The Santa Barbara County Wine Region
Santa Barbara Wine Country and its eclectic and diverse AVAs keep demonstrating that Santa Barbara is a world-class cool climate wine region and rival to its more well-known cousins up north (Napa & Sonoma)
Santa Barbara County is home to 292 wineries and 7 officially recognized American Viticultural Areas or AVAs: They are Santa Maria Valley AVA, Santa Ynez Valley AVA, Sta. Rita Hills AVA, Ballard Canyon AVA, Los Olivos District AVA, Happy Canyon AVA, and Alisos Canyon AVA.
Santa Barbara wine country includes over 16,000 acres of vineyards, and there are over 65 different varietals planted. Santa Barbara has established a reputation for world-class Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah, but you’ll also find deep, rich Bordeaux, elegant Rhône-style wines, and even Spanish and Italian varietals.
Santa Barbara Wine Terroir
When it comes to growing grapes, not all valleys are created equal. Santa Barbara County’s most significant and unique geographical element is its transverse mountain ranges. Along most of North America’s west coast, mountains run parallel to the coastline. Those mountains shield the land east from the Pacific Ocean’s influences and cool breezes.
The East/West nature of the Santa Ynez Mountains ranges in Santa Barbara County forms a collection of microclimates and soil types. The vines receive ocean breezes guided by Santa Ynez Mountains. Soils range from pockets of calcareous limestone that help maintain acidity, diatomaceous earth creates concentrated wines, sandy soils encourage fruit driven styles, and, clay loam mixtures retain moisture for parched vines.
The chill of the fog and breezes flowing in from the Pacific Ocean help extend the growing season allowing grapes to fully ripen without excessive sugar levels.
Temperatures are mild and moderate Mediterranean, providing world-class conditions for growing a wide variety of wine grapes.
Santa Barbara Tasting Rooms
Santa Barbra Wine Urban Wine Trails are located in downtown Santa Barbara and not at the Winery’s Vineyard.
Most of the wineries grow their own grapes or source their grapes from vineyards that are located about 45 minutes North-East of the city of Santa Barbara in Santa Ynez Valley, Sta. Rita Hills and Santa Maria.
Many of Santa Barbara county’s vineyards welcome visitors and you can taste their wine on-site. Some offer tours where you can watch the winemaker.
With over 30 wine tasting rooms located in the City, Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trails is home to numerous tasting rooms, outdoor patio wine hangouts, breweries, shops, art galleries, and street art all within walking distance of each other. Tasting fees vary per winery but typically $15 for 4 to 5 wines.
In addition to Santa Barbara’s three distinctive Urban Wine Trails, more wineries can be found in the surrounding neighborhoods of La Arcada, Goleta, Montecito, and Summerland.
Santa Barbara Funk Zone Urban Wine Trail
Looking for an electric young vibe to sip wine? Visit the Funk Zone located adjacent to the Ocean on lower State Street. You will find tasting rooms for over 16 local wineries along with shops, art galleries, breweries, and restaurants. Funk Zone Wine Trail Guide
Santa Barbara Funk Zone Wine Trail Guide Video.
Presidio Neighborhood Urban Wine Trail
The Presidio Urban Wine Trail is located in the heart of Santa Barbara offering a variety of premier wine tasting rooms, high-end restaurants, casual dining, and boutique shops.
Nestled among the historical site of the last of the Spanish fortresses, the Presidio Neighborhood offers the opportunity to explore the history of Santa Barbara, along with experiencing some of the area’s finest food and wine.
Santa Barbara Presidio Neighborhood Urban Wine Trail Guide Video
Santa Barbara Midtown Wine Trail
East on Haley Street in an industrial area of Santa Barbara you will find six fully functioning wineries where you can watch the winemakers perfect their craft.
There are also many hidden gems including restaurants where the locals eat, great breweries.
Do the Wineries require reservations?
-Nearly all the tasting rooms in Santa Barbara welcome walk-in. However, on the weekends or holidays, you may want to call ahead and make a reservation. (Particularly during the Covid-19 restrictions)
How much does wine tasting cost?
-Tasting fees vary per winery but typically $15 for 4 to 5 wines.
How many wines are included in a wine tasting?
-Typically 4 to 5 wines are served per tasting.
Do the Tasting Rooms serve food.
– Some wineries do serve food, however, most do not. The Tasting rooms are located near many great restaurants