Santa Barbara Wine Country - Great Wine on the California Coast

By: Glenn Mercier

<p>Most people forget that southern California has a wine country of its own. You hear about Napa and Sonoma all the time, so it's easy to let the fact that Santa Barbara and Temecula have dozens of wineries there. The Temecula wine country is located east of Los Angeles and San Diego, while the Santa Barbara wine country is located north of both. There are good wineries along the coast. There are also wine tours abound, taking thirsty and interested patrons along the winding paths along the coast to visit wineries and sip their finest products.</p>

<p>The Sanford Winery in Lompoc is not only a great place for Santa Barbara wine, but also for a visual representation of the winery itself. The winery is hand-built with adobe made by Sanford employees, and the 30-inch thick walls keep the wine cellar temperature between 55 and 65 degrees, so neither heating nor air conditioning is necessary. There is a nominal fee for a six-selection wine tasting, but membership in the winery's wine club has the additional benefit of arranging a complimentary six-selection wine tasting. You're probably asking what the difference is, other than the price. Well, the wine club member can have 3 accompanying guests, and the member gets to pick the wines. For the regular tasting, the winery pre-selects the wines.</p>

<p>Huber Cellars is also in Lompoc, and is one of the oldest Santa Barbara wine vineyards in the Santa Rita hills. The wines are hand-crafted in very small lots. The un-oaked 2007 Estate Chardonnay ($20 per bottle) has traces of honeydew melon and apricot. Only 180 cases were produced, so get them while they last. Fess Parker Winery in Los Olivos is a multi-faceted attraction, functioning as a winery, inn, spa, restaurant, and as a general store. The Petros Los Olivos, located within the winery, is a Greek restaurant featuring classic Greek recipes. The tasting room fee is $10 per person, with an average of 6 wines poured per tasting.</p>

<p>The Shoestring Winery in Solvang, about 20 minutes north of Santa Barbara, has olive trees that are perfect for a picnic; in fact, the owners encourage visitors to do just that. The 2008 Pinot Grigio ($22 a bottle) won the silver medal at the 2010 San Diego International Wine Competition. This winery has proven to be popular, as most of its wines have already sold out; only a handful of varieties are still available. So, if you're looking for some great wine without having to follow the herds of visitors heading to Napa or Sonoma, then it's time for some fine Santa Barbara wine.</p>

About the Author:

 

I am a 60 year old married man in Georgia who really enjoys life. My wife and I have been married 39 years and plan to add a few more to that! We both love wine and love to travel. We have two awesome sons, two daughters-in-law that we love and four grand-kids. I truly enjoy United States Wines better than the imported wines, though there are some very good imported wines. It's our goal to visit as many American wineries as we can. We have been fortunate enough to visit wineries in several states over the years.

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