Our wine country spans a distance of more than 50 miles from the northern to southern tasting rooms, so please plan for driving time. Explore the breadth of Santa Barbara County by mapping a route, or choosing a wine trail for one day and another for the next.
WINE TASTING TIPS
Visiting three or four wineries makes for an ideal day of wine tasting.
Most wineries do not have food available for purchase, so pack a picnic to bring with you or stop at one of the restaurants in the area to fuel up.
Not all wineries are open every day and some require an appointment - check winery hours before beginning your journey.
If you are in a group of eight or more, please call ahead and let wineries know you're coming. Some require reservations for large parties.
Visiting the area for a few days? Don't forget to make your accommodation reservations in advance. Many weekends sell-out.
Buellton lies in the middle of the Santa Ynez Valley, just off of Highway 101 between the Sta. Rita Hills AVA and the Santa Ynez Valley AVA. The largest custom-crush operation in the area, Avant, provides wine tastings for smaller, boutique wineries who do not have a tasting room. The close proximity of these wineries makes it convenient to walk from one to the next. Buellton has several popular restaurants, so it will be easy to grab a lunch between tastings or to have a relaxing dinner after a full day of them.
Western hospitality meets world class wine in the Santa Maria and Los Alamos area. The transverse nature of the Santa Maria Valley lends itself to a diverse range of wines produced here. Heading south from Santa Maria, take a leisurely drive along Foxen Canyon to Los Olivos or drive down the 101 and stop in the Western town of Los Alamos. One of our most established areas, Santa Maria Valley is home to fresh produce, bucolic vistas and of course – Santa Maria Style BBQ!
Set in the city known as “The City of Arts and Flowers”, the urban wineries in Lompoc are Santa Barbara County’s most western tasting region. Ironically, Lompoc was founded as a Carrie Nation style Temperance Colony back in 1874, but now boasts an increasing number of wineries and tasting rooms. Considered the western gateway to the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, wineries are primarily located in the industrial park affectionately known as the “Wine Ghetto”. While in Lompoc, stroll the area to find the more than 60 murals created by local artists on buildings throughout town. Lompoc can be reached from the South on a scenic drive up Highways 101 and 1. Lompoc also makes a nice midpoint when driving the Santa (Sta.) Rita Hills loop from Buellton.
This small village abounds in history, as it was once a welcome stop on the Wells Fargo stagecoach line, and later a terminus for the first railroad in the area. Los Olivos is now a hub for tasting rooms, interspersed with art galleries, boutique shops and cafés. Los Olivos also hosts a number of small festivals throughout the year. A great place to park your car, stroll the tasting rooms and shops, enjoy a little lunch or dinner and just relax!
The city of Santa Barbara, also known as “The American
Riviera”, hugs the beautiful Pacific coastline and has many wineries and
tasting rooms within walking distance of a beach. You won’t find any vineyards
in this downtown scene but will be able to explore a unique range of tasting
rooms. The “Funk Zone” is an area between Highway 101 and the beach, which has recently
seen an upsurge of wine tasting rooms, as well as restaurants and breweries. You’ll
find another area called the “Wine Collection of El Paseo” as you move towards
downtown Santa Barbara, which is in the historic and picturesque El Paseo
building. There is an ideal juxtaposition of eclectic and elegant restaurants,
entertainment venues, and world-class shopping to round out your wine tasting
experience. It is a great to location to start or end your wine tasting tour
through Santa Barbara County.
Take a drive up Highway 33, away from the Pacific Ocean and through the beautiful Los Padres National Forest. Breathe in the fresh mountain air and relax in some of California's most picturesque wilderness. Located just on the outskirts of the forest is Sagebrush Annie's - where you can wine and dine in a place straight out of the wild west.
Nestled in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley appellation, this region shares vineyard space with horse ranches. Anchored by the town of Santa Ynez to the southeast which itself includes tasting opportunities, many of the wineries in this region are set on their estate properties. Peaceful and rolling vistas of ranches and farms mingle with vineyards and tasting rooms along the country roads. Grab a picnic lunch at one of the local delis, as many of the tasting rooms in the Santa Ynez area feature gardens and picnic areas where you can taste at a leisurely, ranch-style pace.
You may think you’ve landed in Denmark when you arrive in Solvang, and that is no coincidence. Known as the “Danish Capital of America”, Solvang is celebrating its 100th Anniversary. The quaint village is full of shops, parks, hotels, bakeries, restaurants and – tasting rooms! A great town to park the car and stroll, make sure to bring your camera, as this is truly a unique town. You’ll find the tasting rooms of Solvang tucked into interesting and uniquely Danish buildings, and make sure to try an aebleskiver as a wine and food pairing while you’re here!
Heading west on either Hwy 246 or Santa Rosa Road, you’ll pass some of the most extreme cool-climate vineyards in the area, and you may recognize many from the film Sideways. This is home to primarily Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, although you will find other interesting cool-climate wines also being featured at tasting rooms. A popular roundtrip driving route is to head west on Santa Rosa Road from the 101 to Lompoc, then come back east back to Buellton on Highway 246.