Experience Santa Barbara Wine Country
Santa Barbara Wine Country. Diversity & World Class Wines
Anytime is a great time to visit Santa Barbara Wine Country. With temperatures hovering around seventy degrees most of the year, and limited rainfall, it’s hard not to have great weather during your travels.
Diversity is what defines the authentic vibe of the Santa Barbara wine experience. Amidst a buzzing downtown scene, the urban wine trail is electric, with dozens of tasting rooms and working wineries peppering the city. In the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria Valleys, an easy 45-minute drive over the hill, though, reveals rolling vineyards as far as the eye can see, and a quintessential wine country experience is marked by world-class wine, cuisine, and hospitality.
The first thing to understand about SBC is the geography because it’s a principal reason why it’s so unique. The mountain ranges run east-west and are referred to as transverse. Along nearly the entirety of North America’s west coast, mountains run parallel to the coastline. Those mountains shield lands to the east from the Pacific Ocean’s influences. It’s also in this region at Point Conception where California’s maritime climate converge; with the cooling ocean currents from Alaska coming together with the warm currents from Mexico’s Baja. What it all means is with the transverse topography, and the Pacific’s chilling wind and fog, the western edge of the grape growing valley is completely exposed to these cooling influences. The point where the mountains again resume a north-south orientation, there is a dramatic climate shift.
It’s this climatic diversity, coupled with a variety of soil types, which easily justifies the presence of six AVAs and allow for one of the most diverse wine regions in the world.
The wine region of Santa Barbara County is located north of the city of Santa Barbara and includes the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley. The Santa Ynez Valley has several small towns including Buellton, Solvang, Los Olivos. Within the Santa Ynez Valley there are several AVA’s (American Viticultural Areas): Santa Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon and Happy Canyon.
The Santa Ynez Valley is just 2 hours drive from Los Angeles. From the city of Santa Barbara, it is a 30-45 minute shuttle or drive. The Valley is home to nearly 200 wineries and more than 27,000 acres of vines, from tiny tasting rooms with low-scale production wineries to mass-producing operations.
Santa Barbara Wine Country is uniquely situated in transverse valleys beside the Santa Ynez Mountain Range. It is literally “Sideways” (filmed in Santa Barbara), and represents the longest transverse valley (East to West) on the western Pacific Coast. Due to it’s location, the vines receive ocean breezes channeled by the hills and mountains that surround the region. Temperatures are “mediterranean” (mild and moderate), providing an world-class place for growing a wide variety of wine grapes. Rolling hills and near-constant lovely weather make the Santa Ynez Valley an ideal location for bike rides! Cool coastal temperatures meet a warmer inland climate, benefitting several sensitive cool-climate varietals; the region is praised for it’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the west, with Cabernet and Merlot thriving in the east.
History of Santa Barbara Wine Country
Santa Barbara has a rich wine making history dating back to 1782 when Father Junipero Serra planted vines near the Mission. By the late 1800’s, there were 45 vineyards in the area including a 150 acre vineyard on Santa Cruz Island. The first post-prohibition commercial winery opened in 1962 by Pierre Lafond, Santa Barbara Winery. This Winery is still in operation. Today Santa Barbara’s Wine Country contains over 77,000 acres of grapes with 60+ varieties.
Santa Barbara Wine Tours
Cupcake and Wine Tour (Voted Santa Barbara’s Best Wine Tour by the Santa Barbara Independent).
If you like tasty treats and wine, then you are going to love this Santa Ynez tour! This wine tour features a delicious sampling of wine infused cupcakes from Enjoy Cupcakes in the heart of Santa Ynez wine country.
Your Cupcake and Wine Tour Includes:
Shuttle Pick Up from the Beachside Inn
All wine tasting fees
Deli style lunch
Discussion of wine making as well as natural and human history