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Santa Barbara Wine Country: A Winemakers Dream

Santa Barbara Wine Country: A Winemakers Dream

A very strange thing happened this week. I recently started listening to Julie Solomon’s The Influencer Podcast (trying to up my wine social game) and in one episode she started discussing the value of diversifying your influence via a blog, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc. Consider this example, you have 1M followers on instagram and thus you utilize instagram as your only platform for your brand and your money maker. Now, what if instagram suddenly disappeared? Where would you go to next? How would you rebuild? The strange part is, yesterday, March 13, 2019, Instagram (+ Facebook) totally shutdown and stopped working for what seemed to be, a very long period of time! Needless to say, this was very frustrating but how very bizarre that this all happened within 24hrs of each other.

The reason I bring this up is because I utilize my instagram as a learning tool for wine, not only for you but for myself as well. Each post is carefully curated to maximize a learning/teaching moment. Therefore, I’ve been covering Santa Barbara a lot recently and since it holds a special place in my heart and on my insta page, it’s only appropriate to post a feature on Santa Barbara wine capturing everything I’ve covered over the last few months - because I would hate to lose that wine knowledge for both of our sakes!

Think Santa Barbara Wine Country first started producing wine around the time the 2004 movie “Sideways” premiered? Thank again! Santa Barbara has been growing and producing wines for over 200 years, long before California even became a state (source: Santa Barbara Vintners).

Santa Barbara is a truly unique place and is the definition of how terrior defines a wine. It features the only transverse valley in the Americas. This means that the valley’s defining mountain ranges run perpendicular vs. parallel to the coastline (as is the global norm). The affect it has on this wine growing region is profound and a winemakers dream: ocean breezes flow through the transverse valley - warming as it moves further inland. This dynamic creates many micro climates within a short distance.

These micro climates create a patchwork of distinctive wine growing areas called AVAS, each capturing its own uniqueness - these valleys, hills + canyons make up Santa Barbara Wine Country. The crazy things is, that they continue to find more micro climates in the area that can grow different types of grapes! These micro climates include: Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Sta Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, Happy Canyon + Los Alamos.

What to Drink in Santa Barbara’s Micro-Climates

Santa Maria: Zesty Chardonnays, powerful Pinot Noirs + Northern Rhône style Syrah.

Santa Ynez: Burgundy and Rhône style wines i.e. Sauvignon Blancs, Pinot Noirs + Chardonnays.

Sta Rita Hills: Fruit forward and well structure Chardonnays + Pinot Noirs.

Ballard Canyon: Supple fruit forward Syrah, Grenaches + Viogniers.

Happy Canyon: Jammy Cabernet Sauvignons (lots of heat in this area)!

Los Alamos: Stone fruit Chardonnays + Pinot Noirs + red fruit forward blends (Grenache/Syrah)

Clearly there is a lot to cover if you want to go wine tasting in Santa Barbara however, lucky for us it’s easy for tourists to taste these premium wines of the valley. How? Enter in The Funk Zone located conveniently in downtown Santa Barbara booming with tasting rooms and farm to table restaurants. Very industrial yet modern and makes wine, sometimes snobby, very fun! It’s literally the Disney World for adults!

Image from

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There is so much to learn and explore in this wine growing region so I have no doubt I will be back. As I always say, you always want to leave a place wanting more.

Also, I’m thankful that I documented learnings from my trip seeing as insta is gone for the moment. So my lesson to you is DIVERSIFY!

Let’s keep the Santa Barbara wine conversation going below! What are your favorite SB wines!?

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