‘Tis the season for sparkling wine in Santa Barbara
With a nickname like “The American Riviera®” it’s no surprise that Santa Barbara is a place that pairs well with a glass of something sparkling in hand. Dozens of local winemakers produce a delectable range of bubbly using a variety of grapes including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc and even Shiraz. The diversity of grapes and elegant expressions of the Santa Barbara County terroir in sparkling form are certainly worth raising a glass to during the festive season. In downtown Santa Barbara alone, 10 different tasting rooms pour effervescent releases seasonally (while supplies last) and, in some cases, offer sparkling wines for purchase and tasting year round. The Santa Barbara Bubble Trail also includes six specialty wine bars that pour sparklers by the glass from both local and international origins. Cheers!
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THE FUNK ZONE
Riverbench Winery (137 Anacapa Street) is one of the biggest sparkling wine producers in Santa Barbara County and nearly always has bubbles in stock for your tasting pleasure. Styles include Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, Demi Sec and the highly rated Riverbench Cork Jumper Brut Rosé. For an additional fee, you can purchase a bottle dipped in glitter—bonus points for presentation!
Winemaker Seth Kunin crafts a Chenin Blanc in the traditional Methode Champenoise style. Look for it at the Kunin Wines (28 Anacapa Street) tasting room in early 2017.
Drake Wines (32 Anacapa Street B & C) is a cozy, classy spot to sample Drake and Chatter wines from the Arroyo Grande based winery, which crosses county lines to source grapes from Santa Barbara County’s revered Bien Nacido Vineyard.
Santa Barbara Wine Collective (131 Anacapa Street) is a communal tasting room pouring wines by Babock, Ca’ Del Grevino, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, Notary Public and The Paring. Bubbles on the tasting list include Fess Parker’s Fesstivity Blanc de Blanc and Brut Rose.
Fox Wine Co. (120 Santa Barbara Street), in the heart of the new industrial cooperative Waterline space, pours wines by sisters Sarah and Blair Fox from their Fox Wine Co. label as well as Blair Fox wines. If hunger strikes, mosey on over to The Nook for a bite.
Membership has its benefits at Municipal Winemakers (22 Anacapa Street), whose aptly named Fizz—a sparkling Shiraz—is so popular it always sells out so wine club members get first dibs before it goes on sale to the general public New Year’s Eve.
Les Marchands Wine Bar (131-B Anacapa Street) carries European and local wines that are perfectly paired with their food menu, including a new weekend brunch service and breads by Helena Avenue Bakery. Here you can try sparkling wines from France (ahem, Champagne!) and Spain.
Corks & Crowns (32 Anacapa Street) is a sweet spot on Sundays. Their $15 sparkling wine and cupcake pairing special features three mini cupcakes paired with three complementary sparkling wines.
SOUTH OF COTA
Set in a 1940’s Quonset Hut in the SoCo district, Carr Winery (414 N Salsipuedes Street) is a place you’ll want to settle in to stay for a while at the barrel top bar. Do a leisurely tasting or purchase wines by the glass.
The higher end offshoot of Municipal Winemakers, Potek Winery (406 E Haley Street, #1) is a sleek tasting room in SoCo’s The Mill cooperative space, where you can sometimes catch a glimpse of the Blanc de Blanc and Blanc de Noir on the riddling racks.
DOWNTOWN STATE STREET & SURROUNDS
Sanford Winery & Vineyard (1114 State Street #26) in La Arcada Court recently introduced the Buellton-based winery’s first-ever sparkling wine, an estate grown Brut Cuvée. The Santa Barbara tasting room offers premium tasting flights and a chocolate pairing option.
A relaxed and welcoming wine bar with a dog-friendly policy, Armada Wine & Beer Merchant (1129-A State Street) pours a rotating selection of wines by the glass from around the world. A few sparkling options are always available by the glass or bottle.
As its name indicates, The Champagne Room (7 W Haley Street) caters to all things bubbly, from Cava and Prosecco to Champagne and Californian sparkling wines available by the glass and bottle.
Laid-back Villa Wine Bar & Kitchen (618 Anacapa Street) serves a selection of bubbles by the glass curated by the team behind local favorite wine shop, Vino Divino.
Wine+Beer (38 W Victoria Street) is a lively bar and wine shop in the heart of the Santa Barbara Public Market. Order by the glass or purchase bottles to go. Did someone say picnic?!