Where is Santa Barbara Wine Country?
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. The Valley is home to over 120 wineries, 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.