Santa Barbara's wines show a perfectly balanced fineness and maturity. The maritime climate in this region allows the vines to stay cool during the growing season, while sufficient sunlight ensures that the grapes reach maturity. In addition to the overall climate, the unique terrain of the producing area has also created many microclimates.
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Most of the valleys in the world go north-south, while Santa Barbara's valleys go east-west. So what effect does this have on winemaking? These horizontal valleys facilitate cool air from the Pacific Ocean to the inland areas, making Santa Barbara one of the coolest wine regions in California. The areas farther away from the coast are relatively warm, and winemakers can experiment with different grape varieties.
Santa Barbara has 6 sub-producing areas, namely Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Rita Hills, and Ballard Canyon. , Happy Canyon, and Los Olivos. These 6 sub-regions produce a variety of wine styles, from elegant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, to mellow red wines and premium white wines similar to the Rhone Valley style. In addition, winemakers have also experimented with Italian grape varieties such as Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Barbera, Vermentino, and Pinot Gris).
Santa Maria Valley
The Santa Maria Valley is one of the earliest AVA producing areas in Santa Barbara. It is also the northernmost of the 6 sub-production areas, and the grape growing season is the longest. Fog, cool breeze and different altitudes have created this producing area. Regulated by the cool mist and sea breeze, the warm climate here allows the grapes to mature while maintaining the necessary acidity, resulting in a wine with a balanced and balanced export. Here you can enjoy fine wines made from Burgundy grape varieties, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as delicious Northern Rhone Valley style Syrah wines .
Santa ines valley
The Santa Ynez Valley is the largest sub-region of Santa Barbara, with a wide temperature range in the valley. These microclimates mean that winemakers can grow grape varieties suitable for cool and warm climates in Santa Ines, depending on the geographic location of the vineyard. Most of the vineyards in this region are concentrated in and around the Santa Ynez Valley, where there are both small boutique wineries and large-scale wineries. Grape varieties suitable for cool climates are grown closer to the coast, while the Rhone Valley grape varieties are grown inland.
Santa Rita is located on the westernmost side of the Santa Ynez Valley, and is heavily affected by the cooling effect of the Pacific Ocean. It is very suitable for the growth of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The vines are mainly planted on hillsides and can receive plenty of sunlight, laying the foundation for making complex and highly sought-after wines. Some of the best Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines in the United States can be made in the Santa Rita Mountains.
The Ballard Gorge is ideal for growing Rhone Valley grape varieties. Many Syrah are grown here, often blended with Grenache, and sometimes with Viognier, producing Cote Rotie style wines. In addition to red wines, white wines dominated by Marsanne and Roussanne are also increasing. These wines are made according to the Rhône Valley tradition. The wines are mature and rich, with a salty and fresh mineral flavor. The Ballard Canyon is one of the earliest Italian grape varieties, and Sangiovese wines are well worth a try.
Happy Valley is located in the eastern part of the Santa Ynez Valley. It is one of the warmest sub-regions in Santa Barbara, and it is difficult to get a cool breeze from the Pacific Ocean. As a result, the winemakers here prefer to grow Bordeaux grape varieties, and most of the wines produced are condensed and mature. Love rosé wine? Happy Valley is also brewed!
Los Olivos is Santa Barbara's newest wine region. This warm growing area is located in the Santa Ynez Valley, which is more affected by the ocean than the Happy Valley. The soil is mainly alluvial soil of the Santa Ynez River. These barren soils are suitable for the grape varieties of Bordeaux or Rhone Valley. Of course, the cool climate here can also breed good Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Santa Barbara not only has excellent wines, but also very delicious food. It is a place where tourists do not want to leave. If you have a chance, you can also visit this small corner of California! (Text / Christina)