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

  • 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...

  • Chardonnay

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

  • Pinot Noir

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

  • Sauvignon Blanc

    Sauvignon Blanc is widely grown in California -- at over 15,000 acres, it’s now the third most planted variety -- and...

  • Viognier

    History of the grape: Viognier is thought to be an indigenous grape of Croatia that was brought to the Rhone in Franc...

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

  • Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards

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

  • Jaffurs Wine Cellars

    Jaffurs Wine Cellars is dedicated to producing great Rhone varietal wines with a new-world indepe...

  • Curtis Winery

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

  • Glunz Family Winery & Cellars

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

  • Au Bon Climat

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

  • Lincourt Vineyards

    There’s an atmosphere of casual grace at Lincourt that invites you to kick back and relax. But...

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Santa Barbara on Snooth

  • 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?


  • Gainey Vineyard Limited Selection Merlot 2011

    Snoothrank:

    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?


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