How do I go about planning a day for a large group in wine country?

First, select a wine tasting route or the wineries you would like to visit. Next, check with each winery on the route for their group policy. Most require reservations for groups of 8 or more. Also, be sure to check out our Touring Companies if you would like the logistics to be handled for you.

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 (March, May 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 dormancy and pruning of the vines while backlit with dramatic skies of clouds. In the springtime its bud break with sunny and windy weather that carries a charge of energy throughout the valley. Summer is full of sunshine with grapes changing colors and vineyards in full bloom. This time of year is a bit more crowded so plan accordingly. In the fall, it’s harvest time with tons of activity and grapes being picked for their transformation to wine.

How far is wine country from the city of Santa Barbara?

The city of Santa Barbara has winery production and tasting rooms in the Funk Zone. The vineyards are about a 45-minute drive over the Santa Ynez Mountains into the Valley via either Route 154 and or Highway 101. Lompoc is 20 minutes east of Buellton (take the 246 off the 101) and Los Alamos is 15 minutes north of Buellton. The Santa Maria Valley is north of the Santa Ynez Valley which translates to a little over an hour’s drive from Santa Barbara.

What about major holidays?

Generally, wineries are closed the day of major holidays (Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday) and are open with regular hours year-round. To avoid being disappointed, after choosing a wine tasting route, contact your “can’t miss” wineries.

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.

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.

What varieties are grown and what type of wine is produced in Santa Barbara County?

There are approximately 70 varieties of grapes grown in our 6 AVA ’s with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah being the most planted. We also have Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, in addition to an exceptional number of unique varietals.

Where can I buy Santa Barbara County wines?

You can buy Santa Barbara County wines right here in our tasting rooms! Doing so supports our vintners and our local economy. Please join the wine clubs to enjoy our wines year-round. Santa Barbara County wines are also 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 can take a bottle or two of wine in your checked luggage. Most tasting rooms will package your wine for transport on a plane. Alaska Airlines has their “Wines Flies Free” program, which allows you to fly a case home at no cost. Additionally, all wineries have the capacity to ship your wine home. You can take your wines locally to Postal Annex in Buellton.

What does a tasting cost?

Most tasting rooms charge a fee for tasting wines. Fees range up to $25 for a tasting. Most wineries are happy to waive the tasting fee when wine is purchased.

Make your day stress free! Consider a designated driver, taxi or limo service or a touring company and taste responsibly.

View touring companies here.