Discover Santa Ynez
This stunning wine region on the southern end of California’s Central Coast is by far one of the more unique and dynamic in the state.
We have all heard of Napa Valley and Sonoma, two of the most renowned wine regions in California and all of the United States. But, have you heard of the Santa Ynez Valley? If not, you should, and our guide is the perfect place to get you started on understanding the Santa Ynez Valley wine country and planning your next grape escape.
The movie, Sideways, may have put the Santa Ynez Valley on the map. But its terroir has its own sideways effect as it’s home to the West Coast’s only east-west transverse mountain range. Which means the winds go from east to west, making them direct conduits for winds that carry the cool air and fog from the Pacific Ocean.
The Santa Ynez Valley is home to the West Coast’s only east-west transverse mountain range. What does this mean?
The two mountain ranges that make up the wine regions in Santa Barbara County run east to west, unlike the rest of the state’s mountains that run north to south. In fact, this is the only stretch of land from Alaska to Cape Horn constituting an east-west traverse.
This unique feature means that the winds go from east to west, making them direct conduits for winds that carry the cool air and fog from the Pacific Ocean.
The winds are so strong they literally make trees twist and turn, creating uniquely shaped trunks that sometimes hug the ground.
the towns of the santa ynez valley
The laid back, farming communities of the Santa Ynez Valley make up the largest of the six federally-sanctioned American Viticultural Areas AVAs within the Santa Barbara County AVA.
The Santa Maria Valley AVA is the second largest within the Santa Barbara County AVA. The other four AVAs are actually sub-AVAs of the Santa Ynez Valley – Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, Los Olivos District and Happy Canyon.
Dierberg Star Lane Vineyards
Brave & Maiden Estate
With more than 100 wineries, wine tasting is one of the top things to do in the Santa Ynez Valley, but you will miss out on a lot if you don’t go beyond the vines. The area is home to so many fun activities! If you’re in the area and looking for things to do in Santa Ynez Valley besides wine tasting, we’ve got some great picks for you.