Santa Barbara County has a history of winemaking and winegrape growing stretching back more than 200 years – before California was a state.
From the Mission Era of early California through the Ranchero and Pueblo Era, struggling through Prohibition and on to the beginning of the modern era of viniculuture that started in the 1960s, the county continues to combine traditional, hand-made techniques with the latest cutting-edge innovations in grape-growing and winemaking.
There are several distinctive growing areas within the county, and one of the best is the Santa Ynez Valley – a long, east-west corridor with very cool temperatures on the coast that become progressively warmer inland.
With so many microclimates, several varietals do well in Santa Ynez, from Pinot Noir in the west to Cabernet and Merlot in the east. Several Rhone and Italian grape varietals also have gained acclaim in this versatile American Viticultural Area.
Santa Ynez Valley has the county’s largest concentration of wineries. From one-person labors of love to multi-thousand case operations, each has a dedication to producing wine that truly reflects the high quality and broad diversity of local grapes.
Tomorrow: Find out which portion of the Santa Ynez Valley soon will become its own AVA.