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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

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...

  • Ampelos Cellars

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

  • Consilience

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

  • Summerland Winery

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

  • Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards

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

  • Babcock Vineyards

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

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Santa Barbara on Snooth

  • I first noticed tip jars about three years ago in Temecula.  I think we visited three or four tating rooms that day, and every one of them had a tip jar on the conter.  On a trip to Paso Robles two years ago I noticed tip jars in a couple of the four or five tasting rooms we visited.  I do not recall seeing any at the two Edna Valley wineries th... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara...


  • We tipped when the tasting room person went out of their way or did more than just pour from behind the counter. For instance, at Demetria, we had a sit down tasting on their patio and our wine guy came out and poured for us personally so it felt a bit more special and one on one, I think we gave him $5. Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara... by 357808vin0vin0 357808 vin0vin0


  • Oh yeah, one more comment, seems like every tasting room had a tip jar and/or had a place for a tip on the receipt. I think I've seen this issue raised before but what does everyone think and how do you handle this situation? Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara... by 357808vin0vin0 357808 vin0vin0


  • No. Especially when most wineries are charging ridiculous fees for tastings that not so long ago were free.The staff aren't bartenders and they aren't waiters. Bottom line is they are shills for the winery, trying to effect sales.How did you deal with them? Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara... by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • That pencilled in F is hilarious, v v.I remember way back that Enz had their own bottlings.  I tried hard to like it, but it never really impressed. Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara...


  • Thanks for all the detailed reportage, Vino. Frankly, no surprise here, ... ... ... them on the wharf at Santa Barbara when someone else was ordering, far earlier in their winemaking career, though when they were already being pushed as the supposedly early best solution to Santa Barbara's pinot puzzle. Stemmy (once or twice), unintegrated (a... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara... by 125836dmcker 125836 dmcker


  • Everyone, hope you got something out of all this. We definitely had a great time which was made better by all the recommendations I received here. Just some follow up notes and highlights: Best of show - Melville, everything we tasted here was top shelf, the setting was beautiful and the folks pouring were fantastic. Best tasting experience - De... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara... by 357808vin0vin0 357808 vin0vin0


  • In my tasting at Tercero, it was also the Viognier blend (The Outlier) that impressed me most, though I didn't get to try the Mourvedre, which everyone raves about.Have also heard good things about Qupe's Roussane/Masanne. Anyhow Vv, sounds like a great trip, and thanks for all the reports. Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara...


  • Qupe has always impressed me with their reasonable pricing.  Lately I've just found the wines a little lackluster.  Maybe I've just gotten spoiled by those Sonoma Syrahs that OT (mostly) turns us onto.  Still, they never make bad wine. I bought some Tensley a couple years ago from WineAccess after all the RP hype.  It was a huge disappointment--... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara...


  • Sitting at the kitchen table after a long day of travel and sorting through my ... my ... was our last day in Santa Barbara so after covering a large part of city we decided to head out to Los Olivos. We've been here before back in 2013 but there are quite a few new tasting rooms to go along with the two dozen or so that have been here a whil... Read More

    Forum post in the topic Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara... by 357808vin0vin0 357808 vin0vin0


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