DISCOVER CALIFORNIA WINES RIGHT IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD
Every September, we who are fortunate enough to live in Santa Barbara are invited to celebrate California Wine Month in style. September marks the beginning of harvest in the Golden State, making it the perfect time of year to partake in the nectar of the Gods. Enjoy our beautiful wine country landscape while meeting the talented and ingenious winemaking families who live and work here. This is also a great way to celebrate our perfect Mediterranean climate along with Santa Barbara’s celebrated lifestyle and cuisine, and our commitment to sustainability and the environment.
Funk Zone Uncorked Wine Trail
Rightly named the American Riviera, Santa Barbara gives visitors the ability to go from world-class tasting rooms downtown to wine country itself—all within 30 minutes. You can even take your own self-guided tour of urban tasting rooms after you sun, shop and dine downtown in the Funk Zone. The Uncorked Wine Trail’s self-guided tour is the perfect way to experience Santa Barbara’s wine culture. Enjoy stops at four different tasting rooms located throughout the Funk Zone and beautiful waterfront area. You’ll receive a glass of wine and special offers at each stop. The package includes two-for-one tasting coupons at additional tasting rooms if you’d like to extend your wine outing. Sip at your own speed because the package is redeemable for a year. Funk Zone Uncorked is an app-based, self-guided tour that can be found in the Seeker app on your smartphone. All you need is your phone and your wine palate for a fun day.
An Introduction to Santa Barbara Wine Country
The unique geography of Santa Barbara wine country is the longest transverse valley (east to west) found on the western Pacific coast – from Alaska to South America. The climate conditions here are perfect for world-class cool-climate wines (like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay). Even so, Santa Barbara wine country offers a little bit of everything to the thirsty wine drinker. Wines are both elegant and sophisticated while maintaining down-to-earth minerality. They show an artful balance between fruit purity (think perfectly ripe berries), a rich velvety texture and freshness. The most commonly planted cultivars in the valley include:
- Chardonnay 7529 acres / 3047 ha
- Pinot Noir 5561 acres / 2250 ha
- Syrah 1928 acres / 780 ha
- Sauvignon Blanc 799 acres / 323 ha
Note that certain parts of the region farther inland are warm enough to fully ripen Cabernet Sauvignon (and other Bordeaux varieties) as well as white and red Rhône varieties (think Grenache, Syrah, and Viognier).
California wine is important to our economy, as the state is the fourth-largest wine producer in the world. In fact, 90% of American wine is made here. That adds up to more than $18.5 billion in retail wine sales in the U.S.
Santa Barbara Wine Month Celebrations
Enjoy special tastings, festivals, concerts, wine, and food offerings and more throughout the state. Celebrate all that California’s vintners and growers bring to our lifestyle, economy and culinary pleasures.
Here are some not to miss, wine-centric events in Santa Barbara:
- Taste of the Town Santa Barbara
September 8, 2019
Santa Barbara’s original tasting event, well known as the ultimate epicurean adventure, features the area’s finest wineries, breweries, restaurants, and caterers. Over 1,000 guests attend for an afternoon of wine tasting, great food, and live entertainment. Featuring 40 of Santa Barbara’s finest restaurants and 40 superb wineries that donate their delectable tasting specialties to the event; all to benefit vital research and programs supported by the Arthritis Foundation.
Riviera Park Gardens, Santa Barbara. Cost: $125-$140.
- Flying Goat Cellars 20th Harvest Celebration
September 14, 2019
Harvest is fast approaching and the excitement is palpable. Flying Goat Cellars is excited to share their 20th harvest with the wine-loving community. The annual Harvest Lunch and Barrel Tasting is your chance to enjoy the seductive aromas of fermenting Pinot Noir while tasting future wines and new releases paired with a delicious luncheon. Wine Club members and prospective members will have a sneak peek into harvest; sample upcoming wines and new releases, as well as enjoy a delicious lunch.
Flying Goat Cellars Winery, Santa Barbara. Cost: $50
- Harvest Hands 2019
September 14, 2019
Have you ever wondered what harvest is really like? Ever tasted fresh Pinot Noir juice or smelled the magic of Chardonnay fermenting? Harvest Hands at Melville Winery is your chance to discover what harvest is all about. Join Melville’s Head Winegrower, Chad Melville for foot-stomping, punch downs, pressing and more. After 23 harvests, Chad is excited to share this hands-on, behind-the-scenes harvest experience with those who are eager to learn more about winegrowing and Melville’s minimalistic approach in the cellar. Fuel up first with coffee and pastries at 9 am before the work begins promptly at 9:15 am. The day will end with a tasting of the latest releases. Space is very limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis
Melville Winery, Santa Barbara. Cost: $100
Now that you know where to go to celebrate, I suggest you ignore your navigational system and drive Highway 154 from Santa Barbara to the Santa Ynez Valley wine country. It’ll be a real treat for your taste buds and your eyes. As you depart Santa Barbara and ascend the Santa Ynez mountains, you can watch the ocean and city disappear behind you while being engulfed in the breathtaking mountain pass. On the other side of the pass, you get a great bird’s eye view of Lake Cachuma framed by the massive San Rafael mountains in the background. Pull over at one of the turnouts and indulge in the truly spectacular scenery.
Although September is officially Wine Month here in California, any month is a good time to discover California wines, and particularly those of Santa Barbara County. To learn more about winegrowing in the state, events throughout the year and special activities during California Wine Month, visit www.discovercaliforniawines.com. The campaign is coordinated by the Wine Institute and its more than 1,000 California wineries and affiliated businesses, of which the Santa Barbara Vintners Association is a proud member.
Wouldn’t it be great to have all these wineries, restaurants and other food purveyors within a half-hour of your home or home away from home? Go ahead. Considering buying or selling a home here. Call me at +1 (805) 886-9378 or email me at Cristal@montecito-estate.com. Cheers to California Wine Month and Santa Barbara County wines!