HOME > Chowhound > California >


Santa Barbara Wineries?

  • v

Gonna head up to SB this weekend and wanna pop over to Santa Ynez and environs for a bit of wine tasting.

Any recs? Any avoid-at-all-costs?

(If possible, would like to avoid the Sideways crowd)

I should add, I am bringing some out of town guests, okay, my father-in-law, so any place that has an especially nice looking tasting room or winery grounds would be fantastic.

Thanks in advance

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's kind of far north, but I love Talley wines. They're in Arroyo Grande.

    1. Sunstone has one of the nicest grounds and tasting rooms.

      Another fun place to taste wine is on Sterns Wharf in Santa Barbara. You can by 1/2 glasses and maybe 1/4 of a lot of local wines. (Ken Brown is one of my current favorites for reds, Westerly for whites). Unfortunately most of my favorites don't have tasting rooms so this is a good place to go.

      Rusack may be a fun place to try.

      1. Completely agree regarding Sunstone being one of the nicest. Kalyra & Au Bon Climat are both nearby and make some great wines.

        I would personally avoid Fess Parker at all costs, and to a lesser degree, Firestone.

        1. Must see: Rancho Sisquoc. It's a bit off the beaten path so check their site for an excellent map.

          1. Foley Estates for pinot noir tastings.

            1. Meridian, and take time to walk through the gardens, weather permitting.

              1. Second RANCHO SISQUOC - lovely country drive where you almost think you are lost or on the wrong road - so this keeps out all but the most dedicated. Best seen when the fields are green, which should be pretty soon since we have finally had some rain up this way. Hard to believe such rural serenity exists little over 150 miles from the tumult of Los Angeles.

                1. Babcock recently has some nice wines, I don't remember what there tasting room is like.

                  1. babcock has good wines but it is fairly rustic tasting room. melville is right next door and they have some great wines and the ambience is nice but it can get crowded on the weekends. I would also suggest alma rosa winery, which for the time being is in a business park in buellton. It is run by the former owners of sanford winery. they set up a camp until they can get back on the old sanford properity, well worth the visit.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: littlestevie

                      Richard Sanford started Alma Rosa after giving up his role in SANFORD- investors bought him out- and now the Sanford Winery is no longer organic or worth visiting- the soul is gone. Alma Rosa will be on Industrial Way for a while- they are building a winery/tasting room etc., until then Chris B (who famously poured in the "S" movie) will be pouring in the Industrial area of Buellton. Alma Rosa will not be on Sanford Property.

                      1. re: JalamaMama

                        sanford will be moving to the new winery facility that was built when richard and the group were partners. After they move out, Alma Rosa will move back in to the old tasting room. Chris thought maybe late spring.

                    2. I'm partial to Daniel Gehrs. I have found his reds to be uniformly excellent. His tasting room operates out of a small cottage on Grand Ave. in Los Olivos.


                      1. Sanford & Benedict has a beautiful old tasting room along a creek deep into their property and serve great wines.

                        Longoria on Grand Avenue also serves top quality wines (especially the Pinot Noir) in a stamped tin storefront in Los Olivos. Diana the proprietor is very friendly and sweet.

                        Rancho Sisquoc is a nice piece of property, but the wine is just so-so. If you do go there, definitely stop at Foxen which is nearby and makes great wines.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: gearoy

                          Avoid the evil overtakers at sanford who kicked Sanford out!

                        2. I was just there this past weekend. I know it's not Santa Ynez, but do yourself a favor and try Palmina Wines in Lompoc. Steve Clifton of Brewer-Clifton fame is the winemaker and they are just doing some absolutely fantastic Italian varietals. The tasting room is in a warehouse, so the it is not the place for a picnic, but ohh the wines. The Sanford tasting room has nice views but be aware that Richard Sanford no longer makes those wines and that the quality is is now gone. (He owns Alma Rosa Winery and can no longer get Sanford and Benedict grapes). Melville Winery has very nice grounds and great Pinot and Syrah. If you must stay in Santa Ynez then try Brander. Nice grounds and really good Sauvignon Blancs.

                          1. Rusak is also good, as is beckman