- Winemaker: Steven Gerbac
- Principal Varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Syrah, Zinfandel
- Case Production: 11,000
Nestled in picturesque Ballard Canyon in the center of Santa Ynez Valley, amidst oak-studded rolling hills lies Rusack Vineyards, a boutique vineyard and winery dedicated to growing top-quality grapes and producing outstanding handcrafted wines.
In this small operation, the wines truly are made by hand, and the Rusacks’ commitment to quality is reflected in everything they do from the meticulous growing of their grapes to the distinctive design of their label. Recently, the Rusacks have started importing grapes from Catalina Island. Mrs Rusack is the Great Granddaughter of William Wrigley.
Rusack Vineyards is located on the Buellton & Sta. Rita Hills Wine Trail.
Beautiful Picnic Area Available Underneath Beautiful Oak Trees.
- Winemaker: Mike Brown
- Principal Varietals: Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Gruner, Malbec, Merlot, Muscat Cannelli, Muscat Orange, Nebbiolo, Petite Verdot, Pinot Blanc, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Syrah, Riesling, Viognier, Veltliner
- Case Production: 750
With their bold yet tranquil beachcomber vibe and breathtaking views from their Vista Deck Bar, Kalyra is a fabulous destination winery. They offer red, white, and dessert/port wines that combine the best of local varietals with an international flair, with influence from German, Italian, and Australian customs. You'll recognize their bar if you've ever seen the movie "Sideways," and their "Kalyra Boutique" gift shop is extensive and charming.
They also have a secondary location called Kalyra By The Sea, which is decorated in a whimsical Tiki style and practically turns into a party room on weekend nights. Any of the wines you can find at Kalyra Winery itself can also be found at Kalyra By The Sea.
Kalyra Winery is located on the Santa Ynez Wine Trail and the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail.
Kalyra By The Sea is located on State Street in Santa Barbara, two blocks from the beach.
- Winemaker: Norm Beko
- Principal Varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Riesling
- Case Production: 800d
Placed in a north-south direction that allows for both maximum exposure to sunlight and increased access to cool sea breezes, and lying at the feet of the San Rafael Mountains, which trap the morning and evening fog, the Cottonwood Canyon Vineyard & Winery produces some of the best Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the area.
Cottonwood Canyon joins traditional Burgundian winemaking practices with American ingenuity to produce distinctly different, age worthy and memorable wines. Our estate tasting room offers views of the vineyard and winery, including a wonderful picnic area. Winery and cave tours are offered over the weekend.
Cottonwood Canyon is located on the Santa Maria Valley & Los Alamos Wine Trail and the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail.
- Winemaker: Douglas Braun
- Principal Varietals: Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Viognier
- Case Production: 1,500
Presidio Winery is certified organic and certified biodynamic.
Presido Winery is located on the Solvang Wine Walk.
Below is a list of some of my favorite wineries and tasting rooms in the Santa Barbara area.
Many of these locations will waive or discount their tasting fee if you make your reservation here.
If you have a favorite that's not listed, be sure to mention it!
If you click here you can find an introduction to the region's five AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), which are federally defined wine-growing areas that have unique climates and soil conditions, and therefore produce unique wines.
- Winemaker: Kyle Knapp
- Principal Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Muscat Cannelli, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Tempranillo
- Case Production: 860
With amazing grapes come incredible wines. Small production, handcrafted excellence flows from our winery that sits in the heart of Santa Rita Hills appellation in northern Santa Barbara County.
The Cassara family and staff are dedicated to continue to bring you superior Pinot Noirs, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc as well as a few distinct "Winemaker Reserve" barrel-select wines. Pinot Noir is our specialty and our flagship Estate Grown Pinot Noir is shining brighter every year as our vineyard matures upon the mountain. We have the great fortune of obtaining grapes from many Santa Rita Hills vineyards with a few select county vineyards included. This gives us the great opportunity to produce several different Pinot Noirs of distinction.
Casa Cassara is located on the Solvang Wine Walk.
- Winemaker: Bion Rice
- Principal Varietals: Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Grenache, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvedre, Nebbiolo, Petite Syrah, Petite Verdot, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Tempranillo, Viognier, Zinfandel
- Case Production: 2,400
Artiste Winery's limited edition wines are art-inspired impressions of traditional blends from around the world. Artiste's approach to winemaking is entirely unique: they blend vintages and varietals from a wide geographic spectrum to make what they call "Impressionist Cuvées," each of which is limited to less than 500 cases, to preserve the integrity and quality of each of these works of art.
Each wine bottle is also given a unique label, commissioned from Contemporary Impressionists across the United States. The name of the wine is the name of the painting that graces its label, and the taste of the wine is always unique and wonderful.
Artiste Winery is located on the Los Olivos Promenade.
- Winemaker: Megan McGrath Gates
- Principal Varietals: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Malbec, Merlot, Muscat Cannelli, Muscat Orange, Petite Syrah, Petite Verdot, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Viognier, Riesling
- Case Production: 33,000
Louis Lucas, a third generation grape grower, and Superior Court Judge Royce Lewellen met in 1975. Louis was a well respected grower who had been supplying premium wine grapes for reputable Napa and Sonoma wineries for decades. Royce Lewellen was a passionate wine enthusiast with a vision for the future of the Santa Barbara County wine industry. Over the next twenty-five years, the Lucas and Lewellen families would grow in a deep friendship that would serve as the foundation for Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards.
The vineyards of Lucas & Lewellen are located in the three principal wine grape growing regions of Santa Barbara County: the Santa Maria Valley, the Los Alamos Valley, and the Santa Ynez Valley. These valleys all run west from the coastal mountains to the Pacific Ocean, allowing warm days and cool nights to produce a long, gentle growing season. From the finest estate grown grapes come the finest wines. Visit us to taste our premium handcrafted Santa Barbara County wines.
Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards is located on the Solvang Wine Walk.
- Winemaker: Clarissa Nagy
- Principal Varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling
- Case Production: 6,000
Riverbench has become the paradigm for first-rate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay production in the Santa Maria Valley. Our winemaking and vineyard practices, commitment to excellence, and our family of ambassadors set the standard for these luxury wines.
Riverbench Vineyard was established in 1973, when its first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes were planted on the property. For years since then, some of the most renowned wineries in Santa Barbara County have purchased our fruit for their own wines. Over time Riverbench has built a reputation for high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Santa Maria Valley.
In 2004, a group of local families purchased the property. Wine drinkers themselves, the owners quickly became enamored with the wine industry and decided to start producing their own wine label using small quantities of their exceptional fruit. Riverbench Winery was born.
The first vintage included both Estate and Reserve versions of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Since then, our portfolio has increased to include new interpretations of these noble varietals. All Riverbench wines are made in limited quantities, and many are available exclusively through our tasting rooms.
Riverbench is located on the Santa Maria Valley & Los Alamos Wine Trail and the Santa Barbara Urban Wine Trail.