Wine Tasting in Santa Barbara: An Eclectic Mix of Wineries

What happens when you realize you’ll have a few hours free in beautiful Santa Barbara? Wine tasting of course! Our wine adventures usually start with some research. Time spent looking at a map to see where we will be and a search on “wineries” in the area. From there a quick look at the winery website to see what they have to offer and then on to their social media accounts to get a feel for their vibe. We always head to a wine region, with a list of potential places to visit, prioritized by what intrigues us most. On our weekend in Santa Barbara, we did just that, we set out with a list of 5 wineries to visit, knowing we would only get to 2 or 3 in the few hours we had.

First stop of the day – Oreana Winery located in the heart of the Funk Zone. The area is known for its boutique tasting rooms, shops, galleries, and restaurants. Oreana fit right in, based in a historic building that formerly housed a tire shop, it has a workshop feel with roll-up garage doors and exposed brick walls. They have bands and musicians doing live music most weekends. The wines were nice, starting with a crisp, citrusy Chardonnay (true to the Santa Barbara region where it is from) to a tropical fruity Verdelho. We moved to the reds and started with a beautiful Paso Cabernet Sauvignon, then found our favorite, the Oreana Zinfandel and last but not least a great Syrah.

I love the labels on their wines from the pretty swirled motif to the cool vintage Cali license plate to a smiley face. The wines and labels definitely matched the vibe of the winery and the area!

Next, we made a stop at Carr Winery nearby. They are located in a 1940’s Quonset Hut that reminded me of being inside a barrel. They had barrels stacked to the ceiling, a nice tasting bar and great outdoor patio. The service was fantastic and we made our way through 2 of their tastings (sharing all 9 wines of course). They are a small production winery with grapes sourced from the SB region – we tasted 2 whites (a Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris), 2 Cabernet Franc’s, a great Syrah, a blend (with Grenache & Syrah) and the rest were Pinot Noir. Pinot is a predominate varietal in the region.

We enjoyed everything we tried, the laid-back vibe and look forward to visiting their location in Santa Ynez as well.

After a great lunch at The Brewhouse we were off to our last stop of the day, Jamie Slone Wines. They are located in downtown Santa Barbara near dozens of shops and restaurants. We really LOVED our visit there. The tasting room is beautiful with all of the charm and character of the historic, Spanish style building it sits in. We were warmly greeted by Kym, one of the owners, and she took great care of us. She was extremely knowledgeable about the wines and winemaking process! The wines, all limited production, come from the Santa Barbara region using grapes they personally source to meet their high-quality standard.

Our tasting included a Pinot Noir, a Cab, and 4 blends. It was hard to pick a favorite but we loved the Super Tuscan (a Cab/Sangiovese blend) and the BoRific (a merlot based, Bordeaux style blend).

Whether you are passing through Santa Barbara or have several days to spend there, we recommend checking out one or more of these great wineries! Tag us and share if you do!

Rich’s Picks:

  • Oreana ~ 2012 Vineyard Zin
  • Carr ~ 2014 Cabernet Franc Reserve
  • Jamie Slone ~ 2014 P1 Red Blend