Laughing couple drinking wine outside during summer.

While most of the tourists flock to Napa and Sonoma, few realize that Santa Barbara is in the middle of another of California’s wine country regions. The local varietals are something insider oenophiles love to sample every visit. Looking forward to the summer months, we put together a list of recommendations on what to sip, and where to find it.

The Basics of Summer Wine Drinking

For even the most basic wine novice, just a few sips can show you that whites tend to be lighter, fruitier drinks, while reds are warming, earthier, and sleepier. That being said, with the long days of summer, and its relentless heat, it’s often best to look towards crisp whites to get a buzz that won’t send you snoozing. Also, you can have white chilled, where it’s not as common or the best to do with red.

Wine connoisseurs will recommend a wide variety of wines for you to try at any time of year, but those we trust recommend some of the following blends for most warm days—Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Rosê, or Riesling. Also, never sleep on sangria. There are absolutely wines that you will enjoy outside this group during the summer months, and you never need to take reds completely off the table—just maybe save them for dinner.

Where To Indulge

Now, if you want to go out, ask the real experts, and actually get tasting, your options are plentiful. Just a ten-minute walk from Hotel Milo, Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone neighborhood is stocked with popular tasting rooms, restaurants with locally-sourced wine lists, and art galleries that also serve local wine. For more recommendations on where to sip wine in the Funk Zone, check out our exclusive guide.

There are also countless local wineries and vineyards, all of which are breathtaking and refreshing during the summer months. From bicycle tours, to fully air-conditioned van tours throughout Santa Barbara County and the Santa Ynez Valley, check out our guide to the best local wine tours in Santa Barbara.