SF Wine School Gives Bloggers a Deep Dive Into Santa Barbara

Deep Dive Into Santa BarbaraSanta Barbara County is one of California’s best and most diverse wine-growing regions. Among its five AVAs are climates ranging from cool “Region I” to St. Helena-like “Region III,” soils from deep sand to chalk to alluvial loam. There are crisp sparkling wines and Riesling, world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, expressive Syrah and powerful Cabernet Sauvignon.

The San Francisco Wine School went on the road recently to conduct a comprehensive tasting-seminar for wine bloggers visiting Santa Barbara County for the annual North American Wine Bloggers’ Conference. The SFWS event took place at Star Lane Winery in the Happy Canyon AVA on July 10, just prior to WBC.

Deep Dive Into Santa Barbara 2During the four-hour presentation and tasting, David Glancy and I covered the history, climate, topography, soils and wine styles of each Santa Barbara County AVA in-depth, plus those of the pending Los Olivos District AVA and  the important Los Alamos growing area. Fifteen of the county’s best winemakers/proprietors guest starred, speaking about the AVAs, wines and topics such as defining AVAs and the Pacific Ocean’s unique impact on Santa Barbara County’s climate.

Interwoven with the discussion was the tasting of 23 wines I chose for their high-quality and the stories they tell about their respective AVAs. I’m very appreciative to the following for their participation and for providing their wines:

Laura Booras, Riverbench
Dave Potter, Municipal Wine Co.
Blair Fox, Fess Parker
Brandon Sparks-Gillis, Dragonette
Tyler Thomas, Dierberg/Star Lane
Dieter Cronje, Presqu’ile
Fred Brander, Brander Vineyards
Matt Dees, Jonata
Trey Fletcher, Bien Nacido/Solomon Hills
Gavin Chanin, Chanin
Chad Melville, Melville and Samsara
Wes Hagen, Clos Pepe
Dick Doré, Foxen
Larry Schaffer, Tercero Wines
Bob Lindquist, Qupé
Pete Stolpman, Stolpman Vineyards


Deep Dive Into Santa Barbara 3I’m especially grateful to Sao Anash and Lacey Fussel of Muse Marketing along with Tyler Thomas and Amanda Milholland of Dierberg/Star Lane for their tremendous assistance and generosity, the Dierberg family for their warm hospitality at Star Lane, Morgen McLaughlin of Santa Barbara County Wine for her advice and support, Grapeline Wine Tours for their excellent work in getting the bloggers to and from the winery, and photographer Bob Dickey for capturing the event.

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San Francisco Wine School strives to open up the world of wine to serious students and enthusiasts everywhere while helping people of all levels break into the wine industry, advance their career, or simply pursue their passions. Founded by Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator David Glancy, San Francisco Wine School is the largest wine school in the U.S., offering the most thoughtful approach to wine study. Their inspired educational programs and workshops are taught in their state of the art wine education & events center and their cutting edge virtual classroom by industry-leading instructors from all major educational disciplines. San Francisco Wine School’s curriculum features the best content in the business: expert course materials, carefully conceived wine flights, and in-depth blind tasting exercises designed to engage students, illuminate course content and enhance learning. Their brand new sunlight-filled wine education & events center is conveniently located just 5 minutes from San Francisco International Airport and boasts 16-ft high coved ceilings, eight 12-ft tall arched windows, and gorgeous 180 degree views of the San Bruno Mountains, South San Francisco City Hall and the San Francisco Bay, making it the perfect place to enjoy classes, industry seminars and tastings and host a wide variety of private events—from serious educational programs for wine/hospitality industry staff to team-building and other fun, social, private events for wine enthusiasts.

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