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...

  • Sauvignon Blanc

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

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Viognier

    This special and exciting variety has taken California by storm and young plantings already demonstrate that this out...

  • 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...

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

  • Mandolina

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

  • Melville Winery

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

  • Lincourt Vineyards

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

  • Au Bon Climat

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

  • Casa Cassara Winery & Tasting Room

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

  • Jaffurs Wine Cellars

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

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Santa Barbara on Snooth

  • Tenshen Santa Barbara County 2013

    Snoothrank:

    No written review

    Wine review by boglebogle


  • Though I've mentioned Jonata on and off several times this decade, ... ... check in near the top of the Santa Barbara hierarchy. Hat’s off to winemaker Matt Dees and the rest of the team.” --- The Wine Advocate Winemaker Matt Dees just crushes it, year after year. Insanely concentrated, deeply and tightly wound reds that percolate your brain. ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic What have you bought lately? by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • Emark, that looks like the same bottle we brought back from our December trip to Santa Barbara. We were very impressed with the whole Jaffurs lineup and the folks in the winery were really nice, like they really enjoyed what they were doing. Our syrah is still sitting on its side waiting for the right moment.I just checked and our local TW does ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight? by 357808vin0vin0 357808 vin0vin0


  • Jaffurs Syrah Santa Barbara County 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Noticeable yeast odor on opening the bottle. In the glass, it is not noticeablemore of tart red fruit. Yes, red plum and a suggestion of cherry on the tip of the tongue. Initial impression is sweet. As the wine passes back I get more of the acid tartness that I like. Some sort of a smoky thing on the rear palate. A tingling on the tongue t... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • Growing up in Ventura/Carpinteria/Santa Barbara never had AC, but that was a few years ago. Ojai definitely yes. The Sespe, even Santa Paula no AC, but Cuyama and Maricopa and Shafter absolutely, though I'm old enough to remember when people were installing their very first units in those areas.Hot days in Vancouver WA we just went water skiing ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight? by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • Was another thread asking for advice about storing wine under stairs. Well if ... here's a solution in a Santa Barbara house:Off the entry foyer. Not where I'd put the cellar in that house, but some architect wanted to get efficient in use of space. Not passive, so definitely not in terms of energy use. Looks like there may be a window to the ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic How not to store wine by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • Well here's a Los Gatos cellar that's more functional in some ways. ... more than 1/10 that of the Santa Barbara estate housing the cellar seven posts above (and 1/25 the price of the estate with the barrelled rumpus room just above that).As mentioned before I like a cellar where you can hang and socialize, if so inclined. Though once again, t... Read More

    Forum post in the topic How not to store wine by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • Lincourt Chardonnay Courtneys 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Since Leslie Renaud became the winemaker at Lincourt their wines have diminished in quality. I will never buy Lincourt wines until they hire a different winemaker. Read More

    Wine review by Chazz1


  • I find that typically the warmer the region the riper (and bigger/richer) the ... ... the pinot. We were in Santa Barbara last December and then in Willamette Valley over the 4th and the general differences in their respective pinots are quite noticeable.  I'll 2nd the Hahn rec from RCKR. Adelaida has a Sta. Rita Hills pinot from the Doctors ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic New World Pinot Noir... by 357808vin0vin0 357808 vin0vin0


  • The Ojai Vineyard Chardonnay Solomon Hills Vineyard 2013

    Snoothrank:

    Almost a floral nose. That surprises me a bit. Various fruits on entrypeach/nectarine, green apple, melon, kiwi. Some oaky vanilla or butter, but, really, not distracting. Light-bodied. Not an over-the-top California Chardonnay. This one is pretty restrained. Read More

    Wine review by EMark


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