Santa Barbara is home to some of California's most picturesque vineyards. The modern era of Santa Barbara wine making started relatively late in this Central Coast region--but it grew quickly. Beginning with a mere 11 acres under vine in 1969, Santa Barbara expanded to more than 7,000 acres by 1980, and it is approaching 11,000 acres. The majority of the vineyards are found in two regions north of the city of Santa Barbara: the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.
Santa Barbara white wine varieties count for more than 75% of the plantings, the leader being Chardonnay followed distantly by Johannesburg Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc. Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are the top the red varieties. The most successful white wines have been Chardonnay and Riesling; as for Santa Barbara reds, Pinot Noir, though erratic, has greatly outdistanced Cabernet Sauvignon.