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Welcome to Santa Barbara Wine!

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:00 pm
by Phil_Carpenter
Hello, and welcome to “Santa Barbara Wine Talk,” a message board dedicated solely to the wines of the Santa Barbara area.

Santa Barbara has so much to offer the wine world. The area is relatively young compared to its Northern California counterparts, but its fame is skyrocketing. Pioneer Richard Sanford planted the first Pinot vines in the diatomaceous earth of the Santa Rita Hills in the 70’s. Around that same time, Jim Clendenen, Bob Lindquist, and Adam Tolmach worked together at Zaca Mesa on the Foxen Trail and established the fabulous Rhone varietals in the area. Fast forward to today, where Manfred Krankl’s wines garner a hundred points and a bunch of young guns are making world-class wine.

The Santa Barbara growing region is incredibly diverse. From cool climate sites like Watch Hill, Thompson vineyard, and the aforementioned Santa Rita Hills, to the warmer Santa Ynez Valley and new American Viticulture Area (AVA) Happy Canyon. There is also the only north-south valley in California, the Ballard Canyon (and possible new AVA), Santa Maria, and perhaps the most famous vineyard, Bien Nacido. The towns of Los Olivos, Solvang, and the Lompoc Wine Ghetto have seemed to double the number of tasting rooms in the past few years! Happily for those with full tasting schedules, most sites are within twenty minutes of each other (at least when I’m driving!).

Since 2005, a certain reviewer has given over 200 Santa Barbara area wines at least 90+ points (with many more that should have been in that range!). New vines continue to be planted. New vineyards are continually added to official maps. And new AVA’s are possibly around the corner. The hits just keep on coming.

Details of the Site
Currently we have six forums: “Wine Chat”, “Offline Planner”, “Events”, “Restaurants & Food”, “Places to Stay”, and “Where to get Santa Barbara Wine”.

Wine Chat
This is a potpourri of topics. Tasting notes, news, reviews of wine events, and anything that applies to Santa Barbara wine, the area, or the people.

Offline Planner
If you want to meet some fellow SBWT’s, organize an offline! Is there anything better than meeting at a great restaurant and sharing wine? Linking up after a big event like Family Winemakers or Rhone Rangers? Organize the details here!

Want to tell everyone about an event? Put it here! Tasting events, winemaker dinners, Santa Barbara-focused tasting at wine shops or restaurants…all would be appropriate here.

Restaurants & Food
Got some advice on places to eat while in Santa Barbara? Here you go! Let us know about your experience at that special restaurant in Lompoc or Los Olivos. I know I’m always on the lookout for a new place to visit when I’m up in the area.

Places to Stay
Have some suggestions on where to stay? Feel free to put them up here. Hotels in Solvang? Houses for rent in Los Olivos? A good deal in Lompoc?

Where to get Santa Barbara Wine
Find a gem of a bottle at a local wine shop? Let us know about it! Out to dinner and see a killer bottle on a wine list…put it up!

Forums may be added/deleted anytime. We’ll be adapting and adjusting as the board grows.

About Us

Phil Carpenter

I’ve had a passion for wine since 2004. In the grand scheme of things, that is a mere blip in the wine game. It wasn’t until my wife and her parents took me to Napa/Sonoma that I realized, “I love this stuff!” Ever since then, I’ve been on a quest to learn as much as I can about wine. I don’t think my wife’s family knew they were going to create such a monster…

After a few trips to Sonoma/Napa, my wife and I decided to give Santa Barbara a try. Not expecting much (I mean, a few trips to Napa can convince you they are the center of the wine world), we woke up early to beat the LA traffic and headed up the coast. We had the great pleasure to meet with Greg Brewer at Brewer-Clifton. His chards and pinots left us speechless. Next appointment was with Larry Schaffer. Anyone who spends five minutes with Larry will be ready to run through a wall, jacked to try some Rhones. I’d never had a Grenache before…or a Syrah from a cool climate site and in neutral oak…again my mind was blown. A tour around Clos Pepe with Wes Hagen was an absolutely amazing experience and taught me the uniqueness of the Santa Rita Hills. Jaffurs was the last stop before we headed back to San Diego. I instantly fell in love with their wines. I couldn’t believe how amazing they were. I’ve been hooked ever since.

As good as the wine is in this region, the people and the hospitality are even better. I’ve never had so much access to winemakers, facilities, and wines, and all are shared with great enthusiasm and passion. It’s because of this that I felt a need to share this special place with as many people as I could.


Jim Salvito
I have been a Santa Barbara resident for over 22 years. I have observed the SB wine industry "grow up" over that time from just a handful of wine pioneers, to present day where there are over 115 wineries and 21,000 acres planted to vine in four AVAs (with two additional AVAs pending). I've seen the attention the movie Sideways brought to the area's wine industry and the fallout associated with that. Throughout this time, I've enjoyed tasting the region's wines and have developed relationships with many of the area's wine industry people, from vintners and winemakers to vineyard owners and managers.

Rules of the Site
We only have a few couple...and the biggest one is respect. We personally feel there is no such thing as a stupid question, especially with wine. I know I’m still learning on a daily basis, so why not help others.

Another, feel free to construct any username. If possible though, it would be great to put your name in the signature, so we know who we are talking to.

Tech info, social networking, and contact info
This site is viewable by all guests. If you want to post, you must register. We are currently making ongoing little tweaks and changes. Please feel free to send suggestions.

Facebook is on Facebook: ... 7997365247
We’ll be updating this site as well. Please go to Facebook and “Like” us.

For mobile users, Santa Barbara Wine Talk is accessible on Tapatalk for both the iPhone & Android platforms ( Just search “Santa Barbara Wine Talk”.

I just started a Twitter account (which, if you know me, is a pretty BIG deal). You can follow me and the site at “TheRealPhilC”. I’m definitely more active on Facebook though: Philip Carpenter in San Diego!

If you have any suggestions in the tech department, PLEASE let us know.

Thank you all for your time and happy posting!