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The Santa Barbara County Appellation

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SB Co Wine Map PicmonkeySeveral separate wine regions (AVAs) are located within the County

TASTE News Service, July 18, 2096 - As a wine region, Santa Barbara County offers an impressive range of wines in distinctive styles, and from a wealth of various grape varieties.

The region also carries fantastic long-term potential for continued evolution of both style and quality.

Current Santa Barbara winemakers represent a third wave of influence through the region. Modern vines were first planted in the region in the late 1960s. The first vineyards of Santa Barbara County were planted in an incredible mix of varieties. Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir grew next to Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, among others. It was a style of planting common throughout the state of California as people learned what varieties grew best under what conditions. By the 1990s, appellations were being defined, and people had identified general growing guidelines like Cabernet and other Bordeaux varieties needed to be further inland, while Burgundian varieties could ripen closer to the coast.

Today, wines of Santa Barbara County benefit from the work of those previous decades as well as from ongoing experimentation and fine-tuning that continue to push forward quality.

As a growing region, Santa Barbara County offers incredible geographical complexity. Comprehending the wealth of environmental, geological, historical, and climatic influences factoring into winemaking in the region is no small feat. The diversity of growing conditions in Santa Barbara County is unique in the state of California, including within the rest of the Central Coast.

While much of California's Central Coast offers warmer overall temperatures, Santa Barbara County differs. Santa Barbara County stands as the only region on the western coast of North or South America with a transverse mountain range. The coastal mountains of Santa Barbara County sit open-mouthed to the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean, making the region uniquely influenced by a maritime climate. As a result, much of Santa Barbara County hosts genuinely cool climate growing conditions.

Editor’s note:  This information and map of Santa Barbara County were supplied by the Santa Barbara Vintners. If you’re planning on visiting the wineries in this part of California, first visit the Santa Barbara listings within the Central Coast section of Taste California Travel’s Resource Directory. There you will find links to the websites of wineries and craft beer specialists, as well links to the sites of hundreds of Lodging and Dining options.


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