‘Tis the season for sparkling wine in Santa Barbara
With a nickname like “The American Riviera®” it’s no surprise 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, 15 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, Pinot Meunier 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!
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 Noirs, Brut Rosé and Brut Cuveé.
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. Friday through Sunday, grab a glass of the 2016 Foxy Bubbles and 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 Mubbly—a sparkling white—is a very popular mini 500ml bottle of bubbly that’s perfect for pack-and-go picnics. Taste the wine for yourself and see why everyone loves this varietal.
Corks & Crowns (32 Anacapa Street) is a sweet spot on Sundays. Their $17 sparkling wine and cupcake pairing special features three mini cupcakes paired with three complementary sparkling wines.
DV8 Cellars (28 Anacapa Street, #C) offers two different bubbles to choose from, a sparkling Rosé and sparkling Grenache Blanc that are continually on tap and available for enjoyment.
Santa Barbara Winery (202 Anacapa Street) now offers its first-ever special release 2017 Sparkling Rosé. Made with Burning Creek Ranch grapes, the wine is well balanced with notes of citrus and strawberry. Elegant bubbles balance the juicy elements, keeping it dry and not overly sweet. Stop in for a chilled glass to cheers to a successful day in Santa Barbara.
Kunin Wines (28 Anacapa Street), a modern and stylish tasting room in The Funk Zone boasts a bubbly wine as bold as its name: Jurassic Park Sparkling Chenin Blanc. Available for tasting and purchase, you won’t want to miss this roaring good sparkling wine. Stop by their sister winery The Valley Project for more non-bubbly varietals to savor.
Melville Winery (120 State Street #C) has released two Estate sparkling wines to delight in the 2017 Blanc de Blancs and the Blanc de Noir. Pop by to taste the bubbles for yourself, and afterward, grab a sweet treat from McConnell’s Ice Cream next door.
SOUTH OF COTA
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 showcases the Buellton-based winery’s first-ever sparkling wines, the estate-grown Brut Cuvée and Blanc de Noirs. The Santa Barbara tasting room offers premium tasting flights and a chocolate pairing option.
Located in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, Cebada Wines (813 Anacapa Street #6) serves up their 2015 Blanc et Noirs, blended with 75% Pinot Noir and 25% of Chardonnay. Stop in for a refreshing glass of bubbles that shimmer with hints of citrus, tropical fruit and dry pear.
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 such as Brut Champagne, Brut Rosé and Prosecco are always available by the glass or 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?!