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...

  • 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...

  • 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

  • Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery

    Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery at Rancho Santa Rosa is the realization of vintner Bill Foley's d...

  • Drew Family Cellars

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

  • Curtis Winery

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

  • Thorne Wine

    The Thorne family planted their first 26 acres of grapes in the year 2000. At that time, there al...

  • Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Winery

    Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post wines are made by Buellton Hitching Post owner/chef Frank Ostini and...

  • Mandolina

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

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Santa Barbara on Snooth

  • Oreana Cabernet-Syrah Blend Santa Barbara County 2004

    Snoothrank:

    Light color red wine. Structure developed a bit after opened with a few overnights in the fridge. Acidic, red raspberries, overall balanced through the acid. Read More

    Wine review by connie7899


  • Ojai Vineyard Kick On Ranch Pinot Noir 2010

    Snoothrank:

    Something of an herbal nose with hints of stone fruit. On the tongue it is immediately and not terribly big wine. There are fruit flavorssome strawberry, some cherry. The upper palate gets the fruit sweetness part. A pleasant wine. I question its age-worthiness, but, right now, it is perfect to accompany a casual meal. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Andrew Murray Syrah Santa Ynez Valley 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Another vintage, another really nice wine. Fruit on the front with a touch of spice and some smooth tannins on the finish. Great value syrah. Read More

    Wine review by RandyFisher


  • EM - It was a decent white and I will probably have another glass tomorrow as I ... 2012 French one (over the Santa Barbara CA one) called "Oliver Flaive Les Setilles' Chardonnay Bourgogne".  They were both excellent but this one was $30 cheaper.  We had a dozen raw oysters, bread & butter, a vegetable platter, soup and then the big seafood tow... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Weekday Wines


  • Hey!! Please pardon my previous posting efforts, for I am new to this exciting ... ... It was a long drive from Santa Barbara to Santa Maria, but I was compensated....good deal. Having my own lab in Los Olivos empowered me to know that I am capable of exposing myself to every facet of the wine making process. My day would start every morning b... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Lab Analyst Fess Parker...


  • Santa Barbara Landing Santa Barbara County Riesling 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Surprisingly good for the money with a beautiful nose of honeysuckle, rose petal and peach. Not quite acid balanced but has fairly rich fruit. Probably 1% RS. A great value. My rating 88. Read More

    Wine review by Zuiko


  • Santa Barbara Landing Santa Barbara County Chardonnay 2013

    Snoothrank:

    This wine has minimal fruit and is simple and is priced that way too. Their Riesling is much better. My rating 82. Read More

    Wine review by Zuiko


  • Kynsi Pinot Blanc Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido Vineyard 2012

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by 453542Mr Dolce 453542 Mr Dolce


  • Kynsi Winery Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay 2012

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by 453542Mr Dolce 453542 Mr Dolce


  • Melville Chardonnay Estate Sta. Rita Hills 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Melon, caramel nose suggests heavy oaking and full ML. On the tongue, I initially get the melon and caramel thing, but, then, a delightfully refreshing hit of lemon/grapefruit acid. Lingering pleasant aftertaste. While I feared this would be an overblown California Chardonnay, I find that this one is more like a white Burgundy. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


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