The California Central Coast is a world-class wine destination. Santa Barbara wines rival those from international regions and have garnered top honors and awards. From humble “Mission grapes” to present day award-winning varietals, Santa Barbara’s history of wine is as rich and full-bodied as its Pinot Noir. If you love wine, Santa Barbara is a premier destination for wine tasting and the so-called Urban Wine Trail is an easy way to try several wines that this area is known for while also experiencing the beauty and character of Santa Barbara’s distinct neighborhoods.

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A brief history of wine in Santa Barbara

The “Mission grape” was introduced to greater California in the late 18th century by the Franciscan missionaries. With warm sun rays and coastal mountain ranges, the Franciscan missionaries in the late 18th century considered Santa Barbara and other mission locations ideal for growing wine grapes. However, during the Prohibition era, this grape largely disappeared from California. Fast forward to 1962, when Pierre Lafond founded the first post-prohibition commercial winery in Santa Barbara County. It would be just a couple years later when he started a winery on Anacapa Street, nearly a stone’s throw from the beautiful Pacific Ocean. For years, Lafond’s Santa Barbara Winery was the only tasting room in the city, but these days, Santa Barbara’s wine cup runneth over and it seems a new tasting room springs up regularly.

What is Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail?

The Urban Wine Trail initially referred to about 26 tasting rooms located within blocks from each other.  Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail stretches across two well-known neighborhoods, each distinct in character. However, more tasting rooms are being added in nearby neighborhoods and the website has taken it upon themselves to expand the boundaries of the trail to include five neighborhoods, pushing the area outwards toward Goleta and also Summerland. You can visit for an interactive trail map to help you navigate your own wine crawl.

Santa Barbaras Urban Wine Trail

The Urban Wine Trail is an ideal way for wine lovers staying in Santa Barbara to taste the region’s best wines without having to drive about 45 minutes or more outside the city to visit the wineries. There truly is no better way to experience Santa Barbara than through wine tasting.

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Wineries & tasting rooms in Santa Barbara – Urban Wine Trail

The Santa Barbara region Pinot Noirs and Rhône Blends are worth writing home about, and it’s the distinct temperatures ranges that produce a range in variety. From ocean vistas to hip alley hangouts, there’s a wine nook for every palate.

Urban Wine Trail the Presidio Neighborhood

The Presidio Neighborhood includes a cluster of wineries and tasting rooms. Traditionalists will enjoy Anacapa Street and the surroundings of adobe and Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. Head to the historic buildings of Paseo de la Guerra and savor a bit of architecture and history while you stroll from one tasting room to the next. Enjoy world-class Pinots, Chardonnays, as well as Bordeaux varietals in this part of town.

Wineries and tasting rooms at or nearby the Presidio Neighborhood

For more wine tasting locations in and around Santa Barbara’s Presidio Neighborhood, visit:

Urban Wine Trail the Funk Zone

Before the wineries and tasting rooms moved in, this eclectic corner of town was home to artists who converted old warehouses into art studios and galleries. Walk past outdoor murals and modern art in this funky and hip urban area. There are also numerous restaurants and breweries in this neighborhood, as well.

Wineries and tasting rooms at or nearby the Funk Zone

For more wine tasting rooms in or around the Santa Barbara Funk Zone, visit:

Where to stay in Santa Barbara when planning a wine tour

With more than 26 wineries and tasting rooms along Urban Wine Trail, wine tasting is an ideal way to visit Santa Barbara as you sip and experience the city one block at a time. Design your own wine tour along Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trail or join one of the many tours offered. Check out for a variety of wine tours offered for large and small groups, and even intimately catered private tours.

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