Wine Growing Areas of Santa Barbara County

Wine regions are rare. Grapes are fickle. We do not choose where they grow, they choose. People have tried – unsuccessfully – to grow grapes where they want them to be. The grapes always win and vintners are pressed into their service. Santa Barbara County is no exception. The unique, transverse nature of the valleys of Santa Barbara Wine Country provides a patchwork quilt of micro-climates and terrains, resulting in one of the most diverse grape growing regions in the world. The valleys run an unusual east-west rather than north-south, and both the coastal Santa Ynez Mountain range and the interior San Rafael range are transverse as well.

Seven federally-sanctioned American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) lie within the region of Santa Barbara County: Santa Maria Valley, California’s second oldest AVA is located most north with distinct climate and soil. Santa Ynez Valley is an overlying AVA which is then broken down into four sub-AVAs (West to East): Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, Los Olivos District, and Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara. Alisos Canyon is our newest AVA and is located at the doorstep of Los Alamos.