Santa Ynez Valley was suddenly put squarely on the world wine map with the arrival of the movie Sideways. The large district, situated in Santa Barbara County south of Paso Robles and north of Malibu, were first planted by Spanish missionaries in 1804. It encompasses the Danish, quaint tourist town of Solvang, the village of Los Olivos and of course Santa Barbara, all of which are well worth a visit with their many wine tasting rooms and great lunch and dinner options.

Many of Santa Ynez’ vineyards are located inland in hot, dry and sandy soil. Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot love it there.

Sta. Rita Hills is a relatively new AVA bordering the Pacific Ocean, and it is part of both Santa Barbara and Santa Ynez. In the last decade or so Sta. Rita Hills has become world famous for the phenomenal Pinot Noir og Chardonnay grown in the cool vineyards there.