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

  • Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard

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

  • Mandolina

    Originally planted from cuttings brought from Italy's legendary vineyards, Lucas & Lewellen's Ita...

  • Ampelos Cellars

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

  • Alchemy Wine Productions

    Alchemy Wine Productions combines the forces  of Nic & Gracey Donahue, two free-spirited indivi...

  • Casa Cassara Winery & Tasting Room

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

  • Melville Winery

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

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Santa Barbara on Snooth

  • Sea Smoke "10" Pinot Noir Pinot Noir 2007

    Snoothrank:

    nice 1 Read More

    Wine review by testscreen


  • Sea Smoke "10" Pinot Noir Pinot Noir 2007

    Snoothrank:

    good Read More

    Wine review by testscreen


  • NG, was hoping to see you (and Fox) here in this discussion! Coastal ... ... ... issues in Montecito and Santa Barbara as a whole are at a completely different level than up towards Big Sur where pop pressure is less and water availability generally greater. Plus 'water meter' is merely a symbolic name masking other intents in traditional San... Read More

    Forum post in the topic From Santa Cruz south through... by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • My wife selected a Toretti's Pinot Noir "Inocencio" 2009 Santa Barbara County. Notes of vanilla, cocoa and earthiness, slight mineral flavor. It is delicious. Can't wait to try the ribs and smoked yams!  Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


  • Another lifetime ago I worked at Korbel Champagne as a blending cellar man, ... red oak. The dry rub is from Santa Barbara Seasoning owned and operated out of my friend's garage.  I'm enjoying a Ninkasi Total Domination IPA at the moment. Not sure about the wine tonight. Although I prefer red, I may have an Artiste White Blend called Rainne! W... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


  • Tonight we enjoyed a 2012  Sunstone Chardonnay with BBQ'd cod, ... it ... it was exceptionally hot in Santa Barbara approaching 90* and this wine fit the evening perfectly.&nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


  • The Ojai Vineyard Syrah Melville Vineyards 2008

    Snoothrank:

    Fairly smooth on entry to the mouth. Then I get some jammy, or, maybe, dried fruitprune, but with low sugar perception, is as close as I can come. So, this one is relying less on fruit than other components. I can say there are earthy and fungal taste sensations, but neither of those really stand out as individual components. Some heat at th... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Gainey Syrah Sta. Rita Hills Limited Selection 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Slightly murky purple in the glass. Not a particularly demonstrative nosesome red fruit some bitter spice. Fairly fruity on entryred plum and a touch of red cherry. Comes close to being jammy, but, thankfully, does not cross that line. Some hint of pepper. Easily a pretty good every day drinker. Very tame tannin and light acid suggests th... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Charlotte Victoria - you make some assumptions that may not be true in any way. ... tasting rooms in places like Santa Barbara or Napa in CA, or Eger in Hungary. They're central and easy to get to and you don't have to drive from one place to another.Mostly, in a larger sense, you haven't defined "wine tourism" at all. When I was in the busines... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Motivations of wine tourists


  • Happy 100 pages OT! Tonight we opened an Artiste Prepara which is a blend of ... pork ribs. BBQ'd with Santa Barbara Seasonings Original Rub and with red oak wood smoke. Very nice. If you like spice rubs check out my friend's website www.santabarbaraseasonings.com I use nothing else. It is excellent. Now, back to the wine. prepara is a blend o... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?


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