California is known as one of America’s most famous wine-producing states, and Santa Ynes is home to a number of vineyards and wineries that are well worth a visit.
If you’re planning to pass through the area and enjoy a glass of wine or two, here’s our guide to the best wineries in Santa Ynes to help you find the most interesting places to head to sample the local produce.
Best Wineries in Santa Ynez
1. Sunstone Winery
Heavily influenced by France’s Provence region, the Sunstone Winery has been growing grapes and producing wine since the early 1990s, and since then it has grown into one of the must-visit wine destinations in the Santa Ynez area.
Boasting classic wine-country scenery and beautiful architecture to match, Sunstone is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine or two surrounded by the vineyards and the pervading aroma of rosemary and lavender.
The winery offers tastings daily, with flights of six wines available – reservations are not required but are recommended.
They also serve wine by the glass or the bottle, and you can also book a private tasting for a more in-depth introduction to the winery and the wines produced there.
Furthermore, if an afternoon visit isn’t enough, they also have accommodation, allowing you to stay a night or two to really make the most of the stunning location. The winery is also available for weddings and other events – details can be found on the website.
Address: 125 N Refugio Rd, Santa Ynez, CA 93460
2. Rideau Vineyard
Rideau Vineyard has been in operation since 1997 and focuses on producing small-lot wines made from grapes that are meticulously harvested by hand.
The winery takes its inspiration from France’s Rhône Valley, and their winemaking philosophy is to nurture the grapes while intervening as little as possible, allowing them to reflect the natural and unique combination of varietal and terroir.
Most of their wines are still sold direct to the consumer, so if you want to taste or buy them, a visit to the winery is one of the best options.
Reservations are currently required for flight tastings, guided by the winery’s friendly and knowledgeable staff, and the El Alamo Pintado Adobe tasting room is the perfect venue for tasting the winery’s produce.
Rideau regularly organizes special events such as the “Roses and Rosé” event in May 2022, and the winery is also available for weddings and other private events. Full details can be found on the website.
Address: 1562 Alamo Pintado Rd, Solvang, CA 93463
3. Roblar Winery and Vineyards – Santa Ynez Estate Tasting Room
The Roblar Winery and Vineyards estate produces a wide range of exceptional wines, including sauvignon blanc, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, grenache and more.
The grapes are grown in the vineyards that surround the winery, benefitting from the favorable combination of climate and soil conditions of the area before being transformed into wine in the state-of-the-art winemaking facility on-site.
You can sample the wines from the winery in the gorgeous tasting room – they offer both regular tasting and reserve tasting options. Reservations are not required but are highly recommended if you want to avoid disappointment.
While there, you can also enjoy some of the delicious freshly prepared food straight from the winery’s farm.
The menu changes weekly according to whatever is in season, but you can expect tasty dishes such as smoked salmon devilled eggs or garlic shrimp toast along with pizzas, charcuterie boards and more.
The winery also offers private curated tastings if you prefer a more exclusive experience. Check their website for full details.
Address: 3010 Roblar Ave, Santa Ynez, CA 93460
4. Gainey Vineyard
The first vines at Gainey Vineyard were planted in 1984, and since then, the operation has grown and expanded to what it has become today. The winery has been owned by the same family since it was founded, and it is now being passed on to the fourth generation.
All wines at this Spanish-style winery are estate-bottled, and they produce all the classic reds and whites, including sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, Riesling, pinot noir, syrah, merlot, cabernet sauvignon and more besides.
Tastings usually take place outside in the attractive Upper Terrace area, and reservations are highly recommended – although they will do their best to accommodate walk-ins if they have space.
However, if the weather is too cold, they also have a barrel room for indoor tastings, as necessary.
They don’t provide meals, although charcuterie platters are available for tastings. Visitors are permitted to bring their own picnics to enjoy on the lawn area as long as they purchase at least one bottle from the winery.
Address: 3950 CA-246, Santa Ynez, CA 93460
Email: Contact via the website
5. Lincourt Vineyards
The wines from this winery come from small-lot fermentations and are aged in French oak barrels to create wines with unique flavors and plenty of character.
Furthermore, through a deep appreciation of the winemaker’s obligation to care for the land that produces the grapes each year, they insist on using only sustainable farming techniques to ensure the long-term survival of their vineyards.
To sample the wines from Lincourt, you can pre-book a tasting experience. These are usually held outside in the patio area, which affords stunning views over the vineyards, making it the perfect spot to enjoy the wines that were grown and produced right there.
If you enjoy the wines from the tasting, you can also sign up for the wine club, which gives you certain privileges – including free tastings – as well as the chance to receive Lincourt wines several times throughout the year.
Address: 1711 Alamo Pintado Rd, Solvang, CA 93463
6. Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyard
At Buttonwood Farm Winery and Vineyard, responsible stewardship of the land is seen as being just as important as producing excellent wines and farm produce, something that’s apparent in everything they do.
Buttonwood has been growing vines and making wine since 1984, and they now have 38,000 vines on the estate. Wines such as grenache, malbec, pinot noir, and cabernet franc are among the many types produced at the winery.
To sample the wines, you can book a 90-minute tasting, which usually takes place outside in the garden next to a beautiful peach grove. Walk-ins are accommodated when possible, but reservations are highly recommended.
The winery also organizes special events throughout the year – such as a vineyard walk and scavenger hunt in May and the “Crab Fest” in June – check the website if you want to know more.
They also have a wine club, and membership entitles you to a free tasting with three guests – so this could be a great deal if you know you plan to buy a few bottles of wine from their selection.
Address: 1500 Alamo Pintado Rd, Solvang, CA 93463
Email: Contact via the website
7. Kalyra Winery
For a laidback vibe, fantastic views over some classic California wine country – and of course, some great wine too – Kalyra is a winery that should be high on your list of places to visit.
You can enjoy outdoor tastings on the tasting deck or on the lawn, and it’s also a great spot to bring a picnic and linger for a while as you take in the surroundings.
There’s another reason to visit this winery too – since this was where the movie Sideways was filmed.
So influential was the movie that it caused sales of merlot to drop and those of pinot noir to rise due to the views of the characters, something that ultimately led to a temporary change in winegrowing practices in an effort to meet demand.
However, despite its movie fame, the winery has stayed true to its roots, never changing from the welcoming and unassuming place that attracted the filmmakers in the first place.
So whether you visit for the wines, the atmosphere, the Hollywood connection – or perhaps a bit of all three – you’re sure to not be disappointed.
Address: 343 N Refugio Rd #9302, Santa Ynez, CA 93460
8. Vincent Vineyards & Winery
The story of Vincent Vineyards and Winery started in the mid-2000s when Tony Vincent purchased a plot of land in the Santa Ynez Valley and began to plant vines.
The first wines were bottled in 2010, and the tasting room opened its doors in 2015, and to this day, the winery continues to produce an excellent range of Bordeaux-influenced wines with an unmistakably Californian character.
Wines produced there include cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, sauvignon blanc and syrah.
It’s possible to sample them on-site, either indoors at the bar or outside on the terrace, where you can enjoy the stunning mountain views as you work through your flight.
The winery also serves a perfect range of small bites such as cheese and bread with olive oil that have been carefully chosen to match with what you have in your glass.
Along with the delicious wines and the sublime locale, the staff are knowledgeable and helpful, all of which adds up to make this a winery that’s well worth checking out.
Address: 2370 N Refugio Rd, Santa Ynez, CA 93460
Email: Contact via the website
9. The Brander Vineyard
The conditions at the Brander Vineyard, including the favorable climate and the gentle south-facing slopes, have allowed this winery to grow the grapes typically found in France’s Bordeaux region and to use them to make some exceptional Bordeaux-style wines.
The winery welcomes guests to sample the wines in the on-site tasting room, with each tasting consisting of a selection of wines. The tasting fee is waived if you purchase three bottles from the winery.
Interestingly, the winery is also home to a museum housing the owner’s collection of Latin American art – so if you visit the winery, don’t forget to check out the museum too to see some of the fascinating and unique pieces it contains.
Address: 2401 N Refugio Rd, Santa Ynez, CA 93460
10. Beckmen Vineyards
At this organic and biodynamic vineyard and winery, the grapes are meticulous cared for and harvested to ensure optimum results.
Over time and through experimentation, the winery’s owners have come to understand that their location is best for Rhône-style grape varietals such as syrah, grenache, viognier and others.
Once they are ripe, they are harvested in small batches at night when the temperatures are at their coolest, another measure that helps the winery produce the best possible wines from the fruit.
You can sample these wines against the beautiful backdrop of the estate’s pond and vineyard while sitting outside on their covered deck. Reservations for tastings are not required but are recommended.
If you want to eat something, you can bring a picnic and book one of the three gazebos – wine is sold by the bottle to accompany your food.
Alternatively, the winery also offers an informative tour and tasting experience. Check their website for full details.
Address: 2670 Ontiveros Rd, Los Olivos, CA 93441
11. Royal Oaks Winery – Solvang Tasting Room
If you’re a fan of sweeter wines, this is the one tasting room in the area you shouldn’t miss since that’s their specialty.
That’s not to say they don’t have other, drier wines, many of which are excellent too, but sweet wines are what they excel at.
You can sample both types at the winery, and for a more original experience, you can choose to have them paired with chocolate truffles, a wine tasting you’re sure to remember for a long time to come.
If you visit, you can expect a friendly welcome from the knowledgeable and friendly staff, and if you’re planning a wine tour of the area, this is a tasting venue that merits a place on your itinerary.
Address: 1687 Mission Dr, Solvang, CA 93463
Classic Californian wine country
Santa Ynes is classic California wine country, and as a result, it is home to many great wineries. In fact, for any wine aficionado in the area, the hardest part will probably be deciding which one to visit first.