What to do? Santa Ynez Valley is one of five distinct American Viticultural Areas (AVA) in Santa Barbara County’s vast wine country, and more than 50 varietals thrive in the area’s diverse micro-climates. The unusual east-west orientation of the coastal mountains creates transverse valleys that funnel cool Pacific Ocean air and fog inland during the late afternoon and evening. The resulting hot sunny days and cool nights are a winning combination for both wine grapes and wine tasters. The Oscar-winning 2004 movie Sideways shot on location throughout the area and helped to plant the Santa Ynez Valley firmly on the international wine map. Most of the 120+ wineries located here are small boutique operations and many are family-owned and operated. Visitors enjoy the area’s strong rural flavor and tasting world-class wines in an unpretentious, friendly atmosphere where it’s not unusual to end up chatting with the winemaker or owner – either at the winery or in-town tasting rooms.
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