10Best Santa Barbara Wineries and Tasting Rooms



There are two big reasons that people travel to Santa Barbara.

1. College: Santa Barbara is home to a dozen or so colleges and universities within its glorious borders, contributing to a nonstop influx of very smart people.

2. Wine: Santa Barbara County boasts more than 100 area wineries, contributing to a nonstop influx of very smart people with excellent taste.

(OK, we’ll admit it, there’s probably a third big reason: the beach. But if you’re reading this, we’re betting your idea of traveling involves a little more than sunbathing. Not that it’s a bad way to spend part of your vacation.)

So assuming you’re of legal drinking age and not in school at this very moment, let’s take a tour of the 10 best places to taste the amazing array of wines that come from our prized Central Coast grapes. 

If you’re in the mood for a road trip, you simply MUST travel the notoriously winding – but very scenic – State Route 154 to Los Olivos. This wine-centric small town has many tasting rooms within a short walk of each other. You should taste the robust blends at Kaena and visit Alta Maria for very expressive, very reasonably priced reds.

Your other option is to explore Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail. This consists of an assortment of tasting rooms, most within walking or biking distance of an area known as the Funk Zone. Municipal Winemakers is probably the most fun and funky of them all, making it a great place to meet (or make) friends.




Corks n' Crowns is a fun tasting room and wine and craft beer club on the Urban Wine Trail in the Santa Barbara Funk Zone. They offer tastings that represent wines by different makers collected around a theme. The wines and beers they pour...  Read More


9
Santa Barbara
Sanguis Wines
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


This winery and tasting room near Santa Barbara's Eastside is hard to find, just like treasure should be. Tucked away in an industrial part of town, step inside this modern facility to be blown away by flavors cultivated at a variety of local...  Read More


Municipal Winemakers
Photo courtesy of Municipal Winemakers


Municipal Winemakers is the brainchild of Dave Potter, a well-traveled winemaker who also produces wine for one of the area's largest commercial vineyards. Potter's efforts for Municipal are more intimate, producing 600 or so cases of wine a...  Read More




Rusack Vineyards is best known for their red wines, especially Pinot Noir and Syrah. Being on the smaller side for a vineyard (situated on about 48 acres) Rusack crafts their wines using both estate grapes and locally sourced varietals from some...  Read More


6


The Demetria Estate is hands down the prettiest place to taste wine in Santa Barbara County, and the fact that their wine is delicious certainly doesn't hurt matters. Call ahead to make a tasting reservation. At the appointed time, you will...  Read More


5
Los Olivos
Kaena Wine Co
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


Los Olivos may be inland, but that doesn't mean that the mindset of every tasting room is! For some great wine with a hint of, well, Hawaii, seek out Kaena's tasting room. Does this mean there sell wines with hints of pina colada? Heavens no....  Read More


Alta Maria Vineyards
Photo courtesy of Geneva Ives


Formed as the result of a longstanding friendship between viticulturist James Ontiveros and winemaker Paul Wilkins, Alta Maria produces small batches of wine using the area's finest grapes. Expressive bottles include Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and...  Read More




Jaffurs Wine Cellars focuses on Rhone-style varietals like Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Viognier and Roussanne. Production is limited, resulting in about 3,500 cases a year. Grapes are sourced from vineyards in Santa Rita, Santa Ynez, Los...  Read More




Hard to spot but great to find, Whitcraft Winery is a small tasting room and winery tucked away behind Santa Barbara's Funk Zone. Established by Chris Whitcraft in 1985, Whitcraft Winery produces wines that are a testament to the whims of Mother...  Read More


1
Los Olivos


Foxen Vineyards produces highly coveted, sustainably farmed wines that inspire people to take very long journeys on winding roads just for a sip or two. And then, after that first taste, many of those same people will put themselves on a waiting...  Read More


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Meet Geneva Ives

Geneva Ives moved to Santa Barbara in 2000 on a whim (ok, and to go to college) and never looked back. She loves Santa Barbara because it’s really one of America’s greatest small towns - it...  More About Geneva

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