on their patio and our wine guy came out and poured for us personally so it felt a bit more special and one on one, I think we gave him $5.I agree with what you did.  A tip jar at a... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara...


  • Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Happy Canyon 2012

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by Tlparadise


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