Santa Barbara County is different than any other wine growing region in the world. Here, the east-west orientation of the coastal mountains forms valleys opening directly to the Pacific Ocean. This unique topography allows the flow of fog and ocean breezes to shape distinct micro-climates, perfect for the cultivation of classic grape varietals and world class wines.
The 50 miles stretching from Point Conception to Rincon constitutes the longest east-west traverse of shoreline from Alaska to Cape Horn. The Santa Ynez and San Rafael Mountains form a unique coastal range - the inland ebb and flow of fog and ocean breezes make the region one of the coolest viticultural areas in California. This means that the fruit has an unusually long "hang time" on the vine, allowing it to fully develop the acids, flavors and tannins needed to produce wines of distinctive character.
The region has many micro-climates, with climates influenced by proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Cool and moderate temperatures toward the west changes to warm daytimes and cold nights to the east. There are six official appellations: Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Ballard Canyon. Los Olivos District, and the Sta. Rita Hills. Within the broad Santa Barbara County designation are several other micro-regions - these include the Los Alamos Valley region and the Santa Maria Bench. Slightly less than half of the grapes grown in Santa Barbara County are used by local vintners, with the balance exported to wineries outside the area. Click here to read more about the distinct areas.