Outdoor Wine Tasting Experiences

Local vintners have outdone themselves yet again with an incredible line-up of outdoor wine tasting experiences in Santa Barbara. Be they overlooking rolling hills and vineyards in wine country or prime patio perches just steps from the beach in downtown Santa Barbara, vintners have created fresh, alfresco experiences that are just as enjoyable as ever. 

To help you plan a perfect day—or better yet, several days—of wine tasting along the Urban Wine Trail and in Santa Barbara wine country, use this guide as your checklist to sip and savor.

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Prep & Plan

No matter which wine tasting area you decide to visit, advanced planning is recommended to ensure you have the best experience possible. Reservations are recommended, and in some cases, required. If you are traveling with children or a dog, call ahead to confirm they are permitted and learn about any restrictions. Some family-friendly wineries are requiring children not to leave the table during the tasting, which might not be ideal for young ones with energy to burn. The same goes for dogs on the leash remaining tableside.

As always, drinking and driving is a no-no, so pick a designated driver or hire a tour company that can do the driving (and planning) for you.

Where to Sip & Savor

Now that you know the rules of the road, it’s time to design your ideal itinerary. Use the wine guide below to discover wineries offering exemplary outdoor tasting experiences by location. These include neighborhoods in Santa Barbara as well as the distinctive wine regions over the hill in wine country. 

The Presidio District

El Paseo, Southern California’s very first shopping center dating back to the 1920s, is home to an impressive collection of boutique wineries in downtown Santa Barbara’s Presidio District. The historic, open-air complex lent itself to expanding seating areas in the lovely courtyards between buildings.

Au Bon Climat

Taste the masterpieces of winemaking legend Jim Clendenen at Au Bon Climat. While walk-ins are welcome if space is available. Or, use their easy online booking system to make reservations for tastings every day of the week. Learn More

Photo by @aubonclimat via Instagram

Happy Canyon Vineyard

Sit for a full-service tasting at Happy Canyon Vineyard, whose wines showcase the terroir of Santa Barbara wine country’s hottest growing region. Reservations can be made directly through their website. Learn More

Photo by @downtownsantabarbara via Instagram

Grassini Family Vineyards

Grassini Family Vineyards is pouring their Estate and Red Wine Flights on their patio and courtyard spaces now appointed with attractive wooden tables. While reservations are not needed, they are recommended. Learn More

Photo by Blake Bronstad

Jamie Slone Wines

Jamie Slone Wines has ample outdoor café style seating, too, where you can pair wines with artisanal cheese boxes specially prepared by Slate Catering. Learn More

Photo by @jamieslonewines via Instagram

The Funk Zone

Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail originated in The Funk Zone neighborhood, so it has a large number of tasting rooms in a relatively small footprint of 13 blocks between lower State Street, Cabrillo Boulevard, Garden Street and Montecito Street. 

Municipal Winemakers

Experience the same funk and flair of Municipal Winemakers’ indoor tasting room while sipping wine under their palm tree-shaded patio. Learn More

Photo by @alexahope805 via Instagram

Pali Wine Co.

Nearby, pop into Pali Wine Co. for a sip and seat within their newly expanded outdoor patio offerings. Learn More

Photo by @thefoodleidy via Instagram

Margerum Wine Company and Barden Wines

Margerum Wine Company and Barden Wines brought the elegance of their Hotel Californian tasting room to the red-tiled sidewalk out front and introduced a menu of gourmet level bites and pizzas. They are not taking reservations, so it’s first-come, first-served. Learn More

Photo by @margerumwines on Instagram

J. Wilkes Tasting Room

Also located in the Hotel Californian complex, reservations are recommended at the new J. Wilkes Tasting Room. Cheese and charcuterie boards perfectly complement the wines—as does the people watching on State Street! Learn More

Photo by @j.wilkeswines via Instagram

The Valley Project

The Valley Project is another great place to get the lay of Santa Barbara’s winegrowing land with a patio tasting structured around Santa Barbara County’s six American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). Learn More

Photo by @mywinecru via Instagram

Santa Barbara Wine Collective

Get a taste of Santa Barbara County’s finest wines when visiting the Santa Barbara Wine Collective. Home to a collection of local labels, this multi-vintner tasting room highlights the unique and diverse characteristics of the Santa Barbara terroir. Their expansive patio invites you and your crew to sit down and sip for a while. Learn More

Photo Credit: Instagram via @alibeckphoto + @sbwinecollective

Haley Corridor

The Haley Corridor neighborhood stretches from State Street to Milpas Streets between West Cota and Montecito Streets. It’s easily accessed on foot from downtown State Street and the Funk Zone, too. 

Carr Winery

Within the Haley Corridor, you’ll find Carr Winery Barrel Room whose stellar, spacious patio is open daily for tastings bookable online. Learn More

Jaffurs Wine Cellars

Less than three blocks away, Jaffurs Wine Cellars makes some of the smoothest syrah around, and thanks to their sizable lot, there’s ample outdoor territory for tasting. Learn More

Santa Ynez Valley

The Santa Ynez Valley includes the towns of Los Olivos, Buellton, Santa Ynez, Solvang, Ballard, and Los Alamos. Expect small walkable towns and villages with dozens of wineries dotted around the surrounding countryside. 

Note: Santa Ynez Valley is approximately 30 miles from downtown Santa Barbara and generally takes about 45 minutes to reach by car. 

Folded Hills Estate Tasting Room & Winery at the Homestead

Folded Hills Estate Tasting Room & Winery at the Homestead is the first winery accessed just beyond the Gaviota coast as Highway 101 bends inland. Reservations are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome for tastings set in their refined ranch atmosphere. Learn More

Photo by @foldedhills via Instagram

Gainey Vineyard

Set on 100 acres of rolling hills in Santa Ynez, Gainey Vineyard is limiting tastings to one-hour per traveling party in order to make reservations more accessible. Learn More

Photo by @gaineyvineyard via Instagram

Sunstone Winery

You might just think you’re in Provençe at Sunstone Winery, whose postcard-worthy courtyard and picnic area look straight out of France. Learn More

Photo by @sunstonewinery via Instagram

Zaca Mesa Winery

Over in Los Olivos, Zaca Mesa Winery is a longtime staple of the region’s winemaking legacy dating back to 1973. Daily tastings take place at good old-fashioned picnic tables and appointments are encouraged. Learn More

Photo by zacamesawinery via Instagram

Beckmen Vineyards

Sustainability-minded Beckmen Vineyards boasts one of the best views in the Santa Ynez Valley, and they are welcoming tastings by appointment Friday through Sunday. Learn More

Photo by beckmenvineyards via Instagram 

Casa Dumetz Wines

Mosey on over to Los Alamos to taste Casa Dumetz Wines’ on the spacious garden patio adjacent to Babi’s Beer Emporium—and yes, that means beer and cider are also on the menu! Appointments are required Monday through Wednesday but walk-ins are welcome Thursday through Sunday. Learn More

Photo by @casadumetzwines via Instagram

Santa Maria & Lompoc Valley

Some of Santa Barbara Wine Country’s oldest vineyards and most revered pinot noirs and chardonnays come from grapes grown in the Santa Maria and Lompoc Valleys. 

Note: Santa Maria and LompocValley are approximately 50-55 miles from downtown Santa Barbara and generally take about 60-70 minutes to reach by car. 

Presqu'ile Winery

Take in sweeping views of the Santa Maria Valley at Presqu’ile Winery, who are welcoming guests by appointment Wednesday through Sunday for their Food+Wine Experience. You’ll want to linger on their vast patio and terrace while savoring the “Mezze Picnic” prepared by Chef Julie Simon using the bounty from their garden onsite and ingredients sourced from local purveyors. Learn More

Photo by lawsip.girl_ vis Instagram

Riverbench Vineyard & Winery

Certified sustainable Riverbench Vineyard & Winery is a leading producer of sparkling wines, and you can taste at the source at their original Foxen Canyon property on the Sisquoc River. Choose between a 60-minute wine-only tasting or a 90-minute wine country picnic and tasting, with advance reservations bookable through Tock. Learn More

Photo by @805transportation via Instagram

Babcock Winery & Vineyards

Right along rural Highway 246, Babcock Winery & Vineyards has several picnic tables and umbrellas spread out on the property. Tastings are available daily on a first-come, first-served basis. A menu of snacks, cheese, and charcuterie is available throughout the week. Learn More

Photo by @babcockwinery via Instagram

Sanford Winery

Last but definitely not least, find Sanford Winery on the winding Santa Rosa Road that connects Lompoc to Buellton. They are open to guests 21+ for tastings by appointment daily. You can’t beat their views of the hallowed ground that is the Sanford & Benedict vineyard planted in 1971, which first put Santa Barbara wine on the map. Learn More

Photo by @sanfordwinery via Instagram

Plan This Itinerary

Au Bon Climat

Au Bon Climat was essential in putting Santa Barbara Pinot Noir on the map worldwide. Founder and wine icon Jim Clendenen created an international reputation for stellar Burgundian-styled Pinot Noir and Chardonnay sourcing fruit from local, highly…

Beckmen Vineyards

In this day and age, wines just aren't made the way they used to be. Wine brands compete for your attention with glossy labels, impressive promises, and an array of award stickers that can leave you feeling intimidated and stuck. We don’t…

Carr Winery

Carr Vineyards & Winery is a small, handcrafted winery producing 4500 cases in downtown Santa Barbara. Owner and winemaker Ryan Carr established the winery in 1999. All of the wines made by Carr are sourced from Santa…

J Wilkes Tasting Room

Located at the Hotel Californian, just steps from Santa Barbara’s bustling Funk Zone neighborhood, find the newly-opened J. Wilkes Wine tasting room. Visitors can enjoy a welcoming place to sip the label’s acclaimed wines, with a fresh,…

Jamie Slone Wines Tasting Room

At Jamie Slone Wines our mission is to provide guests an outstanding Santa Barbara wine experience! Recent accolades include: Winner: Favorite Winery & Favorite Tasting Room 2019 Santa Barbara News-Press Readers' Choice Awards. BEST…

Pali Wine Co. Wine Garden

Our Santa Barbara wine tasting room is located within the “Funk Zone” section of downtown Santa Barbara, just two blocks from the beach and two blocks off of State Street. Come by to check out our beautiful collection of Santa Barbara…

Sunstone Winery

Sunstone Vineyards, Winery and Villa is an organic vineyard retreat, located just 35-minutes north of Santa Barbara, in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. Enjoy Sunstone wines in our Provençal French courtyards, stone barrel-aging caves or…

The Valley Project

We love wine, and we believe that Santa Barbara is one of the best places on Earth to grow and make it. This project is our love letter to Santa Barbara's wine country. Born out of a desire to showcase the County's incredibly diverse Viticultural…

Zaca Mesa Winery

Established in 1973, Zaca Mesa is a family-owned and operated winery with a long-standing history in Santa Barbara County. As the first vineyard to plant Syrah in the area in 1978, Zaca Mesa has since helped pioneer the Santa Barbara…

In this Itinerary...