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

  • 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...

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

  • 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...

  • 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

  • Blair Fox Cellars

    Blair Fox Cellars is a small 500 case ultra-premium boutique label which specializes in hand-craf...

  • Casa Cassara Winery & Tasting Room

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

  • Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard

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

  • Babcock Vineyards

    With new vineyards currently being planted, a new barrel aging facility, and a renowned winemaker...

  • Consilience

    Our goal at Consilience is simply to make the most expressive & reliably high quality wines possi...

  • Mandolina

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

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Santa Barbara on Snooth

  • Currently trying to decide between margaritas and tacos for dinner, or a ... ... a ... 1, starfish 0: Santa Barbara seagull 1, pigeon 0: Mystery seagull 1, pigeon 0: Seagull 1, crab 0: Seagull 1, puffin 0: Seagull (teaming up with crow) 1, Vatican pigeon definitely 0: Seagull 1, Tasmanian duckling about to be 0:  Seagull several, whale nothin... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Seagulls, what do you think? by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • Santa Barbara Winery Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2011

    Snoothrank:

    Nice and crisp with lemon pith, green apple, and good acidity. There's some smoothness that adds a bit of complexity. Not much butter or oak which is what I've been liking in my chards recently. Read More

    Wine review by 357808vin0vin0 357808 vin0vin0


  • Broc Cellars Cassia Grenache Santa Barbara 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Smoky on the nose with red raspberry and strawberry fruit showing plenty of garrigue spice with a hint of licorice and poppy seeds spice. Elegant, bright, and quite supple on the palate this shows good clarity in the mouth in a slightly rounded style with flavors of strawberries and spice. Gentle and easy going through the modest finish where ... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Broc Cellars Martian Mourvedre 2012

    Snoothrank:

    Bio farmed Big and fruity on the nose with a big core of wild black cherry fruit accented with hints of flowers, charred beef, leather, candy red licorice, and a hint of macerated herbs. Medium light bodied on the gorgeous wild cherry and wild raspberry fruit on the palate shows gentle complexity with hint of tar and herbs. This shows gorgeous ... Read More

    Wine review by Gregory Dal Piaz


  • Welcome Will of the band of Nottingham brothers! More recently of the Santa Barbara I can also remember, though prices were a smidgen higher in my day. What were you drinking back then for $2, and where were you drinking it? I was even in IV the day the Bank of America burned down, though I was a bit young for being in that place at that time.Ev... Read More

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


  • I am a freelance writer living in Boulder CO.  Went to grad school in Santa Barbara 40 years agowhen we could get a perfectly drinkable chardonnay for around $2.I have traveled in Europe, incl. France, Italy and Spain, so I am partial to wines from those countries.Recently re-introduced to CA wines.  I like old vine zins very much.  My budget is... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Hello Snooth!


  • Qupe Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard 2007

    Snoothrank:

    Y'know, this one may be the reasons that a lot of people don't care for Central Coast Syrahs. In the initial tastes, it has a lot of "viney" flavor that is going to turn off a lot of people. Then you get a sour taste--and not the nice acid tartness that I like to get--a "this is just too old" sourness. After a few minutes (of air or me adapti... Read More

    Wine review by EMark


  • It's not the University of California at Santa Barbara. This is for Orange Countians, or refugees from Orange County.  However, specifically, it is best known among former and, I would imagine, current residents of the city of Santa Ana.Returning to the wine theme, and humbly standing in for GregT, about 10 years ago, Mt Palomar had an outstandi... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Arizona?!


  • I bought one of the '13 Santa Barbara Mourvèdre...will just have them hold it until I get up to 3-4 bottles. The tight allocations suit me fine as long as I can get at least a bottle to try.For whites, that Idlewild sounds interesting, the whole lineup for that matter. Read More

    Forum post in the topic Tasting Dirty & Rowdy with...


  • Hardy told me today that they just had a dinner where they poured every vintage ... The nose on the Un-oopsed Santa Barbara wine was intoxicating thoug Read More

    Forum post in the topic Tasting Dirty & Rowdy with...


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