48 Hours in Santa Barbara – A Guide to Santa Barbara Wineries
There are very few places in this world that have the beauty and charm of Santa Barbara. When I ride my beach cruiser along the beach, drink wine on a pier over the ocean, run into a celebrity in the grocery store or take in the pristine views from atop a mountain peak, it’s hard not to feel a bit spoiled living in this town. And there’s the Santa Barbara wineries themselves…
There’s no denying that Santa Barbara has a lot going for it, from the laid back vibes to the Hollywood glamour, but the thing that really makes it stand out is the top notch wine, beer and food! If you reserved a hotel in Santa Barbara and are short on time, you can actually experience a ton of great food and drink if you know where to maximize your time. So that being said, here’s are my guide to Santa Barbara wineries with plenty of recs for food, too!
Downloadable a free PDF of this guide to help navigate your way through the best of Santa Barbara Wineries!
Day 1 – The Funk Zone
The Funk Zone is an eclectic “zone” for wine and art all within a few blocks near the beach. There are almost 20 tasting rooms in this hip area, so you can only imagine how great the people watching can be here. 🙂 It’s also an awesome glimpse into Santa Barbara wineries.
Be sure to check out The Valley Project to learn the lay of the land. There’s a full wall-to-ceiling chalk art mural that you don’t want to miss (plus it’s educational!). Pali Winery, right next door, is a great choice for Pinot Noir lovers. If you like variety, head around the corner to SB Wine Collective, where you can taste excellent wines from several different producers all under one roof.
Need to refresh the palate with a cold beer? At Figueroa Mountain Brewery, you’ll find a large patio, lively atmosphere and live music. Or, head to Corks & Crowns where you can have a flight of beer or wine. On Sundays, they offer a special sparkling wine and cupcake flight, which is definitely fun.
If all that sipping leaves you hungry, pop over to Mony’s Tacos for some of the best tacos in all of SB. It’s a super popular place for lunch, so expect to wait for a table or take your tacos to go. If you’re looking for a fun dinner scene, make a reservation at the always-crowded restaurant, The Lark, for their inventive appetizers and family style dishes. Or, head towards the beach for happy hour, fish tacos and a view of the ocean at SB Fishouse.
If the timing works out, try to catch the sunset out on Stearn’s Wharf, where you can share a bottle of wine over the water at Deep Sea Winery. Photo opp, anyone?
Day 2 – Wine Collection of El Paseo
Right smack in the middle of downtown SB is a tasting room destination for those who love history and wine. Here, you can meander through the complex of historic buildings, courtyards and side streets while stopping to sample wine.
Visit Grassini Vineyards for their Cabernets and red blends, and Au Bon Climat for prized Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Around the corner, sample Grenache Blanc and a Super Tuscan from Jamie Slone Wines. Owners Jamie and Kym Slone will most likely be the ones pouring. There are even 3 more tasting rooms in the Wine Collection, each offering a great selection of wines, if you feel compelled to visit them all!
The food options around here are endless, but there are a few standouts to note. For lunch, head down to C’est Cheese for a delectable grilled cheese with tomato soup, or grab a monster-sized sandwich from Three Pickles. Next door, I’m a big fan of Julienne for a nice dinner (don’t miss their house-made charcuterie!), and Zaytoon has the most beautiful outdoor patio. Here, enjoy delicious Lebanese food, fire pits, and live music under the stars. If you’re looking to pop in for a bite without a reservation, sit at the bar at Intermezzo for appetizers and wine on tap. The crispy cauliflower is a must!
From tasting rooms to local farm-to-table restaurants, there is a never-ending list of places to visit in Santa Barbara for the hungry oenophile. But, if you’re short on time, you can’t go wrong with the above!
What else would you add to this guide to Santa Barbara wineries?
Hana-Lee Sedgwick is the author and photographer of the blog, Wander & Wine, where she shares her wine, food and travel adventures. Born and raised in Santa Barbara, she fell in love with the world of wine while living in San Francisco after college and soon became certified as a Sommelier. Hana-Lee loves to help people learn about and appreciate wine, and her writing has been featured regionally and nationally in publications and websites.