Santa Maria is somewhat of an insider’s secret when it comes to fine wine. Many people tend to think of Sonoma and Napa as the main regions for wine, but Santa Maria Valley is a beautiful wine-growing region that serves as the gateway to the Santa Barbara wine country. This temperate coastal climate may have the highest overall quality of grapes and wines, and there are an abundance of tasting rooms located amid rolling hills and picturesque vineyards. Check out the eight best wineries in Santa Maria that will make for a uniquely memorable wine tasting experience.
Taste The Wine At Our 8 Favorite Santa Maria Wineries
Specializing in Estate Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, Costa de Oro Winery produces some of the finest wines from the Central Coast by combining the artistry of Old-World winemaking styles with New-World grape growing practices. Known as “the most unique tasting room on the Central Coast”, Costa de Oro provides beautiful mountain and valley views, and on Friday nights they offer “Wine Downs” from 5 to 8pm with live music, wine, and $12 plates of food. Open since 2006, the winery also offers their famous Gold Coast strawberries (when in season), along with locally grown produce on their farmer’s market patio.
Address: 1331 S. Nicholson Avenue, Santa Maria
This hilltop winery offers stunning ocean and vineyard views, and some of the highlights of this beautifully designed location include an outdoor amphitheater, a terrace, outdoor lounge, cozy fireplace, and bocce ball court. Their world-class wine selection includes a tasty variety of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Rosé, and sparkling wines. The winery also hosts numerous fun events throughout the year, including an outdoor concert series, pop-up guest chef events, cooking classes, and complimentary live music in the tasting room every Friday from 4 to 6pm.
Address: 5391 Presquile Drive, Santa Maria
For 30 years, this family-owned winery consists of a team of farmers who create some of the best wines from grapes that are bursting with vibrant acidity and ripe fruit flavors. The also offer an artisan program, which consists of collaborations with renowned winemakers from the region to create their own interpretations of Pinot Noir while illustrating the influences and contributions of terroir and winemaking. Their tasting room is open daily from 10am to 5pm.
Address: 5475 Chardonnay Lane, Santa Maria
Completed in 2009, the winery boasts a new solar-powered tasting room and winery that showcases their Burgundian and Rhone-style wines in a simple, rustic ranch style. The new buildings are surrounded by native plants landscaping maintained by a minimal amount of irrigation to protect their water resources, and are situated next to their newest estate dry-farmed vineyard block. Tasting room hours are 11am to 4pm daily, and reservations are required for groups of 8 or more.
Address: 7600 Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Maria
Owner Ken Volk has spent more than a quarter century making wines, and was originally the founder of Wild Horse Winery. His specialties are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which are also the primary focuses at the winery. The tasting room is open Thursday through Monday from 10:30am to 4:30pm, and by appointment only on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Address: 5230 Tepusquet Road, Santa Maria
Established in 1973, Riverbench Vineyard has built a reputation for its outstanding Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and sparkling wines. The property is situated on the southeastern edge of the Santa Maria Valley, and consists of 107 acres of Pinot Noir and 77 acres of Chardonnay. In 2015, they added Pinot Meunier to their vineyard. Their Santa Maria tasting room is in a restored 1920’s craftsman style house and includes a garden, bocce ball court and horseshoe pit, and they also have a second tasting lounge in the heart of Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone.
Address: 6020 Foxen Canyon Road, Santa Maria
Photo: Wine Along The 101
7. Byron Winery
Byron Winery has been crafting specialty Pinot Noir since 1984, and is managed by winery founded Ken Byron Brown and winemaker Jonathan Nagy. They source grapes by the row and block from Byron’s storied estate vineyard, and are committed to expressing their shared commitment to developing Pinot Noir that is special to the region.
Address: 5250 Tepusquet Road, Santa Maria
The winery is located on a 400-acre Foxen Canyon Road estate, and was loosely designed after an Australian sheep station complete with a stone fireplace, stone floors, and wraparound veranda with picnic tables. The property is set amid beautifully landscaped grounds that include an amphitheater-style lawn where summer performances by Shakespeare Santa Barbara are often hosted. The tasting room is decorated with old memorabilia related to the late owner Fess Parker, who played Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett on television. A classic tasting costs $14 per person and is offered daily from 10am to 4:45pm.
Address: 6200 Foxen Canyon Road, Los Olivos
This article was written by Kamala Kirk.
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