The often foggy and windswept Santa Maria Valley is the northern most appellation in Santa Barbara County. The region’s first officially approved American Viticultural Area (AVA) enjoys extremely complex soil conditions and diverse microclimates. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are two varietals which especially benefit from the ocean’s influence, and are the flagship wines of this appellation.
The quality of Santa Maria Valley grapes is so widely recognized that the fruit is not just used in winemaking at wineries in the appellation. Santa Maria Valley grapes are also used by wineries throughout Santa Barbara County and at many wineries outside of the county. So don't be suprised when you see the Santa Maria Valley name on labels from wineries that are based far away from the Santa Barbara County sunshine. The Santa Maria Valley appellation is bounded by the San Rafael Mountains and the Los Padres National Forest to the east, and by the Solomon Hills and the city of Santa Maria to the west.