Santa Barbara, both a state county as well as an AVA, is the southernmost quality wine production area in California and is home to the Santa Maria and Santa Ynez valleys. Despite being quite a bit south of Sonoma and Napa, Santa Barbara is a peninsula that protrudes into the cool Pacific and its relatively low-lying topography allows cold ocean breezes and often sea fog to roll remarkably far inland. This effect combined with a low annual rainfall allows for a long, uninterrupted growing season with no urgency to bring the crop in because of inclement weather. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the stars here but Rhône varieties, especially Syrah, have had lots of success here too.

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