Santa Barbara Wine Tasting: 10 Best Wineries to Visit

Santa Barbara is one of the most esteemed wine regions in the United States, boasting over 200 world-class wineries and 16,000 acres of vineyards.

Alongside its fantastic wine scene, the city offers an extensive list of exciting attractions and activities to do when you’re not indulging in some stellar Santa Barbara wine tasting.

What Wine Is Santa Barbara Known For?

Santa Barbara is nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, which allows for cool ocean breezes to sweep over the land. This provides optimal growing conditions for a wide range of grapes – over 65 varietals in fact!

Santa Barbara is most well-known for its production of high-quality Chardonnay, Pinot, Noir, and Syrah wines, but it has also built a reputation for Bordeaux and Rhone-style wines, as well as some Italian and Spanish varietals.

The region’s winemaking history dates back to 1782 when Father Junipero Serra brought vine cuttings from Mexico to California. The Mission grape was the most popular variety in California until the 20th century, a name it acquired due to its association with the church.

There were more than 45 acres of vineyards by the 1800s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that the first commercial winery opened in Santa Barbara. Fast forward to today and the area boasts over 200 wineries, making it a world-class destination for wine lovers!

Top 10 Best Wineries in Santa Barbara

Fancy fitting in some Santa Barbara wine tasting or relaxing with friends and family at a winery? Our 10 best wineries in Santa Barbara list will show you exactly which places are worth stopping by.

Margerum Tasting Room 

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With its scenic views and ultra-modern interior, Margerum Wine Company’s Santa Barbara tasting room is a great place to visit, offering an assortment of delicious wines and dishes.

While seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, they offer private tastings in their beautiful mezzanine, which is perfect for large groups and those after a more intimate wine tasting experience.

Margerum Wine Company has a few private wine tasting options for you to try like private library tastings and private terroir tastings. If you want to enhance your wine tasting knowledge and sample diverse wines, be sure to book an appointment!

They have a seasonal food menu that includes a tempting range of mouthwatering appetizers and entrees like salads, pizzas, sandwiches, olives, and almonds.

The winery has various venues that can be booked out for private events, but they also host their own events throughout the year, including club member pick-up parties and seasonal activities.

And that’s not all! Margerum Wine Company even offers a unique experience where you get to barrel, blend, and bottle your wine, allowing you to become a winemaker for the day.

Jamie Slone Wines

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Second up is Jamie Slone Wines, featuring a comfortable tasting room, cafe-style outdoor patio, and a varied selection of award-winning wines. Their wine portfolio includes Albariño, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Sparkling, Rosé, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Red blends, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The winery’s tasting room is located at the historic El Paseo and boasts a Spanish Colonial exterior and Mediterranean interior. They offer casual tastings daily, but reservations are recommended, especially at the weekend as they normally get quite busy.

If you need a charming venue for a private event, Jamie Slone Wines will be happy to accommodate you. Their full tasting room can seat up to 50 people, while their reserve tasting room can seat up to 10 people. Bear in mind that the full tasting room is only available to rent after hours.

Sevtap Winery

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Whether you’re after magnificent red wines, flavorful white wines, sumptuous food, or a relaxing retreat, Sevtap Winery has you covered. Their delightful and charming atmosphere will make you feel right at home, so you can sip on phenomenal wines in ultimate comfort.

The winery offers both red white wine tastings, as well as wine by the glass and bottle at their sophisticated tasting room. To go with your wine, why not order a batch of their scrumptious homemade bread?

We personally recommend the sun-dried tomato herb bread – it’s herby-liscious! They also have a selection of Spanish-influenced dishes if you’re something a little more filling.

Sevtap Winery can accommodate private events at their stunning estate, as well as catering services made by their talented head chef. In fact, the winery’s head chef can even come to your own home to cook you a restaurant-quality, decadent meal if you fancy taking the night off cooking!

Municipal Winemakers

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Municipal Winemakers are committed to making exciting, high-quality wines that showcase the flavors of California. From rich reds to wonderful whites, this winery has a lot to offer for casual and experienced wine drinkers.

They have a chic Santa Barbara wine tasting room with up-cycled decor, as well as a relaxed and chill atmosphere that’s perfect for chatting (and drinking!) the day away with friends and family. There is also an outdoor patio with benches made from reclaimed wood.

Seating is quite limited, so you might want to head down early to guarantee a spot. They offer tastings of their newly released wines ($20 for 4!) and wine by the bottle and glass.

Grassini Family Vineyards

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Another one of the best Santa Barbara wineries is Grassini Family Vineyard, starring a delightful tasting room situated in downtown Santa Barbara. They currently only offer red wine flights, but they hope to bring back white wine flights very soon!

They have 3 spacious courtyard patios that feature tranquil views, allowing you to fully unwind and mull over a remarkable glass, flight, or bottle of wine.

Their vineyard is situated in Santa Ynez and is also available for private tastings, including a relaxing pondside experience, so it’s well worth dropping by if you have time after checking out their tasting room.

The vineyard is available for private events for those looking for a charming venue for a party, family gathering, or wedding. They also host some events themselves throughout the year, with some of their popular past events including downtown art and wine tours, chowder festivals, and charity wine auctions.

Kunin Wines

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Kunin Wines was first established in 1998 and initially focused on Syrah, Viognier, and Zinfandel wines, but over the last couple of decades, they have extended their menu to include remarkable Rhone and Loire Valley varieties.

Their stylish tasting room is located in Santa Barbara’s downtown Funk Zone and is just a short walk away from the beach. It’s open every day and is a fantastic place to visit to sample the winery’s range of majestic wines, while also learning more about their history and winemaking process.

Paradise Springs Winery

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Paradise Springs Winery is the first bi-coastal winery in the United States and aims to make world-class wines from coast to coast. Their impressive portfolio includes Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, and Bordeaux varietals, so if you’re a fan of these types of wines, this winery is definitely the right place for you.

Their charming tasting room is located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara. They offer private cellar tastings (by appointment only) and 3 tasting options: mixed flights, all red flights, and premium flights.

If you’re in the mood for a light snack, the winery will be happy to whip up a cheese and character board for you, which consist of various gourmet cheeses, meats, dried fruits, crackers, and hummus.

The winery offers full and partial rental of their tasting room if you need a lovely place for a private event, too!

Carr Winery

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  • Address: 414 N Salsipuedes St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103, United States
  • Website: https://carrwinery.com/
  • Contact Number: +1 805-965-7985

Specializing in limited production wines with varietals such as Pinot Gris, Syrah, Grenache, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc, Carr Winery is a spectacular place to visit for good wine and good times.

Their stunning tasting room is located in a 1940s Quonset hut and has an inviting and welcoming ambiance, which is just what you need for relaxing after a long day. They offer wine tastings and wine by the glass and tap daily, with monthly art shows and live music to enjoy.

Winemaker dinners and release parties also occur on a regular basis, so there’s always something exciting happening at Carr Winery! You can rent out either the barrel room or patio for private events, and the winery’s helpful staff will ensure you and your guests’ visit is a memorable one.

Pali Wine Co.

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  • Address: 116 E Yanonali St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101, United States
  • Website: https://www.paliwineco.com/
  • Contact Number: +1 805-560-7254

With tasting rooms dotted in various locations in the United States, including one in Santa Barbara, Pali Wine Co. offers a selection of top-notch wines at affordable prices. They were founded in 2005 with the aim to craft Burgundy-inspired wines from California’s Central Coast/

They now have 3 different brands, all with a unique focus and direction. Many of their wines have won awards for their excellence, which shows the winery’s dedication to flavor and quality.

The Santa Barbara tasting room is located in the Funk Zone and offers a simple yet appealing interior and exterior. There’s comfortable seating inside and outside, allowing you to enjoy a glass of wine no matter the weather.

Au Bon Climat

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The last winery we recommend in Santa Barbara is Au Bon Climat, which has a well-presented tasting room in downtown Santa Barbara and a selection of fantastic wines. Their experienced winemaker has a talent for producing exquisite Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, so you need to pay this winery a visit if you enjoy these varieties.

The rustic, cozy tasting room has been open since 2011 and offers a wide range of library and current release wines. In fact, they have over 100 wines, so there’s a huge amount of choice and something for everyone to enjoy.

Au Bon Climat offers 2 flights of wine: classic tastings ($15 per person) and reserve tastings ($20 per person). Tastings are complimentary for club members and with any $60 purchase.

You can also customize your wine tasting experience so it’s unique and personal to you, whether that’s wine and food pairings, Pinots only, or a specific vintage. If you’re interested, be sure to contact the winery for more details and pricing.

Other Things to Do in Santa Barbara

With its sunny climate, downtown beaches, and gorgeous Spanish Colonial architecture, Santa Barbara offers plenty of things to do than just wine tasting.

There are art galleries, museums, gardens, stunning buildings, and hiking trails to explore, as well as an assortment of renowned restaurants serving mouthwatering dishes. If you’re a seafood lover, you especially need to stop by Stearns Wharf.

You can purchase fresh seafood straight from the fishing boats, enjoy a sumptuous meal at various restaurants, and soak up the salty sea air and views. There’s even a small aquarium, which is great for kids.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and Santa Barbara County Courthouse are also must-visits when you’re in the city.

If you’re looking for the ultimate tranquil day out, head up to the Inspiration Point, Botanic Gardens, or Lotusland to peruse the breathtaking scenery.

Final Thoughts

With its sandy beaches, fair climate, delicious wines, and a fantastic assortment of attractions and activities, Santa Barbara offers an enjoyable visit for all.

Whether you want to relax at the beach, sip on luxurious wine, explore beautiful scenery, or indulge at renowned restaurants, you’re sure to have a memorable stay in this spectacular city.

The wineries in this list are some of the best in all of Santa Barbara, boasting excellent hospitality, a casual and warm atmosphere, and plenty of delicious wine, of course. Make sure you stop by as many as you can!

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