Santa Barbara: The Ultimate Wine Touring Guide

Since I started V is for Vino, people have started visiting the wine regions from the episodes, and asking me for recommendations! So in order for you to get the best experience from your time in wine country, I’ve created this series of posts to point you the direction of my favorite places in each region, from wineries, to restaurants, and more! NOTE: I am not paid by any of the places I recommend; these are my unaltered opinions, and with the exception of the entities I feature on the show itself, all of these locations are unaware I am featuring them!

Santa Barbara Vineyard
Time to get away to beautiful Santa Barbara!

How to Use This Guide:

The google map below has everything mapped out:

  • Click the TOP LEFT ICON to see the list of recommendations by name.
  • Click the TOP RIGHT ICON to be taken to a full screen of the map, where you can save and print it.
  • These are my recommendations for the ENTIRE region; they are not meant to be done in 1 or even 2 days, or any specific order. Keep reading to get the details of the some of places I map out, and general advice for the region.
  • Finally do your own research as to which places you’ll enjoy most, and be aware that some places may require reservations!

Welcome to Santa Barbara County!

I’m so happy you’ve decided to go to quite possibly my favorite California wine region; Santa Barbara! If you haven’t seen our SANTA BARBARA EPISODE, start there. Next, lets get oriented: there are two main parts to Santa Barbara County;

  • Santa Barbara DOWNTOWN; this a vibrant downtown with lots of tasting rooms, hotels, restaurants, bars, and shopping. Everything is close together, and if you didn’t want to drive, you could probably get away without doing so.
  • Santa Barbara WINE GROWING REGION: this is “over the hill”, about 45 minutes from downtown, is where the grapes are grown, and where some estate wineries (that have tasting rooms as well) are located. You will definitely need a car here: things are very spread out. You could also consider hiring a car service!

My advice would be to spend 1 day in the city, and one day in the wine growing area. If you have 3 days, I’d say spend another day in the wine growing area. More than that, you’ll have to decide what appeals to you more: extra time shopping and relaxing in the city, or more time exploring wineries and secluded in the wine area. You won’t go wrong either way, so don’t stress too much about it.

Vince’s Favorite Places Downtown

J. Wilkes

Of course, you have to stop at the featured winery from the show J. Wilkes! Their brand new in 2020 tasting room is located in the Hotel Californian, and with any luck, you’ll run into Wes Hagen himself hanging out pouring wines! Obviously try the Pinot and Chard, but make sure to try the Viognier as well!

j wilkes tasting room