Luxury Experiences in Santa Barbara: Wine Tasting

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SBwinetasting.jpgSanta Barbara's wine making history, like that of many areas in California, extends back to the days of the Spanish missions - 200 years ago. Today, the region is home to more than 100 wineries and some 24,000 acres of planted vineyards.

Wine enthusiasts will find that most Santa Barbara wine tasting rooms are open daily (excluding some major holidays) from 10 a.m. until 4 or 5 p.m. There are some wineries that do not have tasting rooms onsite, but you can usually find their wines are available locally for tasting at retail stores. Many wineries have picnic areas open to the public and some are available for corporate meetings, weddings, and other special events.

Santa Barbara County has three recognized viticultural areas (AVAs): Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, and Sta. Rita Hills. Santa Barbara County is an appellation of origin, but is not a specific AVA. Many of the area's wines carry the Santa Barbara appellation of origin. These wines could be made from grapes in the specific AVAs, or outside those, but the majority of the grapes were farmed in Santa Barbara County and the winemaker chose this title for his/her label.

From the most northern Santa Barbara tasting room to the most southern is more than 50 miles, so you should develop your wine tasting itinerary before you go. The Santa Barbara Vintners has a nice map page for each of their regions. (Tip: Scroll to the bottom of the page.) For great tasting and touring ideas, here are a couple of past WineCountry.com stories to help you make your plans:

Shake off the sand, just minutes from the beach you will find great places to wine taste in the heart of the City of Santa Barbara.

Pinots from Heaven: Tasting in the Santa Rita Hills.

If you don't have time to stop at several of the area's wineries in one day, you can find the largest collection of Santa Barbara County wines in the world and one of the only places you can find multiple vintages of the same local wines on Anacapa Street in downtown Santa Barbara.

For additional information on Santa Barbara wineries, check out these listings.

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