Plan Your Visit Don’t spend your visit circling the 50 miles of Santa Barbara Wine Country. Use our online maps and searchable database to select a route of wine tasting just for you! There are no restaurants at the tasting rooms, so plan to have lunch in town or pack a picnic. Even if the wineries you choose are close to one another, tasting at four wineries is a full day. Consider spending one day in one area and another elsewhere. You ’ll have a much more enjoyable trip.
How do I go about planning a day for a large group in wine country? First, select a wine tasting route. Next you will want to check with each winery on the route for their group policy. Most require reservations for groups of 8 or more.
Do you have a list of the wineries and vineyards that offer tours? Many of our members offer special winery and/or vineyard tours by advance reservations. See who offers tours here.
When should I buy festival or event tickets and make hotel reservations? You’ll want to book several months in advance on holiday and festival weekends (April and October) or in the busy summer season.
What is the best time of year to visit? Santa Barbara County is gorgeous year round! In January and February, you’ll see pruning, and in the springtime its bud break. Summer is a bit more crowded with visitors but the vineyards are in full bloom, and fall is a great time to get in on the harvest action.
What about major holidays? Generally wineries are closed the day of major holidays (Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day, Easter Sunday) and are open with regular hours year round. To be sure to avoid being disappointed, after choosing a wine tasting route, contact your “can’t miss” wineries.
How far is wine country from the city of Santa Barbara? The city of Santa Barbara has winery production and tasting rooms but these are not in vineyard settings. Santa Ynez Valley is approximately 45 minutes from Santa Barbara via Route 154 and 1 hour via Highway 101. Santa Maria Valley is past Santa Ynez Valley which translates to a little over an hour’s drive from Santa Barbara.
Can I bring my pets? Wineries love pets and often have their own, but most do not allow visitor pets on their grounds and in their tasting rooms. After selecting a route, contact those wineries on the selected route for their pet policies. There are various pet lodges in the area: River Edge Pet Lodge (Lompoc (805) 740-1000); Happy Dogs Doggie Day Care (Buellton (805) 686-9402; Buellton Veterinary Clinic’s Bed n’ Breakfast (805) 688-2334).
What should I wear? Our wine country is a land of many microclimates, from the cool west ocean influenced weather (sweaters & jackets) to the east (short sleeves and shorts) and everything in-between. Be prepared and dress in layers. Nights are generally quite cool so a wrap and light jacket will keep you comfortable. Even for evening, casual to almost dressy is appropriate.
How many wineries are in Santa Barbara County? We have approximately 125 member wineries throughout Santa Barbara County.
What varieties are grown and what type of wine is produced in Santa Barbara County? There are approximately 55 varieties of grapes grown in our 5 AVA ’s with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah being the most planted.
Where can I buy Santa Barbara County wines? Santa Barbara County wines are distributed nationally and internationally. Contact your favorite wineries and they will let you know where and how to purchase their wines.
How do I find what varietals each winery produces? Each winery lists their wines produced on their individual pages and we have a master list by varietal.
I want to carry Santa Barbara County wines in my shop or restaurant. How can I identify availability in my market? Individual wineries can connect you to their distributors in the area.
I live out of state - can I bring wine home? You cannot take a bottle of wine on board an airplane with you. You can, however, ask the winery to sell you a wine shipper in which to pack your wine and check it as luggage. Many wineries are also able to ship to states that offer them a license to do so.
What does a tasting cost? Most tasting rooms charge a fee for tasting wines. Fees generally range from $4 per person to $20 per person for a tasting. Most wineries are more than happy for two people to share a tasting
Over imbibers will not be served, even if you’re not driving. It ’s the law.
Make your day stress free! Consider a designated driver, taxi or limo service or a touring company and taste responsibly. View touring companies here.