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 change monthly. You can enjoy a tasting, have a glass or buy a bottle (free corkage!) and enjoy it on their open-air patio just a block from the ocean. Stop in during happy hour for great deals on fine wine and beer any Monday through Wednesday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Free but hard to find parking all around. Many other wineries within walking distance, as well as some great restaurants.
Recommended for Wineries and Vineyards because: Want a whole glass of wine? Traveling with a friend who prefers beer? Visit Corks n' Crowns in the Funk Zone.
Geneva's expert tip: The wines and beers served here change monthly. If you live in the area, that makes it fun to revisit!
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 vineyards. The high end tasting room is well-appointed and by appointment only. Absolutely no walk-ins allowed! If you're lucky, your visit will be paired with a tour of the wine preparation and storage areas. Sanguis wines pair excellently with food, making them a wonderful souvenir to bring home now and enjoy with a great meal and good company in the future.
Recommended for Wineries and Vineyards because: Enjoy sophisticated wines made in small batches that pair excellently with food.
Geneva's expert tip: You can visit this winery by appointment only. Call ahead to schedule a private tasting. It's luxe and lovely!
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 year, with the goal of making bottles that are both delicious and easily guzzled. Wines you'll want to bring to your friends' houses and buy by the case to serve at parties. Visit Municipal's lively tasting room in the Funk Zone for an enjoyable wine tasting experience you won't soon forget. And don't forget to visit their sister site, Potek winery, for wines you'll want to cellar and drink on special occasions.
Recommended for Wineries and Vineyards because: One of the most fun Funk Zone tasting rooms. You can taste wine, have a glass or buy a bottle - blocks from the ocean.
Geneva's expert tip: Try the Fizz, their sparkling red wine, if you can... they're usually sold out!
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 of the best vineyards in the area. Visit their website for detailed tasting and crafting notes, including the origin of the grapes and fermenting process. This beautiful, rose-bordered winery has a large outdoor picnic area, but you should call ahead to reserve space for parties of 10 or more. They also have cheese and crackers for sale in the tasting room - in the event of a more impromptu picnic!
Recommended for Wineries and Vineyards because: For the picture-perfect scenery alone, Rusack is worth the trip. Couple that with fantastic wine from their estate vineyard and you have an unforgettable visit.
Geneva's expert tip: Gift with purchase: your tasting fee includes an elegant crystal logo wine glass. Bring the whole family and start a collection.
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 drive a little ways past Los Olivos, enter a secret passcode at a large gate, and then drive another little ways on a narrow lane through some of the most marvelous countryside in the area. You will see goats, maybe hawks, maybe deer. And then, oh then, you will pull up to a large estate, be seated on a sunny courtyard, and enjoy some very fine sips of rosé, Pinot Noir and Syrah, among others.
Recommended for Wineries and Vineyards because: This by-appointment-only winery has the loveliest outdoor patio with expansive vineyard views. The wine is good, too!
Geneva's expert tip: Forgot to pack your snacks? Don't worry, they offer a simple menu of fine cheeses and charcuterie.
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. Instead founder Michael Sigouin, a native Hawaiian, creates delicious wines - many of them blends - using only Santa Barbara County fruit and gives them Hawaiian names like 'Hapa' and 'Hale.' Sigouin endeavors to keep his wines as natural as possible; this means native yeast, no enzymes and no ML bacteria. Try their Grenache Rose for a refreshing treat. Open daily from 11ish a.m. - 5ish p.m. (island time).
Recommended for Wineries and Vineyards because: Fan of Grenache? Kaena has some of the very best in town (there's even a Grenache Rose).
Geneva's expert tip: This Hawaiian-inspired tasting room runs on 'island time' so they might open a little early and close a little late... or vice versa!
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 Sauvignon Blanc. Their Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have repeatedly been ranked above 90 points by various wine critics. Prices are reasonable, and you will be tempted to take home a bottle or two - perhaps even join their rapidly-growing wine club. We recommend you do while they're still taking new members... this winery is one to watch. If you're planning to buy a bottle or more during your trip to Los Olivos, make sure at least one comes from Alta Maria.
Recommended for Wineries and Vineyards because: This is a relaxed tasting room with great wine and a rustic cowboy theme, boasting comfy leather chairs and warm wood surroundings.
Geneva's expert tip: Want the real local scoop and a great dose of personality while you taste? Ask for Jim or Stephanie.
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 Alamos and Santa Maria. Then they are crushed, pressed, cellared and bottled right in this very location. A tasting fee of $10 lets you sample current offerings. As this location functions as both a working winery and small tasting room, please call ahead for groups of 6 or more. Free street parking out front. Located not far from bustling Milpas Street and a short drive from the Funk Zone.
Recommended for Wineries and Vineyards because: Jaffurs produces one of the tastiest Viogniers in the land, year after year. It's light and refreshing, never cloyingly sweet.
Geneva's expert tip: If all that wine is making you feel a little fuzzy, pop around the corner for fresh, handmade tacos on Milpas Street.
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 nature, each vintage celebrated for its unique characteristics. Grapes are hand picked, hand sorted, foot stomped (or lightly pressed), hand bottled and hand labeled, limiting their production to less than 2,000 cases a year. Now helmed by second-generation winemaker Drake Whitcraft, this winery is best known for Burgundian-style Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays; other offerings include French and Italian varietals sourced from the Central Coast area.
Recommended for Wineries and Vineyards because: Visit Whitcraft to try classic California varietals as nature intended. Grapes are hand picked and bottles are gravity fed by second-generation winemaker Drake Whitcraft.
Geneva's expert tip: Join the wine club to receive invitations to exclusive pick up parties and sample older vintages.
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 list to become Foxen wine club members so that they can gain access to extremely rare bottles of wine and subsequently brag about them to their friends. Be advised that this winery actually claims two tasting rooms on the same road. The original tasting room, Foxen 7200, tastes Bordeaux and Cal-Ital style wines. Their more recent, solar-powered tasting room (located at 7600 Foxen Canyon Rd.) tastes Pinot Noirs and Rhone-style wines.
Recommended for Wineries and Vineyards because: A bit of a drive, but completely worth it for both flavor and scenery.
Geneva's expert tip: This winery has two tasting rooms, each with different offerings. The original is affectionately known as "the shack."