"Best known for its chardonnay, pinot noir and syrah, Santa Barbara has six wine grape-growing regions (AVAs). Get your bearings by starting at The Valley Project, which offers a stellar selection of small-batch wines and has a handy chalk-drawn map on the wall. Pali Wine Company next door is a must for pinot noir and has a cool outdoor terrace, as does the new tasting room of The Margerum Wine Company located at the dreamy Hotel Californian. Included on the menu here are Santa Barbara County Rhône Blends, Riviera Rosé and sauvignon blanc (of which Barack Obama is a fan!). Margerum also does a mean cheeseboard.
Generally, you don’t need to book to visit a tasting room and you can expect to pay $15 to sample five wines, unless you purchase an Urban Wine Trail Membership Card (which gets you free tastings throughout Santa Barbara and would be better suited to a longer stay)."
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