Entering the “New Millennium,” Santa Barbara County continues to evolve. Family- owned and operated wineries still predominate, but a new generation of winemakers is joining veterans at the helm. Some, the next generation of pioneering winery families, others, a younger generation who has worked in their vineyards and cellars, now on their own.
The county has added two more AVAs, and has two more pending. In 2001, the Santa Rita Hills became a federally approved AVA, Sta. Rita Hills, emphasizing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. And in 2009, the formerly untapped eastern edge of the Santa Ynez Valley known as Happy Canyon, a region dedicated to Bordeaux and Rhone varieties received its own AVA, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara. Since the modern era of winemaking began in the ‘70s, a fresh, open minded approach to produce ultra-premium wine has led to the success of this area. The land has always been the teacher in Santa Barbara. And the learning has always been achieved by doing. The winemakers have grown simultaneously with the vineyards. Giving and taking from each other. Today there are well-over 100 wineries and almost 20,000 acres of grapes planted to a very diverse 60+ varieties – while much of the planting to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah – yet, the Cabernets, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc have a foothold, with Rhône, Italian and Spanish varietals coming on vigorously.
The wine industry has grown from virtually nothing in 1970 to almost a billion dollar business in less than 35 years. Of course Santa Barbara County is an extraordinarily unique place to grow grapes, but what sets it apart as a wine region, though, is a maverick spirit towards winemaking and winegrowing that has been grown and made in Santa Barbara. That spirit’s innovation and quality have earned the wines of Santa Barbara County such respect among knowledgeable wine drinkers worldwide. A respect more impressive, and more important, than the array of medals collected in decades of regional, national and international competitions.
The App includes:
Directory of Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association Wineries and local associated businesses:
Listings include name, address, phone number and email, hours, website, pictures and a short description of the business.
Calendar of Events
Winery iPhone App Specials
Wine Trails giving you short one day suggestions of places to visit following a seasonal, geographic or wine theme
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