Santa 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.
During 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:
I’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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