There are 7 AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in Santa Barbara.
The Santa Ynez Valley AVA covers much of the southern portion of the wine region. It has four nested AVAs, with the Sta. Rita Hills AVA sitting closest to the coast. As you move east, you find the Ballard Canyon AVA, which sits in a smaller North South Valley. On the eastern border of Ballard Canyon, you find the Los Olivos AVA, which is the most recently approved sub-AVA.
Happy Canyon sits the furthest East of these nested AVAs and is the warmest region.
North of the Santa Ynez Valley, you find the Alisos Canyon AVA. This AVA runs from the 101 East to Foxen Canyon Road. This East-West Valley pulls in marine winds from the Pacific Ocean, which is just 20 miles away. More and more winemakers have been pulling fruit from this region. This is part of the larger Los Alamos Region which is not at this point an AVA.
North of Alisos Canyon, you come to the Santa Maria Valley AVA. This was the 2nd AVA in California and the third in the US in 1981.
Santa Barbara County is divided into distinct Growing regions:
- Santa Maria Valley
- Santa Ynez Valley
- Sta. Rita Hills
- The Los Alamos Valley
- Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara
- Ballard Canyon
- Alisos Canyon
- Los Olivos AVA