Northern Santa Barbara County: The Heart of Santa Barbara Wine Country

The heart of Santa Barbara County Wine Country is really “vineyard country”, which lies almost entirely in Northern Santa Barbara County, and hosts all six of the region’s federally designated American Viticulture Areas (AVAs). The following AVAs, all in northern Santa Barbara County, house nearly all of the county’s vineyards, driving wine-tasting and enhancing tourism across the region: Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, Los Olivos District and Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara County Wine Country is one of the most diverse wine grap growing regions on the planet. Its 25,000+ planted acres produce nearly three million cases of world-class and award-winning chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blan, syrah and 50 other varietals. Wine grapes are the County’s second largest agricultural crop. The county’s nearly 200 wineries, stunning vineyards, and trendy tasting rooms make Santa Barbara County’s northern “vineyard country” a must-see wine destination.
The economic impact of Santa Barbara Wine Country is impressive, with the sector supporting around 9,000 jobs, providing $101.7 million in Federal taxes, $93.6 million in State and local taxes, and $2.4 million in Santa Barbara County non-profit contributions. Total economic impact (Economic Impact of Santa Barbara County’s Wine & Grapes, 2013) is $1.7 billion in Santa Barbara County, with an estimated $2 billion potential, assumeing expanded wine making capacity.
Santa Barbara Wine Country’s family vineyards feature a host of year-round activities of interest to visitors and residents alike – vineyard tours, library and barrel tastings, winemaker dinners, and cause-focused events. Local tasting rooms also maintain full calendars of wine-lover activities.
Contact Santa Barbara Vintners for more information regarding wines, wineries, events, etc.:

The wine industry is inextricably linked to tourism in the region, but wine is not the only attraction in the County areas north of Santa Barbara. In addition to the Chumash resort featuring gaming, spa services and fine dining, the area boasts two California missions (Mission Santa Inez and La Purisima in Lompoc), Santa Maria BBQ, golf, surfing, professional theater (Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts – PCPA in Santa Maria, Festival Theater in Solvang), nature walks, cycling events, trendy “Little L.A.” (Los Alamos), the wine-tasting hotspot of Los Olivos, the charming western town of Santa Ynez, the Guadalupe Dunes (site of Cecil B. DeMilles’ Ten Commandments film, and much more…for information, visit one of the contacts listed below:

Santa Maria Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau
Contact [email protected]

Explore Lompoc ([email protected])

Visit Santa Ynez Valley
Contact [email protected]

Northern Santa Barbara County Chambers and Visitor promotion contacts:

Buellton Chamber

Lompoc Chamber

Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce

Santa Ynez Chamber

Solvang Chamber

Past Events

Why Wine Matters

A forum bringing together elected officials, community leaders, business owners, vintners, and residents to explore the economic and lifestyle benefits of having a wine region.

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: Robert McMillan, EVP & Founder, Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division
Click here to view presentation

PRESENTATION: Alison Laslett, CEO, Santa Barbara Vintners

PANEL: The Legacy Investment of Wine Country Vintners
David and Michelle Lafond, Lafond Winery & Vineyards
Katie Grassini, Grassini Family Vineyards
Marshall Miller, Thornhill Companies

AT-YOUR-TABLE WINE TASTING: Three Wine Country favorites: chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet!


Approximately 150 wine industry and economic stakeholders attended the June 27th EconAlliance/Santa Barbara Vintners “Why Wine Matters” Wine Forum held at the SYV Marriott. Program included an economic analysis of the region in comparison to other regions (Rob McMillan, EVP/Founder, Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division) as well as remarks by Santa Barbara Vintners CEO Alison Laslett on why a Wine Business Improvement District (Wine BID) would help make the region more competitive. A panel on the “Legacy Investment of Wine Country Vintners” was moderated by Bion Rice, CEO and Winemaking Director, Sunstone Vineyards and Winery, with panelists being: Katie Grassini, CEO, Grassini Family Wines; David Lafond, General Manager, Lafond Winery & Vineyards; Michelle Lafond, Marketing Director, Santa Barbara Winery/Lafond Winery & Vineyards; and Marshall Miller, Vice President Operations, Thornhill Companies. Audience tasting of wine from each of the three vineyards was included in the program, with attendees tasting the J. Wilkes 2017 Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay, the 2016 Lafond Winery & Vineyards SRH Pinot Noir, and the 2015 Grassini Family Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

Click here to view the 2017 Wine/Tourism Fact Sheet

Click here to view: 2017 Wine Forum Recap

Click to View Wine Event Details


(EconAlliance Wine/Tourism Initiative)

Click here to view: 2017 Wine Forum Program

Click here to view Power Point: Steve Pepe’s Welcome Opening Remarks

Click here to view Power Point: Rob McMillan Keynote Speaker – EVP & Founder of Silicon Valley Bank

EconAlliance, in cooperation with the Santa Barbara Vintners Association, is organizing its inaugural wine/tourism event for Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 1:30 – 5:30 p.m., Santa Ynez Valley Marriott.

Designed to educate the public and policymakers about the economic value and attractiveness of the wine industry and its relationship to regional tourism, the event will feature a keynote presentation on the “Facts of Life About Direct to Consumer Sales” by Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division VP/Founder Robert McMillan.

Also on the program will be three panels:
A panel follow-up to the keynote presentation:
“Direct to Consumer Sales – Key to Financial Sustainability?”
Moderator: Robert McMillan

A panel discussion about the relationship between the wine and tourism sectors:
“Wine and Tourism – A Perfect Pairing?”
Moderator: Morgen McLaughlin, Executive Director
Santa Barbara Vintners Association

A panel dialogue regarding the opportunities and potentially damaging policies around wine and tourism:
“Wine, Visitors, Venues and Regulations”
Moderator: Mike Brown, former Santa Barbara County CEO

Click here for Save the Date card