Love wine? How about gorgeous views, beautiful décor and fascinating stories?
These seven wineries in Santa Barbara put all of these together, resulting in an experience unlike any other.
Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards
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Today we are out in the vines with Assistant Winemaker Samra Morris testing the brix i.e sugar levels on our Chardonnay to see when Harvest will start! Isn’t it beautiful out here? We love time spent in the vines! . . . . #AlmaRosa #almarosawinery #santabarbaracountywines #sbcwine #santabarbara #visitsyv #buelltonca #santaritahills #organicfarming #harvest2019 #chardonnay #vineyardwalks #brix
The very first vineyard in the area to be officially certified as organic, the Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards sits on the Santa Rosa Hills, benefiting from a very unique climate. This mountainous region is known for producing exquisite cool-climate varietals, and this winery does exactly that.
The estate itself stretches out for 628 acres, with the grape vines taking up around 38 acres of this. This is a vineyard that is so exceptionally beautiful to tour, with far-reaching views of the surrounding regions.
The Alma Rosa Winery and Vineyards tasting experience lasts for 90 minutes, and takes place at the estate’s Ranch House. You will be able to enjoy a tour of this historic house, along with some unique insights into how the winery grows their grapes and produces their wines.
Of course, you will then be able to sample a selection of wines.
The winery offers up other tasting experiences too, pairing wine with cheese or a gourmet lunch, or even a hike through the Sta.Rita Hills.
Although this one may be a little bit of a drive, Rusack Vineyards offers up picture-perfect views, making it one of the most scenic wineries in Santa Barbara. The estate is quite small, at just 48 acres, so their wines contain both estate-grown grapes, along with other varietals that have been sourced locally from nearby vineyards.
The Rusack Vineyards tasting room is located at the estate, and is decked out in rich ancient oaks and redwoods.
While you are welcome to enjoy your wine indoors, it would be a shame to miss out on that spectacular scenery outside. If you decide you want to turn your wine tasting into a picnic, the winery caters to this too, with cheese and other nibbles for sale. They can also arrange for you to purchase a picnic lunch from a nearby restaurant.
Wondering which wines you need to try?
Here are some that you should definitely not miss out on:
- 2015 Syrah Ballard Canyon Estate Reserve – this complex blend is bold and punchy
- 2016 Chardonnary Santa Barbara County – crisp and fruity, this wine was barrel fermented in French oak barrels, with only 1220 cases being produced
- 2016 Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County – bright and juicy, this wine was left to age in French oak barrels for 11 months
The winery is open seven days a week, making it easy to squeeze in a visit!
Grassini Family Vineyards
While many family wineries have been bought over by larger corporations, the Grassini Family Vineyards remains in the hands of the Grassini family, with third and fourth generation family members now at the helm. They make use of ancient traditions when creating their wine, along with careful growing methods to ensure the perfect softness, balance and mouthfeel with each and every sip.
The winery, as well as the vineyard, is solar powered, making this a great one to visit for the eco-conscious wine lovers out there. Sustainability is key with this winery, with everything from irrigation to production to waste being carefully managed.
The tasting room for the Grassini Family Vineyards isn’t located at the vineyard itself. Instead, you will find it in downtown Santa Barbara, in Historic El Paseo. The tasting room is large and beautifully done up, with a fireplace indoors to offer a cozy feel, or a sun-drenched patio outdoors if you would prefer to be in the fresh air.
There are a variety of different tasting options available, as well as different wines to purchase. Their estate-grown Bordeaux varieties are what the winery is proudest of, and some of their must-try wines include:
- 2015 Estate Cabernet – this wine thrives in the Happy Canyon region, and is both refined and beautifully balanced
- Estate Merlot – although only 3.75% of the winery’s vineyards produce merlot, this delicious wine is in high demand
- 2018 Sauvignon Blanc – one of the winery’s newest releases, this wine is bright and fresh with fruity notes, as well as a hint of oak
Want to visit the vineyard too?
It’s located in Santa Ynez, but, unfortunately, is not open to the general public. Private tours are available, but you would need to sign up to the winery’s Wine Club in order to be eligible for this.
Once you’re done wine tasting, don’t forget to stop off at the OROGOLD Santa Barbara store, which is just around the corner from the winery’s tasting room. You will be able to enjoy free product demonstrations and expert skin care advice – the perfect way to end a fun-filled day.
Famous for their captivating setting, as well as for being one of the first vineyards in the region to make use of biodynamic farming, the Demetria Estate consists of 213 scenic acres. This is a winery that has won several awards for their wines, and is known for continuously releasing new products that, as always, take top spot in ratings.
Demetria Estate describes their process as being gentle with low yields, believing that this is the best way to produce outstanding wines. With the vineyard sitting at 1100 to 1450 feet above sea level, it is one of the highest in the region, as well as one that offers some of the best views.
Although tastings are available at the Demetria Estate, they need to be booked in advance. These tastings are private, giving you the perfect opportunity to learn as much about their winemaking process as possible.
The tasting room is located at the estate itself, providing an incredible backdrop for each glass you try.
If you join the winery’s Wine Club, you will also be notified of the many special events that this winery hosts, such as movie nights in the vineyard.
Jaffurs Wine Cellars
While many of these Santa Barbara wineries are located on rolling hills, Jaffurs Wine Cellars is just a few minutes away from the beach. This is another downtown winery, with all wines being produced at their downtown location itself.
This winery focuses on small-batch production, with just 5000 cases being produced each year. They place strict control over yields, in order to optimize their farming practices. From crushing the grapes to pressing and bottling the wines, everything is carried out at the winery’s state-of-the-art downtown facility. Visitors are able to learn more about this fascinating process, making it no surprise that this is one of the most popular wineries in the area.
The winery is open from Mondays to Saturdays, with the tasting room located within the winery.
Each tasting comprises of five wines, along with a tasting glass. As an added bonus, if you decide to purchase two or more bottles, you will not need to pay the tasting fee.
There are numerous wines that you can try here, but some of the best are:
- 2013 Syrah Santa Barbara County – contains grapes from five different vineyards, with classic Californian Syrah notes
- 2017 Grenache Blanc Los Alamos Valley – this light and bright wine is floral and sweet, with only 400 cases being produced
- 2014 High Tide Rhone Blend Santa Barbara County – deep, spicy and complex, this is a wine that will age extremely well, making it worth purchasing a bottle or two
There are also several exclusive wines that are only available to the Winery’s Wine Club members, making it worth signing up if you would like to sample as wide a variety as possible.
Want to tour the rest of the winery’s facilities too?
This can be arranged, but you will need to request this specially.
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It’s #NationalRoséDay! Celebrate with a glass (or bottle!) fireside tonight at Unearthed, the newest installment in our Summer Art Series, from 6-9pm. Enjoy unique work from local artists @lynn_dodge_art, Al McCurdy, @jbr_visuals, and @jacobhouchenart and an amazing kickoff to the latest art show at Carr Winery! . #artshow #wineandart #roséallday #weekendvibes #saturday #siplocal
Another downtown Santa Barbara gem, the Carr Winery produced their first vintage in 1999, and have continued to produce excellent wines ever since. They make use of Santa Barbara’s many microclimates to offer up a wide selection, as well as two locations at which they offer tastings.
The winery owns and manages their own vineyards, with 100 acres of land across the county. The winery also offers up a vineyard management service, so you can be sure that they really do know what they are doing.
The winery’s downtown tasting room is located in a historic Quonset Hut, dating back to the 40’s, giving the winery quite a vintage feel. This interior is done up stylishly, with rich hardwoods and an elegant ambience.
The winery’s standard tasting menu consists of five wines, but you can always a wider variety by the glass. Make sure that you do not miss out on the following:
- 2015 Carr Late Harvest Viognier – this dessert wine is soft, sweet and decadent
- 2017 Carr Pinot Noir The Gypsy – blending grapes from two vineyards, this wine has distinct notes with hints of dark berries and spices
- 2017 Carr Syrah – rich, textured and expressive, this is a velvety full-bodied wine
The Carr Winery also hosts several events throughout the year, from art shows to live music performances to gourmet meals. You can find out more by visiting their website and taking a look at their events calendar.
The Potek winery sources their grapes from all over Santa Barbara County, seeking out the most innovative vineyards to purchase their fruit from. This, combined with traditional French winemaking techniques and state-of-the-art production techniques, results in some truly interesting wines.
Located in downtown Santa Barbara, the Potek tasting room is open seven days a week, with each tasting featuring a flight of different wines. The tasting room is bright and airy, but they also have a beautiful patio for those who wish to sip on their wines outdoors.
Another standout feature of this winery is their glassware…
They make use of stemware specific to each varietal of wine, really making an effort to showcase each wine in the very best way possible.
Want to know which wines you should try?
Here are some of Potek’s finest:
- 2016 Rancho La Vina Pinot Noir – made from hand-harvested fruit that has been aged in French oak, resulting in a soft and balanced finish
- 2014 Sanford and Benedict Pinot Noir – the fruit comes from original 1971 plantings, with the wine being both crisp and acidic, as well as wonderfully juicy
- 2013 Fox Family Grenache – a medium bodied wine with fruity notes and a peppery finish
Once you are done with your wine tasting, take some time to explore the rest of The Mill – the complex in which the winery is located. You will find a brewery, a restaurant and so much more here, each one being an independent local business.
Santa Barbara is home to some incredible wineries, so much so that many people plan a trip here just to make the most of its many wine-tasting opportunities. The next time you find yourself in Santa Barbara, make sure that you do not miss out on these stunning wineries – you will definitely not be disappointed.