Wine Santa Barbara
The Wines of Santa Barbara County

Wine Santa Barbara 2

Taking A Santa Barbara Winery Tour

Not all wineries offer tours, but many do offer wonderful tours of the grounds that will give you a close-up look at the many aspects of grape growing and wine making.

What you will see may vary somewhat depending upon what season you visit, whether it be during the fall harvest season where you will surely see plenty of activity, to the more subdued times int winter when pruning occurs, or perhaps you will be able see the buds as they appear during the spring season.

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Geology and Geography of Santa Barbara Wine Country

Due to the east to west orientation of the mountains of the Santa Barbara region, a geological phenomenon in and of itself, the wineries of the region are subject to a unique climate that provides warm days and cool nights. In addition the clay and loam soils provide great drainage. 

The nearby ocean cools the region with fogs that often burn off later in the day mitigating the worst of the sun and heat. Adding to this cooling effect are the regions afternoon breezes which also serve to cool the area.

Within the various valleys that are part of Santa Barbara Wine Country are a multitude of microclimates as well as some variations in soil. These varying characteristics of the area have been well analyzed in the last few decades resulting in a sophisticated matchings between the particular valley or hillside and the best grape varietal that will grow there.

The result of this state-of-the-art analysis combined with great efforts on the part of many winemakers to produce the very best product possible, is some world renown wines and the improvement of the reputation of the wine-growing regions overall. 

Santa Barbara County is quickly coming to rival Napa Valley and other well-respected wine growing regions around the globe.

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Here is some information about the Santa Barbara Wine Country growing regions.

Happy Canyon AVA (American Viticultural Area)

Having just become an AVA in 2009, Happy Canyon is the smallest AVA in Santa Barbara County yet it is becoming known for its premium wines. The Happy Canyon AVA is located in the southeast part of Santa Ynez Valley just northwest of Lake Cachuna.

Happy Canyon is known for its low-nutrient and high-mineral loam and clay soils that tend to produce small grape vines with low yields and high quality and concentrated flavors.

Happy Canyon is known for its Bordeauxs and also Rhone varietals.

Los Alamos Valley

Los Alamos Valley is located between Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley and grows lots of Chardonnay as well as Italian wine varietals. Los Alamos tends to be about tend degrees cooler than Santa Ynez and ten degrees warmer than Santa Maria.

Paso Robles AVA (American Viticultural Area)

The Paso Robles AVA (American Viticultural Area) is located just inland of the Santa Lucia Mountains and includes a variety of soil types and microclimates. Wines grown in Paso Robles include Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Santa Maria Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area)

Santa Barbara County’s northernmost AVA is the funnel shaped Santa Maria Valley which becomes very narrow at its eastern end. The valley is known for its coastal marine climate and gets winds from San Luis Bay. The AVA is known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Santa Rita Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area)

Located in the west part of Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Rita Hills has a cool climate due to maritime influences. The soils of this appellation tend to be sedimentary loamy clay soils with some marine sand. Santa Rita Hills is known for its fine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.

Santa Ynez Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area)

The largest of Santa Barbara County’s wine regions, Santa Ynez Valley ranges from the cooler western regions to the warmer, interior eastern regions. The marine soils vary throughout the region which produces fine Rhone and Bordeaux varietals as well as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Thanks so much for visiting Wine Santa Barbara where we discuss the finest Santa Barbara wines.

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