From boutique wineries specializing in small bottles to award-winning labels, Santa Barbara’s vast selection of wineries, appeal to wine aficionados and budding oenophiles alike. Thanks to Mother Nature, who generously gifted the region with a transverse valley, running east to west (as opposed to all other mountain ranges on the West Coast which run north-south) a cool climate, and misty ocean air. That’s all great, but what does it mean when it comes to wine? Simply stated, it means a wine for everybody, from earthy Pinot Noirs and sophisticated Syrah to complex Chardonnays. It’s going to take more than one trip to the “American Riviera” but here are our ten favorite wineries in Santa Barbara to get you started.
Foxen Vineyard & Winery
A favorite among wine connoisseurs, critics and those are seeking highly coveted, rare bottles Foxen has been wowing wine lovers since they debuted in 1985. Two distinct tasting rooms offer entirely different experiences, so be sure to stop by both. Initially built in the 1860s as a blacksmith shop, “The Shack” offers charm, nostalgia, and Bordeaux style wines. The new solar-powered tasting room is a labor of love, where Burgundian and Rhone-style wines take center stage.
VIP: 8-day Douro River cruise hosted by Foxen Vineyard & Winery.
Bien Nacido Vineyard
This vineyard is the crown jewel of Santa Barbara, located in the heart of Los Olivos. They grow grapes that not only put Bien Nacido high on the list of California wines, but these well-harvested gems make appearances in many other well-known labels.
VIP: Member-only sold-out events like Outstanding in the Field, with host vintners and celebrated chefs.
Jaffurs Wine Cellars
Specializing in top quality Rhône-style wines, the downtown Santa Barbara winery is just a stone’s throw from the beach. The winery carefully produces only 5,000 cases each year. You’ll find Jaffurs Wine delivers some of the best Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre in the country.
VIP: Wine club members are privy to exclusive events such as private tastings every Sunday and a fourth-quarter release party that you’ll remember all year.
Fess Parker Winery
What was initially purchased as a cattle ranch by Fess Parker, the late actor known for playing Davie Crocket and Daniel Boone, is now a distinct winery focusing on small lots and selections of Rhône and Burgundy.
VIP: A Celebration of Rodney’s Vineyards. Vineyard pedigree wines, walk with the winemaker, tasting and apps from The Bar & Star.
The estate’s 3,500 square foot tasting room creates a cozy, welcoming vibe despite its size. Foley Estates’ unique micro-farming program lends way to savory Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Try a five-wine flight with cheese pairing.
VIP: Fall Pick up Party for members. An exclusive concert and special menu from the Marcus Whitman Hotel to accompany the new release.
Expert small-batch, production, hand-crafted Red Blends, Sparkling Rose, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc gets Jamie Slone the vote for Santa Barbara’s Favorite Winery & Tasting Room in 2019, by Santa Barbara News-Press Readers’ Choice Awards. Jamie Slone Wines are yet another example of Santa Barbara’s diverse microclimate interposing layers to each sip.
VIP: Stop by for reserve a flight, featuring six wines for $30 every week Thursday to Sunday.
The picturesque estate situated on stunning grounds offers some of the country’s best Syrahs and Rhône Blends. A visit to the winery means exclusive reserve wines available only at the tasting room. Each embodies the varietals of the region.
VIP: A seated tasting in the exclusive barrel room for limited release wines.
Fred Brander set out to produce the best Sauvignon Blanc in California back in the ’70s and the vineyard has not backed off since. Brander Vineyard continues to make a name for themselves with a variety of bottles and blending. They also do a fantastic job on the hand-crafted Bordeaux-style red wines.
VIP: Book a private event or dinner in the rustic-chic setting.
Cambria Estate Winery
The family-owned, sustainably farmed winery stretching across the valley floor on the Santa Maria Bench attributes the complex character of each pour to the elevating vines, crushed seashells and fog that sweeps through off the ocean at night. Don’t miss the standout Pinot Noir.
VIP: Sit down tasting and educating experience overlooking the Cambria cellar with exclusive wines such as Clone 4Pino Julia’s Signature and more.
One step into the modern, sophisticated tasting room and you’ll be swept away by Brewer Clifton’s passion and commitment to growing exceptional wines. Each wine conveys unique characteristics, like the citrus tones of Chardonnay and complex structure of the Pinot Noir. VIP: Explore Brewer Clifton’s wold of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with weekend events in the hills featuring delicious food and wine.