Wine Tasting in Santa Barbara – 10 Best Wineries You Should Try

Santa Barbara’s winemaking culture has become renowned over the years and is something that you shouldn’t ignore when visiting the state. So if you’re tired of San Francisco and Los Angeles is too wild, check out these 10 high-quality wineries in Santa Barbara.

View of Santa Barbara from the pier at dusk

Where is Santa Barbara?

Santa Barbara is a Californian town that has become one of America’s most respected winemaking areas worldwide.

They currently have over 200 different wineries over 16,000 vineyard acres, making this a vitally important part of American viticulture.

Even better, Santa Barbara is a fun town with plenty of great things to do and a lot of activities that will provide a surprising thrill that you might not expect.

Understanding more about winemaking in Santa Barbara will give you the unique insight you need into this area’s wine culture.

Related: More California wineries to checkout include Santa Ynez, or Temecula, or alternatively Paso Robles.

Santa Barbara is primarily renowned for its delicious Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Chardonnay wines. However, many people also like their Bordeaux and Rhone wines.

This region has been making wine since 1782, making it one of the oldest known American viticulture regions in the continental United States. As you might imagine, this means people here know what they’re doing when making wines.

10 of the Best Wineries in Santa Barbara

Cutting down this list to just 10 wineries is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. You may know of a few Santa Barbara wineries that got left off and if so, let me know!

It’s always worth learning more about these options to decide which to include in these fun lists.

Map of The Best Wineries in Santa Barbara

1. Jamie Slone Wines

  • Website: Jamie Slone Wines
  • Address: 23 E De La Guerra St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
  • Phone Number: 805-560-6555

Jamie Slone Wines is one of those cute places you could easily miss if you didn’t know it existed.

However, its good name is rapidly spreading, and more people are becoming huge fans of this comfortable winery, located in a bustling downtown Presidio region.

The first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful tasting room with a historical Spanish Colonial exterior and Mediterranean interior.

This unique combination makes Jamie Slone something of a cultural blend, one that you’ll remember for years, even after you finish a bottle of their best vintage.

Jamie Slone also does many charitable events and holds live tastings that may be a great joy to visit.

These live events include exposure to just-released wines and give you early access to some in-progress wines. That kind of insider scoop is always fun to tease your friends with later.

Wines you may enjoy here include Chardonnay, Albarino, Malvasia Bianca, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, and Grenache. Honestly, there’s very little that Jamie Slone doesn’t do well, so you are likely to find just about any wine option that works well for you!

Just a few amenities of this winery include:

  • Dog-friendly winery (leashes only)
  • You can rent the tasting room after hours
  • Free corkage at many high-quality partner restaurants

2. Margerum Tasting Room

Modern interior with gorgeous walls and comfortable seating? Check.

Handsome lighting with an old-school touch? Double-check. A broad range of different wines that make Margerum one of the best wineries in the state of California? Triple-check! Margerum has it all!

However, it also has much more beyond these three excellent benefits.

For example, they have a beautiful tasting room that’s big enough for multiple parties, though you can also offer private tastings in the outdoor mezzanine if you like. This option is great for those with bigger groups.

Even better, Margerum has impressive food options carefully selected to pair with your favorite wines.

This seasonal menu includes delicious appetizers and entrees. Do you love pizzas packed high with veggies, sandwiches with olives, and almond snacks? Then, you’ve come to the right place!

I don’t think you can go wrong with any option here for wines. However, the Red Rhone and Syrah are probably the best options for most people.

Other amenities that you may experience when visiting this destination include:

  • Bookings for private parties
  • Club member parties
  • Outdoor and seasonal activities

3. Municipal Winemakers

Municipal Winemakers
Source: @muniwine
  • Website: Municipal Winemakers
  • Address: 22 Anacapa St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
  • Phone Number: 805-931-6864

Like many wine fans, you’ve seen a thousand classy wineries, and you want something a little different.

Thankfully, Municipal may be a good choice for you. They’re a bit newer on the scene and have a quirky personality for their tasting rooms and wines, making them very fun to visit.

Casualness is the name of the game here, as you’ll get a comfortable and up-cycled décor design through the winery.

You can relax here for hours with friends and family members, catch up with each other, and feel the joy of staying in touch with people you genuinely love.

Municipal Winemakers 2
Source: @muniwine

One thing to remember is that Municipal doesn’t have a considerable sitting room. However, an outdoor patio with attractive wood benches expands your seating options—a reservation or even a private event scheduling is not a bad idea here.

Superb wines here include dessert, Syrah, Blanc de Blanc, Grenache, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel wines. They always find a fun way to present their wines and set them apart from other wineries, making this a great place to visit.

Amenities include:

  • A fun and quirky experience for millennials
  • Money-saving wine club options
  • Truly delicious chocolate boxes

4. Riverbench Vineyard and Winery

Riverbench Vineyard and Winery
Source: @riverbench

Though winemaking has existed throughout California for centuries, Riverbench is one of the oldest modern wineries in the Santa Barbara area.

Located in Santa Barbra and nearby Santa Maria, Riverbench has been producing wine since 1973 and remains a top option for many visitors and residents.

One thing you’ll love when visiting either tasting room is their natural beauty.

Both are in pretty rural areas and include elegant indoor tasting rooms with padded benches, wine stands, beautiful photos, paintings, and light music that will keep you entertained and comfy.

Riverbench Vineyard and Winery 2
Source: @riverbench

When you visit during the warm seasons, you also get access to outdoor seating areas and bocce ball grounds.

Bocce and wine have become a big trend in recent years, as have outdoor picnic areas where people can bring in outside meals. Riverbench provides both these amenities.

This winery can make great reds (Pinot Noir), fantastic whites (Chardonnay), delicious dessert wines (Rose), and much more.

They also provide a broad range of different amenities that make the visit worthwhile, including:

  • Fun and unique pairing options
  • Beautiful and old-school vineyards
  • A money-saving wine club

5. Conway Family Wines – Deep Sea Tasting Room

Deep Sea Tasting Room
Source: @deepseawine
  • Website: Conway Family Wines
  • Address: 217 G, Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
  • Phone Number: 805-618-1185

Are you looking for a winery with a high-class style, one that serves delicious vegetable boards alongside its wines?

And are you interested in a winery with a modern touch that doesn’t ignore tradition? Then, Conway Family Wine is the spot for you!

The biggest thing you’ll notice about Conway Family Wines is their appealing and attractive tasting room. It is the main reason to visit, beyond the high-quality wines and the unique and friendly people you may meet. 

That’s because their tasting room is right on the Pacific Ocean on Stearns Wharf, giving you magnificent views of the ocean.

You can even see the Channel Islands and the Riviera from here, making this spot a great destination.

Deep Sea Tasting Room 2
Source: @deepseawine
Deep Sea Tasting Room 3
Source: @deepseawine

When choosing wines here, you should have plenty of options! You can shop by brand, varietal, color, and price and choose from items like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, White Blends, and Sirah.

Other amenities include:

  • Private party options, including room rental and weddings
  • Various wine clubs you can join 
  • Gifts and merchandise from the gift shop

6. Sevtap Winery

Source: @sevtapsb
  • Website: Sevtap Winery
  • Address: 23 E Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
  • Phone Number: 805-679-5657

Red wine fans know that there’s just something about this wine type’s combination of colors, textures, aromas, and flavors that make them hard to top.

Sevtap is on the same wavelength as these wine fans. They specialize in red wines, though they also produce white wines.

Their red wines include some reasonably complex Malbec and Cabernet Franc options, alongside such amusingly named vintages as “Make Me Sexy” and “Autumn.”

These blends provide the kind of rich tannins you love in red wines, alongside a variety of fruity tastes and aromas.

However, Sevtap also provides excellent white wines that will fit into many people’s lives, such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and more.

Sevtap 2
Source: @sevtapsb

You can try these wines in their comfortable serving room, where you can relax and spend time with friends and family in an intimate atmosphere.

However, you can also eat various foods, such as sun-dried tomato herb bread and Spanish-influenced dishes typical in the area, such as tapas, grilled octopus, clay pot shrimp crab cakes, and much more.

Other amenities you get when you visit this winery include:

  • A fun shop with winemaking gear
  • Catering services for your parties
  • Private events and other amenities

7. Grassini Family Vineyards

Grassini’s Estate Winery is located in some beautiful rolling hills in Happy Canyon, nestled just outside the city’s boundaries in Santa Ynez Valley. Their tasting room (open 12-6pm daily) is located in Downtown Santa Barbara.

Their award-winning wine is some of the best in the region, and wine fans often come back here time and time again.

Currently, they focus specifically on red wines and don’t have white wines back in stock just yet, which provides red fans with a focused and tasty variety of wine that they’ll love.

You can try out these wines by the glass, bottle, or flight, which helps you try out multiple options at once.

If you love outdoor wine days, you’re in luck: this winery has three beautiful courtyard patios that provide fantastic views over the landscape around this winery.

Frankly, it’s worth visiting there just to see a beautiful deer and its fawn eating only 100 feet from you: a not uncommon occurrence here. Please note that the estate grounds are open by appointment only from Thursday through to Monday.

What if you want a more private experience? Thankfully, you’re covered! They provide private booking for family gatherings, parties, and much more.

Other amenities of this winery include:

  • Multiple money-saving wine clubs
  • Various events, like downtown art tours
  • Food festivals in nearby areas

8. Paradise Springs Winery

Question: do you know which winery in Santa Barbara was the first bi-coastal winery or one that operated on both the west and east coasts of the nation?

Based on where this question is posed, you can probably guess: Paradise Springs Winery, of course!

This fantastic winery is one of the most successful in the area and has become a national sensation in many parts of the country.

It’s hard not to taste why when you try one of their wines: their Pinots are notable, the Chardonnays in another class, and the Syrahs are probably the best in the area.

Their other wine options are still quite good, but the options listed above are by far the best.

What is lovely about this winery is that you can visit the larger, outdoor vineyard or their downtown tasting room, where you can spend time inside, outside, and with friends and family.

You get three different tasting options when visiting: all-red, premium, and mixed flights. Each provides a diverse array of wines that changes, depending on the season.

Other amenities include:

  • Delicious cheese and meat boards
  • Various dried fruits and hummus snacks
  • Private cellar tastings

9. Kunin Wines

Kunin Wines
Source: @sethkunin
  • Website: Kunin Wines
  • Address: 116 E Yanonali St Unit B, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
  • Phone Number: 805-963-9633

When Kunin Wines was established in 1998, it set itself apart from other wineries right away by focusing on a handful of wines: Syrah, Zinfandel, and Viognier.

They perfected these wines and then started adding more options, such as Rhode and Loire Valley varietals to their wines.

And as their business expanded, they added a fun and stylish tasting room in downtown Santa Barbara, one with a low-key style and a fun atmosphere that will draw in many potential visitors.

It is open every day, one of the few wineries open that much, and welcomes all guests.

Kunin Wines 2
Source: @sethkunin

Thankfully, they also provide cheese and cracker boards, including various fruits, hummus, and much more.

These snacks are ideally suited for their wine options, which are dense, thoughtful, and filled with a myriad of different tastes and undertones.

Though a bit low-key compared to other wineries on our list, this option is still a good choice thanks to its excellent wines and relaxing atmosphere.

Amenities of this winery include:

  • Award-winning wines
  • Easy to find bottles throughout the area
  • Attractive special offer options

10. Area 5.1 Winery

Area 5.1 Winery
Source: @a51wine
  • Website: Area 5.1 Winery
  • Address: 137 Anacapa St.Unit B, Santa Barbara CA 93101
  • Phone Number: 805-770-7251

Located right in downtown Santa Barbara’s renowned Funk Zone, Area 5.1 Winery plays off its fun name by integrating alien-based themes into its operation.

Their wine club members are called “Adventurers,” and their site features fun and silly references to aliens.

Don’t think this makes this winery any less great than the other options on this list!

Sure, its branding can be somewhat goofy (with wines like “Rosewell,” “Collusion,” and “Close Encounters”), but the wine quality is taken very seriously and is something you’ll likely love.

Area 5.1 Winery 2
Source: @a51wine

The previously mentioned wines on this list are pretty strong, mainly the “White Light 2017,” which has a nice blend of tastes and aromas that make it stand out.

However, they also do well with classic combinations like Pinot Noir, a California favorite.

One nice thing about this alien branding is that it’s likely to appeal to kids who may otherwise find their parents’ wine-drinking expeditions incredibly dull.

Other amenities of this winery include:

  • A shaded outdoor drinking area
  • Fun alien-themed gear
  • Clever interior design with alien themes

Overall Best Winery in Santa Barbara

Do you know how hard it was to pick from these 10 wineries, let alone the 200 available in Santa Barbara? Very hard!

However, I think that Margerum Tasting Room is your best choice due to its great tasting room, comfortable seating, and excellent food.

Explore Santa Barbara: Other Things To Do Here

After trying out these 10 wineries (or any others you may find) it is worth having some more fun in Santa Barbara! This city has a lot of exciting activities and destinations that may be worth trying out, like:

  • Santa Barbara Electric Bike Tour: Try out electric bikes to see which works best for you!
  • Santa Barbara Kayak Tour: Get outdoors and take a fantastic kayak adventure!
  • Santa Barbara Ghost Tour: Visit some spooky haunted destinations and have a great time!
  • Moxi: This interactive museum includes virtual reality and video-based exploration!

You can also take many wine country tours if you’re interested in trying out as many great wines as possible.

I strongly suggest multiple visits to Santa Barbara if you want to finish your punch card and visit every winery in the region!

Emma Miller