The Santa Maria Valley isn’t just barbecue country, it’s wine country, too.

Indeed, as we pointed out earlier this year, two wines from the Santa Maria Valley were named to the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 wines of 2008 out of 19,000 wines tasted from around the world.

Now we have more good news to report heading into 2010, as the 2006 Pinot Noir Julia’s Vineyard from our very own Cambria Winery has been named Wine Enthusiast magazine’s #1 wine on its Top 100 list for 2009 and has also been named’s #1 wine on its Top 100 list for 2009 as well. Bravo, Cambria Winery!

So what’s the secret behind the magnificent award-winning wines of the Santa Maria Valley? Well, for starters, our region boasts a rare “transverse” geography, an east-west orientation that channels cool ocean air directly into the valley. The result is one of California’s longest growing seasons, which ensures the development of complex, flavorful and exquisitely balanced grapes. Additionally, our wine country is brimming with extraordinary winemaking talent.

The wines of the Santa Maria Valley, especially the red wines, have also proven to be a perfect match for Santa Maria Style Barbecue, adding a fresh dimension to this local culinary tradition. Today, more than a dozen winery tasting rooms welcome you to the Santa Maria Valley. Here, you will taste Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah and many other varietals that excel in our extraordinary coastal climate and beautiful countryside. Visit the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country web site to plan your tour.