Free and Affordable Wine Tasting in Santa Barbara County

April 30, 2021

Wine tasting is an essential part of any trip to Central Coast wine country.

Santa Barbara County is home to seven American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) and more than 16,000 acres of vineyards that grow more than 60 different wine varieties. One of the best things about Santa Barbara County’s relaxed wine country is that you can taste dozens of varietals affordably, or even for free. Read on for the best ways to taste on a budget all throughout Santa Barbara County. 

Free and affordable wine tasting in Santa Maria Valley

Our home appellation, the Santa Maria Valley AVA, is the second-oldest AVA in California – second only to Napa Valley. It’s also the largest producer of wine grapes in the county with more than 7,500 vineyard acres. The best way to taste the region’s delicious cool-climate wines is to take advantage of our Show Me Your Key Card Promotion. This promotion allows you to take advantage of free and affordable tastings and purchases at select wineries like Cambria Estate Vineyard & Winery, FOXEN, and cnagy. And yes, it’s ok to ask for two key cards at check in!

Both Cambria and FOXEN are also situated along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, a 30-mile stretch of Foxen Canyon Road between Los Olivos and Santa Maria that’s home to more than a dozen wineries and tasting rooms, as well as some of the most accomplished winemakers in California. With one of California’s longest growing seasons and a truly rare transverse geography, the wineries along Foxen Canyon Road produce complex and distinctive wine. 

But, the region’s wine tasting experience doesn’t end there! We’re ready to tell you all you need to know about wine tasting in the area with our guide to wine tasting in Santa Maria Valley. Don’t forget to call ahead to the wineries you plan to visit to ensure availability – we want to be sure you can make the most of your trip to visit us, so you can kick back, relax and enjoy.

Affordable wine tasting in Santa Ynez Valley

Santa Ynez Valley, south of Santa Maria Valley, is home to four smaller sub-AVAs within the larger AVA. Santa Ynez wine country boasts several affordable wine tasting experiences. Kalyra Winery offers tastings starting at $15, and Sunstone Vineyards & Winery offers tasting for just $20 each. Several other wineries throughout the Santa Ynez Valley offer wine tasting at an affordable price, including Gainey Vineyard, Carhartt Family Wines, and Vincent Vineyards, among others. Be sure to check with the winery of your choice ahead of time to confirm pricing and tasting appointment availability.

Affordable wine tasting in Santa Barbara 

Although the city of Santa Barbara isn’t home to many vineyards, it’s home to plenty of tasting rooms. Our county’s namesake city of Santa Barbara offers wine tasting for guests on a budget. The city is home to dozens of wine bars and tasting rooms that allow you to explore many varietals offered within the county in a short distance. Santa Barbara Winery, J. Wilkes Wines, Municipal Winemakers, Margerum Wine Company, Area 5.1 Winery and several other wine bars are located within just a few blocks of one another. This allows guests to easily take a wine walking tour at an affordable price. And of course, be sure to call ahead of time to determine availability.

No matter where you want to wine taste in Santa Barbara County, you always get more for less when you make Santa Maria Valley your Central Coast home base. View our wine tasting weekend itinerary for trip inspiration and browse lodging today.

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In Santa Maria Valley, there’s so much to do from here. Hit the road and explore it all with our 24 hiking trails, 34 tasting rooms, seven unique AVAs, 13 beaches, and a growing selection of local breweries, all within a beautiful 30-minute drive. There is no need to venture far if you are looking for sand dunes, cycling and authentic Santa Maria Style dining. You’ll find it’s the perfect home base, where you can eat, drink and do more for less.

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