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...

  • 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...

  • Pinot Noir

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

  • Chardonnay

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

  • 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

  • Ampelos Cellars

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

  • Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards

    Visit the Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards Tasting Room, located in the charming European village of So...

  • Drew Family Cellars

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

  • Hitching Post

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

  • Presidio Winery

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

  • Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards

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

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Santa Barbara on Snooth

  • 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 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?

  • Gainey Vineyard Limited Selection Merlot 2011


    Some fruit and some alcohol on the nose. Lots of cherry on the tip of the tongue. Almost, syrupy, but not quite. Some acid tartness towards the back along with some slightly bitter olive hits. Very little tannin sturdiness. An easy wine to drink, but, really, not much other satisfaction. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Since I live in Santa Barbara I don't pay attention to the B&B options. The El Encanto was recently renovated and friends say it is very nice again. The above mentioned spots are always a good bet but I would add The Bacara to the list of luxury places. The Miramar is still in a state of decomposition and is not available. Over in the Valley che... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Enophiles!

  • It's another late night for me but I opened this Pahlmeyer Sonoma Coast ... smattering of local (for me) Santa Barbara County wines. I am very happy with this purchase. This Pahlmeyer is delicious! Which one of you guys dislikes Pinot Noir? You need to try this one! Lesson learned... You can't always go by appearances. This bottle had a slight... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?

  • Sanguis Out of Line 2010


    No written review

    Wine review by tkl1728

  • The Bacara up along the coast towards Goleta is a different animal. New, ... ... New, ... putting on a 'Santa Barbara food and wine weekend' next month. They're riding on the Julia Childs coattails, and also pulling in that newest celeb winemaker, Kurt Russell, who claims to know pinot and is making some out of the Santa Rita Hills. As to be ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Enophiles! by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker

  • Well, RBA, at some point you should try the following places (in my order of ... of these places are oldskool Santa Barbara classics (THE classics there). Just one of scores of stories is how JFK kept Jackie up at the San Ysidro ranch on their honeymoon, while visiting Marilyn down at the Biltmore. Unfortunately they've gone through changes of... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Enophiles! by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker

  • Fruit fom Anapolis out in the True takes 2-1/2 hrs to get to Santa Rosa. Alder ... Creek, Redwood Valley and Santa Barbara. Halcon fruit is a 4hr truck ride from the winery. Adam trucks his fruit down from Oregon and up from SLH. Bedrock from Lodi to Sonoma. It happens all the time with most wineries.&nbs Read More

    Forum post in the topic Pahrump Valley Winery (Nevada)

  • Just wanted to add my welcome ATF, I'm probably #9 on OT's list of 8 ... in NC) and I said that the Santa Barbara area has been on my wish list for a couple years now. Closest we got was a day trip to Los Olivos, which we enjoyed thoroughly. We like to stay in B&B's or small family type hotels, any suggestions? I've got a spreadsheet of SB win... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Enophiles! by 357808vin0vin0 357808 vin0vin0

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