Santa Barbara Wine Country


Written by:

Joe Becerra

Last updated:

It’s been too long since our last extended visit to the wonderful Santa Barbara wine county, so we decided to spend an entire week in this beautiful region. We rented a gorgeous home in the wine town of Los Olivos with two other couples who love wine and wine country just as much as we do. The home sits up on a hill with a lovely view of vineyards surrounding the property. What a delightful place to stay!

santa barbara wine country signs
Exploring Santa Barbara wine country

There are just over 100 wineries and tasting rooms to visit in the area. The wineries are spread over five AVA or wine appellations. In addition, in the small towns of Los Olivos, Solvang, and Lompoc, there are many tasting rooms to visit. Los Olivos leads the way with at least 30 tasting rooms within a three square-block area. To my surprise the tasting rooms seem to be quite busy even during the week.

los olivos tasting rooms
One of the many tasting rooms in Los Olivos

The five AVA’s are very different in climate and soil, and as a result there many different varietals that are grown in the Santa Barbara Wine country. The Pinot Noir and Rhone style wines garner the greatest attention in this area.

Santa Barbara wine country was somewhat of a sleepy wine tourist area until 2005 when the movie “Sideways” made its debut. The movie has almost a cult following. The two hapless characters portrayed in the movie, Miles and Jack, explore the Santa Barbara wine county on a bachelor excursion. Miles is a wine geek and wants his friend Jack to learn the nuances of wine, especially Pinot Noir. The movie featured several Santa Barbara area wines and wineries. The “Sideways” movie has made a tremendous impact on wine tourism in Santa Barbara, and especially in the increased popularity of Pinot Noir.

How fitting that we watched for the third time this movie the first night in our Los Olivos House. Now it is time for a week of exploring the area and revising the three Santa Barbara wine country trails on our WineCountryGetaways.com Website.

  • Joe Becerra

    Joe Becerra has been traveling to wine country and enjoying wine since 1965. He is a retired educator, and now have the time the opportunity to share his wine travel experiences through this Website.