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.