Across the ocean from Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara is an idyllic county on the Pacific coast that boasts beautiful countryside, luxury beaches and just an hour away, some of the best hotels in Calabasas. The Mediterranean climates are cooler than those in southern California, and the surrounding wilderness of lakes, rivers and woodlands make it a rural retreat and a beautiful holiday destination. It also means Santa Barbara County is the perfect place for vineyards.
Indeed, the picturesque valleys of Santa Ynez, just a 40 minute drive from Santa Barbara have become some of the most popular spots for grape growing and winemaking. Whether you’re passing through on your way to hotels near Camarillo outlets, or you’re embarking on an escape to the country, Santa Ynez’s many vineyards are well worth a look-in. Below are some of the best in the area, so what are you waiting for? Drink it in!
Santa Ynez – The perfect Vineyard Climate
Whilst Northern Californian areas such as Martha’s Vineyard are most commonly associated with wine, Santa Ynez is one of the only areas to keep Southern California on the map, drawing in LA locals and guests of hotels in Buena Park CA. Though it’s only 13 square kilometers in size, the warm climates and fertile grounds make for the perfect winemaking territory.
Wines Of Santa Ynez
So what’s on the menu in Santa Ynez? Whilst Northern California is known for its chardonnays and Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Yvez’s climate is more hospitable for syrah variants and pinot noir. Guests of the Good Nite Inn visiting the area then, will have a field day – literally!
Overlooking the Santa Ynez river, the Sunstone Vineyards are a paean to the French villas that inspired it. The micro-climate clad hills make for perfect vineyard territory. Specializing in roses and sauvignon blanc among others, you can also enjoy tours of the wine caves and lavender filled fields and courtyards, providing a distinctly European vibe to the beauty.
Pinot noirs abound, this oak forest clad vineyard in Ballard Canyon specializes in handcrafted products and beautifully crafted wines. Founded in the mid 90s by a husband-wife team, the 48 acres of land make for a stunning ramble. The Rusack Vineyard also has an offshoot on Santa Catalina Island, though their wines are distinctly different due to the coastal climate of the area.
You’ll find the Foxen Winery in Foxen Canyon, a beautiful valley that also has the ruins of an adobe and ranch. Foxen Winery and vineyard, though, is a truly modern affair and specializes in minimalist production styles and sustainable vineyards. Founded in 1985, the winery is built on the old lands of Captain Foxen, even using a renovated stable as the tasting rooms.
Stolpman Wineries is built on a rare limestone outcrop close to the Sedgwick Reserve in the San Rafael Mountains. The earthiness of the land seeps into the taste of Stolpman’s syrah and grenache. You’ll find many more variations though, and they all have distinctive tastes thanks to the loving winemaking process that the team goes through every year.