South Central Coast: Santa Maria Valley

The wineries are easily accessible and within a 20 minute drive of each other. All the wineries and tasting rooms in Santa Maria Valley are family owned. This is a rarity in the wine business. Even the larger Kendall-Jackson properties, Cambria and Byron, remain family owned. Santa Maria Valley, once known only for its row crops and cattle ranches, is now recognized for its Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and cool-climate Syrahs. A Santa Maria Valley Wine Trail (see includes Presqu'ile, Kenneth Volk Vineyards, Costa De Oro Winery, McKeon Phillips, Rancho Sisquoc, Cambria, Byron, Foxen, and Cottonwood Canyon.

Recommended Wineries

Bien Nacido Vineyards
Address4705 Santa Maria Mesa Rd, Santa Maria
OwnerStephen Miller
CommentsSolomon Hills Vineyard under same management. Grapes provided to numerous California producers. Tours available by special appointment only. Wineries at Bien Nacido Vineyard: Au Bon Climat (tasting room in Santa Ynez, no tours or tasting); Ambullneo (tasting by appointment., 805-474-5858, talk to owner Greg Linn); Tantara Winery (tasting by appointment., 805-938-5051, talk to owner Bill Cates).
Byron Vineyard & Winery
Address5230 Tepusquet Rd., Santa Maria
Tasting RoomBy appointment.
Production25,000 cases Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah.
WinemakerJonathan Nagy
OwnerArtisan & Estates
CommentsEstablished by Ken Brown in 1984.
PoP coverageByron Vineyard & Winery
Cambria Estate Vineyard & Winery
Address5475 Chardonnay Lane, Santa Maria
Tasting RoomOpen daily, 10-5. Tours by appointment. Picnic area and picnic supplies.
Production20,000 cases Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah
WinemakerDenise Shurtleff
CommentsEstablished in 1987.
Cottonwood Canyon
Address3940 Dominion Rd., Santa Maria
Tasting RoomHours vary with seasons - call ahead. Picnic area. Older vintages available with food matching.
Production2,500 cases Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah
WinemakerNorman Beko
OwnerNorman Beko
PoP coverageCottonwood Canyon
Foxen Winery
Address7200 Foxen Canyon Rd., Santa Maria
Tasting RoomOpen daily 11-4. Tours by appointment.
Production12,000 cases Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Syrah.
WinemakerWilliam Wathen
OwnerWilliam Wathen
CommentsEstablished in 1985. Full-throttle, richly fruited Pinot Noirs.
PoP coverageFoxen Winery
Kenneth Volk Vineyards
Address5230 Tespusquet Rd., Santa Maria
Tasting RoomOpen daily 10:30-4:30.
Production8,000 cases of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot,and Cabernet Sauvignon.
WinemakerKennth Volk
OwnerKennth Volk
CommentsKenneth Volk is the former founder of Wild Horse Vineyards and Winery. Established in 2005 following the sale of Wild Horse Vineyards and Winery.
PoP coverageKenneth Volk Vineyards
Lane Tanner Winery
Address2717 Aviation Way, Ste 102, Santa Maria (Central Coast Wine Services)
Tasting RoomBy appointment
ProductionSmall lots of Pinot Noir and Syrah
WinemakerLane Tanner
OwnerLane Tanner
CommentsCharming winemaker crafting charming wines.
PoP coverageLane Tanner Winery

Recommended Lodging

Holiday Inn
Address2100 N. Broadway, Santa Maria
Radisson Hotel
Address3455 Skyway Dr., Santa Maria
Comments Note: Lodging in Shell Beach, San Louis Obispo, Edna Valley, and Santa Ynez Valley about a 45 drive from Santa Maria Valley.

Recommended Restaurants

Chef Ricks
Address4869 S. Bradley Rd., Santa Maria
CommentsLouisiana, Southwest and Southern California influences. Excellent.
Dino's Deli
Address750 E. Main Street, Santa Maria
CommentsGreat gourmet sandwiches for a wine country picnic. near the Santa Maria, Tepesquet and Foxen Canyon Wine Trails. The adjoining gourmet grocery has one of Santa Maria's largest wine selections, with more than 400 labels.
Far Western Tavern
AddressHwy 1 at 899 Guadalupe St., Guadalupe
CommentsVery casual, steaks.
Santa Maria Valley BBQ
CommentsOn the weekends, there are makeshift Santa Maria barbecue pits on corners and various locations. Santa Maria tri tip steak and pinquito beans are a featured and treasured cuisine of this region.
Shaws Famous Steakhouse
Address714 S Broadway, Santa Maria
CommentsGo for the tri-tip.
Wine Cottage Bistro
Address285 S. Broadway, Old Town Orcutt
CommentsWine country cuisine with many local wines. Winemaker dinners.

Appellation Websites