The Ultimate Guide to Santa Barbara Wine Country

Santa Barbara Wine Country

Every Wine Has a Backstory ~ And Every Winery Has a History

You’ll hear the best of both when you visit any of these Santa Barbara County wineries, so be sure to include a tour on your list of things to do in Santa Barbara. Whether you are a seasoned sommelier or an aspiring oenophile, Santa Barbara Wine Country has a vineyard or winery that will satisfy even the most discriminating palate. But with so many delicious wine destinations at your disposal, we thought it might help if we took you on a quick tour of a few of our favorites.

Cms santa barbara wine

Libation Preparation

Be Prepared ~ To Have A Great Day Of Wine Tasting

  • Pack some snacks or prepare a complete picnic. Most of these vineyards and wineries don’t serve food, so if you’re headed to one of the more rural destinations with no restaurants around, you’ll definitely want to be prepared so you’ll last the whole day. 
  • While we agree that it’s tempting to try and hit them all at once, we recommend 3-4 wineries per day as probably the most manageable strategy. 
  • Be safe! We know that not everyone honors the tradition of spitting during a tasting. So if your excursion involves a car, designate a driver beforehand.

Get Walking

Your Walking Guide ~ To Santa Barbara Wine Tasting

Urban Wine Trail

25 Wineries ~ Within Walking Distance

No, you’re not in heaven. You’re just in the most concentrated neighborhood to taste all the local area varietals of Santa Barbara County. Without ever leaving downtown. And with around 25 participating wineries, all within walking distance of one another, this is a trail that will seem happily endless. But this one may take some planning. Large groups, for example, may want to call ahead to any of their “can’t-miss” wineries to be sure they can be accommodated. And many sports are proudly quirky. Do check out the individual wineries’ events page to see if any live music or special events are happening on the day you arrive. Bonus perk: oftentimes there are food trucks lining the streets of the trail for a quick bite in between stops. And they’re delicious.

Cms urban wine trail santa barbara

Get Driving

Santa Ynez Valley ~ The Complete Santa Barbara Vineyard Experience.

Head Out To The Santa Ynez Valley

The Best Wineries in Santa Barbara ~ Are Actually Not in Santa Barbara Proper 

While wineries are great spots for tastings, for a true taste of Santa Barbara, one needs to head out to the Santa Ynez Valley for the complete vineyard experience. That’s because some of the best wineries in Santa Barbara are actually not in Santa Barbara proper at all. They’re in Santa Barbara County. Why not begin your journey with the bucolic, scenic drive to the Santa Ynez Wine Trail. Located just north of the town of Santa Ynez, many of the wineries here are set on their own estate properties. What that means is be prepared for sprawling gardens and majestic horses, and plenty of gorgeous spots to set up your picnic, ranch style. This is going “rural” at its best.

Along the Santa Ynez River lies the quaint community of Buellton. Sure, you have to drive to get here, but once you arrive, you can easily ditch the car for the day. That’s because there are about 12-15 wineries that close together. You’ve heard of a pub crawl? Call this area a wine stroll. And when you’ve finished your tastings, walk downtown for a bite. Choose from an abundance of great restaurants that are seemingly around every corner.

Cms santa ynez wineries


You’ll Be Transported To a Different Country ~ Denmark To Be Specific.

Speaking of walkable wineries near Santa Barbara, one of the best experiences is a stop in Solvang. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to an entirely different country. Denmark to be specific. Considered to be the “Danish Capital of America,” you’ll quickly learn why when you gaze up at the half-timbered architecture and dig into their delicious pastries. Just don’t let the windmills distract you from your mission. You’re here to taste wine, too.

Cms solvang wineries

Santa Rita Hills Wine Trail

The Most Extreme ~ Cool-Climate Vineyards Around

Of course, no visit to Santa Barbara Wine Country would be complete without a visit to Santa Rita Hills Wine Trail. Just head west on Highway 246. Here, you’ll find some of the most extreme, cool-climate vineyards around. What does that mean, you ask? Well, because of the coast breezes and dense fog, the area produces some of the most exquisite pinot noirs, syrahs, and chardonnays around. And you just may recognize a few of the wineries you’re in. That’s because many scenes from the movie Sideways were filmed here, so you may want to avoid the merlots for good measure.

The List Goes On And On...

Map Your Own Path ~ And discover Your Favorite Wineries

These are just a few of our favorite spots for wine tours around Santa Barbara County. There are many more, of course. For example, we can also confidently recommend specific wineries like the unique, outdoor table service of Demetria or competing on the oversize chessboard at Zaca Mesa. And let’s not forget the annual Santa Barbara Wine Festival, which celebrates all local wines in the middle of July this year. The list goes on and on. But for now, we’ll let you map out your own path and discover your favorite wineries all for yourself. Because as they say, the journey is half the fun. And never has a statement been more true than in Santa Barbara Wine Country.

Still Have Questions?

We have answers. Please don’t hesitate to contact a live InvitedHome vacation consultant via call or chat and we’ll make sure you have all the information you need. We’re always here to help.