What are the top wines near Santa Barbara?

I always think the wines at Stolpman are top notch —in a relatively rich style — when we’ve visited. Have to drive a few miles north of SB proper of course.

It’s been a while since I’ve been there but . . .

Foxen (the small tasting shack, if it’s still there – there’s also a nicer tasting room at the winery)

Solvang and Los Olivos are great and have many tasting rooms in a small area
Hitching Post II was great for dinner. Ended up eating there twice.

+1 on this. They are absolutely killing it with terroir driven Syrah from vineyards in cooler, more marginal sites.

I was in their club, dropped for a bit, tasted a Presquile Syrah we had aged for several years, then knew we had to be back in.

In fact, my last visit to Los Olivos was two stops: Tercero & Holus Bolus.

Margerum and Melville are two great options in downtown Santa Barbara.

Thank you all very much - great info here



Go see Larry. It’s worth the drive from Santa Barbara.

Peake Ranch is making some very good wine.

Wow. That’s a loaded request. So many amazing growers and producers in the Santa Barbara region. Some I would list:

Paul Lato
Domaine de la Cote

Crown Point is sublime

A Paul Lato Pinot was the most interesting wine on my last trip. It was bigger than I prefer, but you could almost taste the chaparral.

I have enjoyed most of the others in this thread, but the Lato was truly distinctive.

a few I like in the area…

Melville / Spear in SRH
Hitching Post - also grab a bite!
Lompoc wine Ghetto (Kessler-Haak, Chanin, Holus Bolus are a few I’ve enjoyed)

also check out this reference in town.


As others have mentioned Whitcraft, Sanguis and Jaffurs are great. Also enjoyed some wines from DV8 from last years BD but have never been by the tasting room.

As you can tell by the responses in this thread, Santa Barbara County is much more diverse than most folks give it credit far. You could easily fill up at least a single day down in Santa Barbara proper, visiting ABC, Margerum, Whitcraft, Sanguis, Jaffurs, DV8, Kunin, Municipal Winemakers, Grassini Family and others.

You can then spend at least another day or two visiting those out in Lompoc or towards Lompoc - Dierberg, Melville, Spear (appt only), Babcock, Sanford, LaFond, and then into the ghetto itself with Tyler, Kessler-Haak, Kita, Transendence, Longoria, Pali and a bunch of others.

Head into Los Olivos and within a 10 minute WALK you can hit Brewer-Clifton, Palmina, Carucci, Samsara, Holus Bolus, Stolpman, Dragonette, Refugio Ranch, Barbieri, Tensley, Epipahany, Carhartt, Story of Soil, my own tasting room and about a dozen more.

You can then spend a day driving out Foxen Canyon and can hit Andrew Muray, Fess Parker, Foxen, Zaca Mesa, Martian (slighly off within a mile), Riverbench and others.

So many choices and such a fun place to discover! Come on down or up - the wine’s fine [snort.gif] flirtysmile champagne.gif


Thanks Bill for the shout out! Liquid Farm now has a tasting room in Los Olivos :–)

In Los Olivos would recommend:


Can’t believe it took 14 posts to get Stolpman on the list.

Very impressive stuff!

Stolpman does make some very nice wines indeed - and have been for quite some time. They’ve also just opened their ‘So Fresh Garage’ adjacent to their current tasting room across the street from me showcasing their ‘carbonic’ wines like Love You Bunches and Syrah So Fresh . . .


Go to Los Olivos or don’t even go.

Stolpman and Tensley (very nice Grenache) are my main two stops there. Palmina has a tasting room there and is worth visiting if you want to try interesting stuff.

The top guys that require a reservation are Jonata and Crown Point.

Beckman, Roblar, Koehler, you will need to drive to and are worth it.

Santa Barbara wine tasting is probably the most fun for wine geeks as you get to try so many different things.

thank you all - excellent info here

Jonata is not open to the public, but my guess is that you could get a tasting appointment there by reaching out directly to the winery. Crown Point is the same situation - they are located in Happy Canyon where tastings are not ‘supposed to happen’, but many estates do host private tastings out there.


Yep, exactly. You have to contact and may need some luck as they offer ‘limited’ private tastings:

Appointment Only

A limited number of tastings are available on weekdays.’

This may be a dead thread at this point, but Bien Nacido & Solomon Hills Estate tasting room is in Los Olivos for one more year, until we complete the tasting room at the vineyard. We think after farming Bien Nacido Vineyard for almost 50 years now, we might know a thing or two. Gimme a shout if anyone heads out there, so I can make sure the red carpet gets rolled out.

wife and I are heading to Los Alamos in May, so all this is appreciated (although already had many on my list). I regularly buy LF, Stolpman, DdlC and Chanin so appreciate some of the new names above.