Go West … to the Santa Rita Hills AVA
This could be my favorite AVA … except for the others. In the western most part of Santa Barbara Wine Country, a typical day in the Santa Rita Hills AVA (SRH) starts with marine layer clouds and fog, which burn off by 10 a.m. Then two or three hours of mild sunshine until the on-shore winds pick up, cooling things down again. This maritime influence, combined with the sedimentary soils with patches of limestone is the perfect place to grow the appellation's hallmark Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but other “cool” varietals are also grown.
My recommended “Don’t Miss” SRH wineries all have lovely tasting rooms in beautiful settings in the Santa Rita Hills: Babcock Winery https://babcockwinery.com, Melville Vineyards & Winery melvillewinery.com and Dierberg Star Lane Vineyards https://dierbergvineyard.com. And if you don’t visit them in The Funk Zone, then by all means visit Lafond Winery https://www.lafondwinery.com and Sanford Winery & Vineyards www.sanfordwinery.com. Babcock and Melville share the same driveway and are located on Highway 246 about 9 miles west of Buellton and Highway 101. Dierberg is located just off Highway 246 about 6 miles west of Buellton. Lafond and Sanford are also located close to one another on Santa Rosa Road, the other main road in the SRH. Other very good SRH wineries: Alma Rosa (on the way towards La Fond and Sanford) is known for its white wines and Mosby (close to Buellton and on the way to Alma Rosa) specializes exclusively in Italian varietals.
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