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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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

  • Huber Cellars

    The Huber Estate was established in 1986, and the first vines were planted in 1987, making it one...

  • Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards

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

  • Melville Winery

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

  • J. Wilkes Wines

    The roots of our new beginning actually took hold in 1984. I had just accepted a position with Bi...

  • Summerland Winery

    Summerland Winery is a boutique winery dedicated to the production of fine wines from the Central...

  • Lincourt Vineyards

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

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Santa Barbara on Snooth

  • Steele Wines Pinot Noir Santa Barbara 2008


    No written review

    Wine review by jadam318

  • Lucas & Lewellen Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County 2010


    No written review

    Wine review by jadam318

  • Beckmen Cuvee le Bec Santa Ynez Valley Red 2009


    Bluish purple in the glass. Fairly floral nose--lilacs--with also some sort of caramel or molasses scent. Lots of flavors on the palate--slight sweet cherry on the tip of the tongue, cinnamon on the edges, anise at the back. Good acid. An unfortunate bitterness and some heat on the very back of the throat. US$16.99 at Total Wines. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Fun to be early on these projects...hopefully they continue their success. ... ... trying the next buzz worthy Santa Barbara project soon, Habi Read More

    Forum post in the topic Antonio showing the Wilde...

  • Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley Santa Barbara Highlands 2008


    No written review

    Wine review by REHalFR

  • Qupe Syrah Bien Nacido Hillside Estate 2003


    Something of a geranium floral nose with a lemony hint. Initial mouth sensation is tart, then drying tannin. I think this wine is quite broad shouldered with very little fruity flavor--maybe something like blueberry. This is my kind of wine. US$33.99 at the Wine Club in Santa Ana in 2007. Read More

    Wine review by EMark

  • Seaglass Pinot Noir 2012


    Never really opened up. Some mild raspberry flavor. Very tight. Overplayed at a hotel, probably wouldn't buy again. Read More

    Wine review by rlb4227

  • Epiphany Vineyards, in Los Olivos, its at the end of the street.  Amazing stuff for such a small vineyard.  Also a huge fan of Dragonnette Cellars,  Most of their stuff needs to be aged but great for tasting and the staff is very knowledgable.  If you are in the mood for fun and its ... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Barbara County...

  • 5 yrs ago, bought an '06 Santa Barbara County Syrah (actually 6 of them) from a winemaker named CLEB wines. It was "Evelyn Noir Syrah" from Black Oak Vineyard.  I think I paid $17. After trying 3 of them over the first 3 yrs, I gave up and just figured it to be a bad choice, a mouthfull of tanins shrouded in alcohol. They were moved to the botto... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Barbara County...

  • I had a Pinot Noir, last night, that I have to admit was pretty darned good--Ken Brown 2009 Santa Barbara County.  Since my PN cred is, pretty much, non-existent, others may or may not agree with me on this one, but I liked it.  It had the cherry and slightly woody flavor that I seem to get a lot in Pinot Noir, but it also had substance.  It had... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Whatcha drinking tonight?

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