wine tour santa ynez
Photo by: Happy Canyon Vineyards

Everyone knows Sonoma and Napa Valley as wine regions, and Paso Robles wineries have had their run for a while now. However, it’s time to learn about the wineries tucked away in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara, California. Through the rolling hills, you’ll soon discover that this valley produces vintages so good they’ll have you wondering if they location on the label is wrong! There are some real gems here, so keep reading for tasting rooms that are must-visits for your next wine tour.

santa ynez wine tasting tour
Photo by: Gainey Vineyard

1. Gainey Winery

Explore this Spanish-style winery in Santa Ynez. They focus on producing small quantities of high-quality wine ranging from Sauvignon Blanc to Merlots. Gainey Vineyard goes above and beyond for their wine tasting options. Not only do they offer a basic and excellent tasting coupled with gorgeous views and picnic tables, but they also have three in-depth, signature wine tasting experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. All three options are hosted exclusively in the Gainey Wine Cellar and are accompanied by a gourmet charcuterie platter.

Special Wine Tasting Experiences offered:

-The challenge of the Blindfold Tasting. Enjoy five limited selection wines while blindfolded using your sense of smell to determine what you’re tasting.

-The taste and history of several vintages of a particular wine with the Vertical of Library Wines offering.

-The difference between the current release of a limited selection of wines to those directly from a barrel with the Barrels to Bottles tasting.

General Tasting fee: $15 per person
Signature Tasting fee: $50 per person

 

wine tasting in los olivos
Photo by Larner Winery

2. Larner Winery

Continue to cruise through the rolling hills of the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, and sooner or later, you’ll run into Larner Vineyard & Winery. This boutique estate has an exclusive production of only 800 cases per year. This is why Larner Winery’s tasting room in Los Olivos is second on our recommendation list. You won’t find wine as carefully cultivated and crafted as the wine you’ll find here. Their focus is mainly on producing the best Syrah wine; however, they also have a selection of Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier and the Italian white Malvasia Bianca.

Tasting Fee: $15

 

santa ynez wine tour
Photo by Sunstone Vineyards & Winery

3. Sunstone Vineyards & Winery

Enjoy:

-The secluded and relaxed environment of a Private Tasting. You’ll have a dedicated wine host, custom wine selection, personalized menus, and a reserved semi-private area of the estate. (For a minimum of 8 guests.)

-An upgraded seated experience in Linda’s Library for Linda’s Private Tasting. You’re your group will be surrounded by the collection of library wines and includes your own dedicated wine host, a taste of 6 elevated wines, personalized menus, conducted table service-style. (For a minimum of 4 guests and a maximum of 8 guests.)

-The taste of “Oenological History” with the Library Wine Experience. Your tasting takes place in Linda’s Library and is hosted by a knowledgeable associate who will guide you through some incredible vintages of their estate, this includes 6 library wines. (For a minimum of 4 guests and a maximum of 8 guests.)

-The Villa Experience, designed with the ultimate wine tasting experience in mind. Relax inside the Villa or in the Center Courtyard (weather permitting) and for a 90-minute experience with a wine tasting of 7 wines, including library wine selections. A gourmet charcuterie platter with assorted meats and cheeses, olive oil and vinegar tasting station, and bottled water is included. (For a minimum of 6 guests and a maximum of 12 guests.)

 

General Tasting fee: $20 per person

Private Tasting fee: $30 per person | Make a reservation here

Linda’s Private Tasting: $50 per person | Make a reservation here

Library Wine Experience: $75 per person | Make a reservation here

The Villa Experience: $124 per person | Make a reservation here

 

wine tasting tour in santa ynez
Photo by Firestone Vineyard

4. Firestone Vineyard

Founded in 1972, Firestone Tour & Tasting at The Firestone Vineyard Estate Winery offers the most diverse wine tasting experience out of all the wineries in Santa Ynez Valley that we’ve mentioned so far. Go from Reserve Tastings with a flight of 5 estate wines to eating lunch on the lower terrace. Once you’re ready for another round of wine tasting you can go on their walking tour. Explore the vineyards with a tour guide and enjoy tastings along the way as you discover the history behind the wine in your glass.

Walking Tour + Tasting Fee: $25 per person
For reservations and prices for the Reserve Tastings and lunch on the lower terrace, contact the winery at visit@foleyfamilywines.com or (707) 708-7696.

 

We’ve only just skimmed the surface of the wineries in Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara. So, stay tuned for future updates to our blog, where we’ll continue to explore the wineries in the valley. Or maybe, you’re ready to embark on your own Santa Ynez wine tour to experience these winery gems for yourself. Let us help! You can reach our wonderful staff at the form below or by phone at (805) 620-7233.

Request a Santa Ynez Wine Tour