Santa Ynez Valley is the largest of the AVA’s in Santa Barbara County taking in 76,000 acres . This is a cool climate AVA in Santa Barbara County that encompasses 3 smaller AVA’s, Sta. Rita Hills, Happy Canyon and Ballard Canyon. The AVA is bordered on the North by the Purisima Hills and the San Raphael Mountains and to the south by the Santa Ynez Mountains. We mentioned the transverse valley before, this valley funnels cool air in from the Pacific.
Because this area is so large and includes 3 other AVA’s a large portion of the wineries in Santa Barbara are included in this AVA.
The Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association is an association of select boutique wineries in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley that covers about 6 miles. These wineries have banded together to form this association and hold several events over the course of the year. Including “The Summer Pass” which allows you to taste anytime between May 1 and August 31 at any of the member wineries. Your pass expires when you have tasted at all of the wineries or on August 31st, whichever comes first.
There are 15 wineries included in the Association including Alexander & Wayne, Arthur Earl, Brander, Buttonwood Farm, Casa Cassara, Cimarone & 3CV Wines, Daniel Gehrs, Imagine Wines, Lincourt, Lucas & Lewellen, Rideau Vineyard, Standing Sun Wines, Toccata, Toretti Family Vineyard & William James Cellars.
The Santa Barbara Vintners have a Santa Ynez tasting route that takes you through the center of the Santa Ynez Valley, from Los Olivos to Solvang. It differs slightly from the Association route including a few different wineries like Beckmen, Blackjack Ranch, Bridlewood Estate Winery, Carr, Crown Point, Fontes & Phillips Wines, Kalyra Winery & Sunstone, this route is also worth checking out.
If you want to taste wines from many of these wineries all in the convenience on one location, you should head to the Santa Barbara Vintner’s Spring Weekend for the Grand Tasting held each Year. Check out some of the Highlights from 2014