Head out to the city of Buellton and look for Santa Rosa Road. Head west on this road to the Mosby Winery. The Santa Rita Hills wine trail leads to the Santa Rita Hills Appellation. The cooling climate of the Pacific Ocean makes this area ideal for growing and producing cool climate grapes. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the flagship wines for most of these wineries. Visit Mosby, Sanford, Lafond, Babcock, and Melville wineries.
Wineries on the Santa Rita Hills Wine Trail
• Mosby Winery – tops in California Italian wine varietals
• Alma Rosa Winery – focus is Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
• Lafond Winery – Syrahs are fabulous here
• Babcock Winery – small production of great wines
• Melville Vineyards – best picnic spot, great Pinot Noir
Dining and Lodging Recommendations
While other wineries in this region concentrate on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the Mosby winery specializes in Italian varietals. The winery offers a broad range of Cal-Ital wines, including a line of dessert wines. The tasting room is a cool looking red barn structure. It was originally a carriage house built in the 1850s on what was a famous estate. Our favorite wines of the tasting were the Cortese, the Pinot Grigio, the Sangiovese, and La Seduzione. This winery is a refreshing change of pace from the usual fare of wines offered by most California wineries.
Tasting Room Hours: Daily, 10 am – 4 pm
Alma Rosa is approximately 4.5 miles from Mosby on Santa Rosa Road. Pioneer winegrowers in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA since 1970, with over 100 acres of certified organic estate vineyards, Thekla and Richard Sanford focus on excellence in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir Vin-Gris (a dry rosé). With over 38 years of experience winegrowing in this region, Alma Rosa practices and promotes organic farming, sustainable agriculture, ecologically-responsible packaging, and green building.
Tasting Room Hours: Daily, 11 am – 5:30 pm
Continue along Santa Rosa Road about a mile to Lafond Winery. Pierre Lafond, who owns the much larger Santa Barbara winery, established this winery in the Santa Rita Hills intending to make small amounts of estate wines. The winery produces a fantastic lineup of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. The wines are all excellent, and we especially enjoyed the two Syrah wines. Lafond is a certified sustainable winery.
Tasting Room Hours: Daily, 10 – 5 pm
Continue on Santa Rosa Road until you come to the stop sign.
Turn right on to Highway 1, then another right onto Highway 246 towards Buelton. Travel about 7 miles to the entrance for both Babcock and Melville Wineries. It will be on your left.
Babcock and Melville Vineyards share the same entranceway. Stay to the left as you head up the road. Babcock, like Sanford winery, is one of the original wineries in the Santa Rita Hills. After growing sought-after grapes, the Babcocks decided to create a winery and produce their wines. Today, they produce award-winning wines under the winemaking of their son, Bryan Babcock. The winery has a tremendous reputation for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. Babcock also produces other varietals, including an outstanding Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, and Syrah.
Tasting Room Hours: Daily, 10:30 – 5 pm.
Melville Vineyards & Winery
The winery has a gorgeous Mediterranean winery and tasting room that blends in among the vineyards and nearby mountains. Melville is a family affair with Ron Melville and his two sons, making some exciting wines. The winery produces two lines of wine from their estate vineyards. The estate line is their mainstay, while the vineyard-designated wines are small lots. The small vineyard lots of Pinot sell out quickly, but the more affordable estate Pinot Noir is a delicious and lush wine selling for around $35.
Tasting Room Hours: Open daily, 11 – 4 pm