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Winery Spotlight: 4 Great Wineries in Santa Barbara, CA

Image of a Wine Tours by Design group in Santa Barbara California toasting at Roblar Winery.

Santa Barbara wine country is a top place to visit for Wine Tours by Design. With over 280 wineries and scenic views, our wine tour groups have enjoyed exploring the region that inspired the Oscar-winning movie “Sideways.” This world-class winemaking region is unique for many reasons, but one of our favorite reasons is that Santa Barbara County produces a variety of grapes that make all types of wine like:

  • Burgundian grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Sta. Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley.

  • Rhone grapes like Syrah and Grenache in Ballard Canyon.

  • Bordeaux heavyweights like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in Happy Canyon.

  • Some of the best Happy Canyon Sauvignon Blanc wines that our founder, Orson Hall, has tasted.

If you’ve never been to Santa Barbara’s wine country, you definitely need to plan a California wine tour soon. Here are some of our favorite wineries in the region to consider for your trip:

Dierberg Drum Canyon Vineyard (Santa Ynez)

Dierberg Drum Canyon Vineyard, also known as Star Lane Vineyard, is a must-visit place in the Santa Barbara wine region that not only offers wonderful wine but also an incredible history. In 1940, Elmer Rhoden, who owned 600 movie theaters, bought the property and named it Star Lane Ranch. Under his ownership, the property hosted many of his famous friends like Ronald Reagan and Edgar Bergen. In 1996, Jim and Mary Dierberg purchased the ranch and planted Bordeaux varietals on the property. The family subsequently added two cool-climate vineyards in three distinct AVAs of Santa Barbara County’s winegrowing region.

Not only is this vineyard rich in history but it’s also a great vineyard to visit for attractions. Our tour groups always enjoy the winery tour and the cave tour at Dierberg Drum Canyon Vineyard.

Sanford Winery & Vineyards (Sta. Rita Hills)

Sanford Winery & Vineyards offer arguably the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines in all of Santa Barbara County. In 1971, the first pioneering vineyards in Santa Barbara were planted at Sanford Winery, and over time, Sanford has become known for its specialties in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Our 2023 tour group took an ATV tour of the vineyards, and it was incredible. At each stop, our group was poured a different Pinot Noir, and the tour wound us through the picturesque estate vineyard blocks and amazing views of the Sta. Rita Hills. This is a must-visit vineyard if you’re in the Santa Barbara wine region.

Roblar Winery (Los Olivos/Santa Ynez)

Roblar Winery reflects the spirit of Santa Ynez Wineries — rustic, authentic, and bold. This winery’s philosophy is to showcase the variety and beauty that only Santa Ynez vineyards have to offer. This is evident in Roblar Winery’s diverse lineup of delicious wines, farm-to-table local food menu, and other unique experiences. Because of the vineyard’s location, the rich soil composition, and the region’s dynamic climate, Roblar Winery produces a wide variety of wines right on the estate property, including Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Sangiovese, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.

This winery offered one of the best experiences of our 2023 Santa Barbara County tour. Our tour group was given a Grand Estate tasting and tour as well as an incredible 5-course, farm-to-table outdoor lunch!

McClain Cellars (Buellton)

McClain Cellars is not only an excellent winery to visit but also a true testament to hard work and determination. The owners are setting new goals, accomplishing new heights, and delivering wonderful experiences for wine tour guests. One of our tour groups experienced a private winery dinner with a barrel tasting by the winemaker. Our group was treated to over 12 barrel tastings, and it was incredible!

Let’s Plan a Wine Tour to Santa Barbara

There are so many wineries to visit in Santa Barbara County, California. Our California wine tour groups love visiting this region, and the incredible wines and gracious vineyard hosts help to make Santa Barbara wine tours a wonderful experience for all.

Interested in taking a trip to California? Wine Tours by Design can provide a wonderful wine tour experience for your party. Contact us to start planning your next Santa Barbara wine tour adventure!


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