Most Beautiful Wineries in Santa Barbara

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Most Beautiful Wineries in Santa Barbara

  • Jul 31, 2020
  • By Rebekah Stoltz Weeman

We heard that you wanted to go to the most beautiful wineries in Santa Barbara. Look no further, we have curated an exquisite list of the best wineries to swirl, sip and savor like a local.

In a place like Santa Barbara, beautiful places exist on every sightline. From sea, to sky, to vistas and views there are endless noteworthy spots to mention. I promise that you won't have to take more than two steps outside to discover beauty in the simplest of things. Bustling on the Central Coast, Santa Barbara is home to nearly 450,000 people. Seemingly smaller in stature, it's easy to get lost in this paradise and feel like you are miles away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. With 100+ wineries (and growing) there is much to explore. Join me on an adventure, as we look at some of the most beautiful wineries to date.

Pence Vineyards and Winery simply put, is a breath of fresh air.  Pence sits on a high plateau in the Sta Rita Hills. Surrounded on all sides by the forces of nature, the land is consistently ravaged by coastal wind. This makes the air pure in a way I have never known. Sitting on the veranda, sipping a beautiful red blend, I was reminded of what makes old California such an appealing place. Pence Vineyards speaks to me in ways that create desire, inspiration, passion and confidence. The way that the staff painted a picture of the wines I tasted was brilliant. I found myself laughing, being challenged and finding great pleasure on my palette.

To me, the genuine human exchange elevated the already spectacular surroundings and wine. I enjoyed the Private Tasting at the Dock. This tasting included a selection of estate wines, with selections from the Penny Label Collection. Also included was a California procured cheese and charcuterie board. It was divine!  There are many creative choices for outdoor tasting. Don't miss a visit to Pence Vineyards. I plan on going back next time I am in town.

Melville Winery is a perfect place to garner a sense of the Mediterranean. With breezy patios and lush gardens, it's easy to pretend that you are soaking up the rays at a sensational beach club in Spain or Italy. Surrounded by languid hills that salute the sun, Melville’s roots run deep in the world of wine. Family owned and operated, there is special care and a personal touch that goes into the land, the wine, the hospitality and the vibe. While sitting outside, tasting wine, you get a sense of the commitment and dedication to honest work that the family and staff live by. 

It's inspiring to taste beautifully crafted Chardonnay, Pinot and Syrah, while understanding how much passion and intelligence has gone into the production of each bottle. What’s more, is that the wines are a great value and won't break the budget. I love the Perfect Picnic Package. For $60, you can walk away with a fabulous spread, a bottle of wine and two GoVino cups to take home. There is lots of green space to enjoy the bounty!

Beckmen Vineyards (Los Olivos) is a relatively small winery that has big time passion. The modest 40 acre parcel where the tasting room sits, it is filled with old world charm and smiling people. The gazebo overlooking the pond and vineyards is the perfect setting to enjoy your Rhone style wines. The breeze will blow, the birds will chip and it may seem like you are at Walden Pond (where poets write poems), instead of a winery. Over the years, the Beckmen Family has made many calculated land acquisitions and carefully cultivated over 37 different grape varieties.

Since former President Obama selected some of the Beckmen wines to be served at state affairs, popularity has increased. However, Beckmen has been a hidden gem of Santa Barbara, since1994. We hope it will continue to produce the incredible wines and remain quaint and lovely, despite the skyrocketing demand for this very special Santa Barbara specific wine.

According to Hollywood, Firestone Vineyards is spectacular and stunning. The historical winery is featured in the critically acclaimed film Sideways and the hit reality television show, The Bachelor. Guess what? We think Firestone is gorgeous too! Having recently visited the area, I was shocked at how much more beautiful the estate is than it appears on the big screen. Imagine acres and acres of flowing green hills, covered in willowy trees and miles of vineyards. The view goes on forever and it's easy to forget about the rest of the world. A popular place to tie the knot, couples relish in the enchanting beauty of Firestone Vineyards. While the indoor areas are stunningly decorated, the outdoor veranda represents all the ingredients of the American dream.

Founded by influential billionaire, Harvey S. Firestone in the 70’s, the estate now belongs to Bill Foley, who acquired the property in 2007. However, it was Harvey S. Firestone's vision that put Santa Barbara on the map, as a wine growing region. Give them a call and reserve your spot at Firestone. After all, that is where it all began.

Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards (Buellton / Solvang) is a 45-minute drive from downtown Santa Barbara, but well worth the miles logged. As you make your way to the winery, there is so much to be seen. Taking it all in, you will no doubt be impressed with the striking features of the Santa Barbara landscape. When you arrive at the winery, you will be greeted with a welcoming smile and then seated at a well-prepared table. The views are lovely and the wines are sure to delight. At this time, Alma Rosa isn't offering seating indoors, so be sure to go back one day and see the giant indoor trees that are a centerpiece to the tasting room. High on my list of the best places in Santa Barbara is the Ranch Experience at Alma Rosa.

Very limited, you can book an elaborate cheese and wine pairing or a simple gourmet picnic lunch at the Ranch. This 628-acre destination is only minutes away from the winery. It's outstanding and you will find that the Ranch delivers on an elevated level, while still being understated and approachable. Make the journey to Alma Rosa and you won't regret the trek, it's fabulous!   

Schedule a visit for a sit-down tasting experience in their stunning Buellton tasting room. Their tasting room in the Santa Rita Hills is stunning property. Encompassing three properties in two AVA’s its a treat to visit. The tasting experiences are held at the Drum Canyon Vineyard, where you will enjoy both Dierberg and Star Lane labels. When it's not sold out, they also have a label called ‘Three Saints’ that is outstanding. Together the labels represent 15 selections. It's important to know this before I describe the setting because Drum Canyon is where all the efforts of the family come together in perfect harmony.

Jim and Mary Dierberg searched high and low, from France to Napa Valley, for the perfect property to call their own, Dierberg Winery. Having owned one of America’s oldest wineries (Hermannhoff) prior to settling in Santa Barbara, the Dierbergs are no strangers to the industry. With a clear vision and plan, they have evolved as one of the leading wineries in Santa Barbara. Together with their beloved family, they offer a delightful place to take in the land and absorb the fruits of their labor. While sitting on the veranda, sipping Pinot Noir and having a Sideways moment, I was struck with a newfound love for the state of California and the beauty of the Santa Ritas Hills. Definitely a place to keep on your list, Dierberg and Star Lane Vineyard are not to be overlooked. Try the Private Tasting where winemaker Tyler Thomas, has paired each wine with an artisanal cheese. This experience also includes a barrel-sample of Dierberg futures!

On the horizon for several years now, the Santa Barbara wine country is a brightly rising star. The cool weather wines are highly sought after and collected. While taking in the lush greenery, incredible views and interesting landscape, it's apparent that beauty in Paso Robles exists in all things.

So how does one winery rise above another? I've decided that they don't!  All of the wineries listed retain their own unique beauty and exist in a bouquet of beauty, together. Enjoy some of the best Pinot Noirs, Chardonnay and Syrah in California. Coined as the California Riviera, Santa Barbara offers a perfect playground to explore. The area speaks to everyone searching for the perfect escape. At the end of the day, Santa Barbara will leave you with memories to last a lifetime and a sun-kissed glow that will shine brightly long after you have returned home.

Perhaps on the quest to discover beautiful wineries in Santa Barbara, I have discovered that beauty can be found in almost everything.

Tags: Best ofHidden GemOutdoor ExperiencesTour & Tasting

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