The entry of the European vine in Central California begins from the south. Santa Barbara is lucky to be a mission of the Spanish Franciscan monks. They do not divide their vineyards all the way to northern California, wherever they set up missions, plant vines. Thus, the variety is called Missionary, but its origin is unknown until now. The wine he had made was a little rough, but enough for the needs of the church.

The golden fever in northern California in the mid-18th century attracted a large number of migrants from Europe and from the interior. Gold seekers are thirsty people and wine-growing follows their clients. Northern California produces sixty percent of the state's wine and is home to Sonoma and Napa pearls, and Santa Barbara remains in the shade.

The official date of the return of wine to the area is 1962. The major event is the foundation of Santa Barbara Winery by Pierre Lafonte. In the beginning the grapes came from other places in the state because of the absence of plantations in the area. Soon the first modern vineyard - with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Riesling from Uriel Nielsen and Bill De Mate - was planted on terraces in the Tepusquet area of ​​the Santa Maria Valley.

In 2004, the Sideways film drew attention to Pinot Noir of Santa Barbara, and the region's glory became world-wide, and the search for his guilt was getting higher.


Santa Barbara County is located at the southernmost tip of Central California, about 150 kilometers north of Los Angeles. Typically, mountain ranges follow the north-south coast, providing protection from the cold ocean for the California wine-growing areas.

The Pacific coast of Santa Barbara, however, turns at almost 90 degrees and moves from north to south, east to west. This is the only place in both Americas where this reversal is seen, which is the key to its unique terroir.


Practically, Santa Barbara County remains open to the ocean, with its mountains and rivers forming a funnel where no cold water flows through the ocean. A unique "breathing" of the valleys occurs in a repeating pattern.

When the temperature rises in the continent during the day, warm air rises and the cold invades the ocean to the east. This happens at noon every day. Even if the temperatures are higher, the vineyards receive constant ventilation.

At night the temperature drops and in the morning mists form, which the ocean winds scatter before noon. Depending on the distance from the ocean and the peculiarities of the relief, the temperature in the county increases with every kilometer. Thus in relatively short distances can be grown from cool to warm-loving varieties.


The soils in Santa Barbara County are predominantly sedimentary, coming from the oceanic & nbsp; bottom or the Santa Maria and Santa Ines rivers. There are limestones and chalk, diatomite, clayey and sand-clay soils. Close to the rivers there are also well drained surface soils with gravel and large rounded river stones. As in much of Central California, tectonic activity has created a vast variety of soils and different in composition and type of subsoil.

Vineyards and Varieties

At the western end of Santa Barbara, the cold influence of the ocean can make it difficult to ripen even the loving varieties like Riesling, Gruner Veltliner, Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. To the east, the Bordeaux varieties thrive in the east, and they need more heat. The entire county is filled with micro-regions - between rivers and at different altitudes and orientations along the slopes of the mountains - each with its own terroir, which gives vineyards in Santa Barbara a choice of many varieties they can look at.

Wine Production and Wines

Today, Santa Barbara County makes some of California's most interesting, compelling and balanced wines. The previous decades of hard work with the terroir and varieties and the experimental spirit of the wineries are beginning to pay off. More and more names are coming to learn from Santa Barbara - both wineries and wines.