The Unique Towns of The Santa Ynez Valley AVA Region

The city of Santa Barbara is a tourist town, one of the most beautiful – and expensive – in California. It has mainly tasting rooms in an area called the Funk Zone, with only one or two wineries in the city limits. Pali Wines’ tasting room is a stop for us on our trip to the wine country on my April tour.

Funk Zone Santa Barbara
photo: prizmedia

Santa Ynez is the largest appellation in Santa Barbara’s wine country. It is known for its warm climate wines since it is further east of the cooler coastal weather. The grapes grown in this AVA are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc with Rhone varietals such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussanne, and Viognier also thrive in this AVA.

Past travelers’ favorite wineries in this AVA are Sunstone, Rideau, Carhartt (if you can find their iconic Syrah), Roblar, Andrew Murray, Zaca Mesa, and Dierberg.


The Town of Solvang began as a Dutch community. The Dutch architecture is unique and quite simply amazing. They have windmills, thatch roofs, horse-driven tours, and absolutely amazing Dutch bakeries that you must avoid if you are trying to lose weight.


Los Olivos

The town of Los Olivos is a tasting room bonanza with 25+ tasting rooms in this 4-6 square block town. You could spend a week here just tasting wines! It’s in the heart of the wine country so there has been a migration of tasting rooms from the “Wine Ghetto” in Lompoc to Los Olivos simply because of the location. My favorite tasting rooms are Story of Soil, Taste of Sta. Rita Hills, and Liquid Farms.



Orson Hall from Wine PartiesOrson Hall is the Founder and Owner of Wine Parties by Design in Atlanta. He runs a wine travel company that is sort of the domestic equivalent of Wine Lovers Travel.  He organizes vacations to the best wine regions in the USA and has a particular affinity for the Santa Barbara County AVA’s.

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