History in the Bottle:
How the Grape Built "The American Riviera".
Native American Viticulture
Is there documented proof of wine-making by her peoples or by settlers.
Discuss with Tara Gomez at Kita. Get sources.
Spanish "Mission" Grapes
The Spanish grape first introduced to the area was brought to the America's in 1520 by Hernan Cortez.
This varietal (cutting) was brought to the region from Mexico by Father Junipero Serra, known as the "Father of California Wine", in 1782.
This varietal became known as the "Mission" grape.
Santa Barbara became the second largest wine producer among the missions.
Early Twentieth Century
By the late 1800's, 450 Vineyards containing some 260 acres with 17 winemakers dotted the landscape of Santa Barbara County.
The Mission grape was the predominant varietal and the majority of wine was being produced for religious purposes / consumption.
In 1884 Frenchmen Justinian Caire imported Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Zinfandel grape cuttings from his native lands, planting a vineyard of 150 acres on Santa Cruz Island near Santa Barbara.
Justinian Caire's last production took place in 1918, just ahead of Prohibition.
Prohibition completely destroyed the California Wine Industry.
The Rise of Home Winemaking---During Prohibition in the United States, there was a loophole in the law allowing each home to “make 200 gallons of non-intoxicating cider and fruit juice per year,” thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens became home winemakers.
Post Great Depression
The repeal of Prohibition in 1933 made the wine industry legal once again.
Santa Barbara County experienced a boom in wine-making interest after several authorities on viticulture from UC Davis, professors Maynard Amerine and Albert Winkler, stated that Santa Barbara County was one of the state's best growing regions for quality, fine wine.
The 80's and 90's
Twenty First Century
As the world’s fourth largest producer of wine, California’s vineyards now generate over 120 billion dollars annually and are responsible for three out of every five bottles purchased by Americans. Internationally, 47.2 million cases were exported to 125 countries in 2012 – up 51% from a decade before. Never has the Golden State been more of a viticultural superpower than it is today.
According to Vintners Association:
More than 100 wineries,
Some 20,000 acres of grapes planted,
More than 65 varietals,
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernets, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pint Gris, and Rhone, Spanish, and Italian varietals.
More than $1 Billion Dollar Business
***THIS IS OUTDATED DATA***
According to Wine Folly:
Santa Barbara Valley:
Most commonly planted grape varietals:
Santa Maria Valley AVA:
Santa Ynez Valley AVA:
Largest AVA in the Region.77,000 acres planted.
60 different varietals spanning over 30 miles, from east to west.
Sta. Rita Hills AVA:
2,700 acres planted
Ballard Canyon AVA:
Happy Canyon AVA: