Sta. Rita Hills is a renowned growing region for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, 2 of the classic Champagne grapes. The cool weather, fog from the ocean, and long growing season all contribute to the excellence you will find in the glass. Visit winery tasting rooms in the town of Lompoc (9 are walkable, in the funky part of town called the Wine Ghetto) as well as in the vineyards in the vine-covered rolling hills of the SRH appellation.
This region now boasts 17 sparkling winemakers, with some of the oldest continuous Bubblies around.
See more! There are over 75 sparkling wine producers in Santa Barbara County.
Ampelos produces a Blanc de Noir Sparkling wine in the méthod champenoise, traditional style, out of 100% Pinot Noir from the Sta. Rita Hills, made by neighbor Norm Yost of Flying Goat Cellars. The winery also boasts their estate vineyard to be the first in the US to be certified as organic, sustainable and biodynamic.
Méthode Champenoise is how sparkling wine is made in the Champagne region of France, also called méthode traditionnelle or classique. This is the highest-quality and most labor-intensive way to make sparkling wine. It involves bottling the still wine with additions of sugar and yeast after a first fermentation, ensuring a second fermentation happens in the bottle, trapping the bubbles inside. It then goes through aging (and periodic turning of the bottles to force the lees to the neck of the bottle), until it’s ready for dégorgement (to get these lees out) and dosage (to finish the wine).
This Sparkling Blanc de Blancs by Greg Brewer is a 2012 vintage, made from 100% Chardonnay planted in the sandy upper blocks of 3D vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills. There is significant extended aging on this wine, which is made by hand, in-house in the traditional Champagne method. It has all the brioche, yeasty, minerally, lemon-apple notes and flavors you would expect from a fine Champagne. You can also visit them in Los Olivos, CA.
3. Camins 2 Dreams
This all-woman owned winery produces some fabulous wines under the radar, and sources grapes exclusively from the vineyards in Sta. Rita Hills. Camins 2 Dreams has a philosophy to make hand-crafted wines that use minimal intervention in the winery. They produce a yearly Pét-Nat, and this one is made from Grüner Veltliner grown in the Fiddlestix Vineyard, available online or at their tasting room in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto.
Pétillant Naturel, or Pét-Nat, is an even more ancient way to make sparkling wine than the widely-used méthode champenoise (also called méthode traditionelle) originated in Champagne, France. In the méthode ancestrale, the wine is bottled with a crown cap before it even finishes its first fermentation, so it develops carbon dioxide as it goes. It’s not disgorged, often unfiltered, and can be made from any grape variety.
Kathy Joseph established Fiddlehead Cellars in 1989 to capture the pure essence of two distinguished grape varietals – Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Her quest was to incorporate European beauty into these domestically grown varietals. Fiddlehead produces a yearly Sparkling Wine called Bubbles Blanc de Noirs. They currently have their 2015, 2014, and 2013 available in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto, done in the traditional méthode champenoise.
5. Flying Goat
One of the original Sparkling Wine makers in Santa Barbara County using the traditional method — méthode champenoise — to make bubbles in-house was Flying Goat Cellars. Flying Goat offers bubbly lovers 6 stellar Sparkling Wines: a sparkling Rosé, Brut Cuvée (done in mêthode champenoise), two Blanc de Noirs (done in mêthode champenoise) from two different vineyards, Crêmant, and a Blanc de Blancs. All of these bubbles are released yearly in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto!
A winery born out of the love of wine, Kessler-Haak started as a backyard operation for Dan Kessler. Now farming 30 acres in the Sta. Rita Hills, Kessler-Haak produces Brut (made in Blanc de Noir style – 75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay) and Extra Brut Sparkling made in the classic Champagne style. Read more about Kessler-Haak and where to get the bubbles.
7. Lompoc Wine Factory
LWC makes a pretty pink Jalama Beach Sparkling Rose from Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir in the classic style. They also make fun Pét-Nats on occasion, and a lazy lemən Sparkling Lemon Wine that is for club/allocation list only.
Montemar sources all its fruit from top vineyards in Santa Barbara County by leasing specific blocks and controlling all aspects of farming. They have been doing this for quite some time and some of the vineyard blocks have been under their control for over 15 years. Montemar produces their Pét-Nat through the méthode ancestrale that results in a smooth carbonation with small bubbles. Aside from their Pét-Nat, you can enjoy their Pinot, Rhone, White, and Rosé in their tasting room in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto.
9. Pali Wine Co.
Pali produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay sourced primarily from vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills and neighboring wine-growing regions. Pali has several releases of Bubbles: a bone-dry (zero dosage) méthode-champenoise Sparkling Wine–Pali Vineyard made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and a limited “Pet Moon Pink” Pét-Nat collab with Neighborhood Winery. They also have a tasting garden in Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone.
Transendence makes a lovely Sparkling Wine from Chardonnay in the méthode champenoise, available now just outside Lompoc’s Wine Ghetto.
In Sta. Rita Hills
Babcock passionately hand crafts their wines in an unbelievably nostalgic, soulful atmosphere. At their tasting room, surround yourself with meticulously curated art, fashion, vinyl & vintage finds while listening to 70s & 80s rock ’n roll. This past summer, Babcock was pouring their Pinot Noir Pét-Nat on the weekends. Now, you can taste their other Pét-Nat, Love Garden Petit Verdot Rosé.
12. The Hilt Estate
Rancho Salsipuedes, where The Hilt wines make their home, provides vineyards planted on land nearly 13 unobstructed miles from the ocean on the west. The Hilt produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Estate Sparkling made in traditional method, and small-batch Rosé of Pinot Noir Pét-Nat. The new tasting room just outside of Lompoc is a sight to see!
Lafond Winery has been honored with the opportunity to produce and be recognized nationally for their award-winning Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, and Syrahs. Interested in a bubbly option? Make your way over to their tasting room in Buellton to enjoy their Sparkling Rosé (made in traditional method). You can also visit their sister winery in Santa Barbara (which has 14 bubble makers).
Melville is dedicated to producing exceptional cold-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah grown exclusively in their estate vineyards throughout the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. At this time their sparklings are sold out, but for holidays and special occasions they may pour and sell their Blanc de Blancs (made traditional method with no dosage). However you can still enjoy a glass of their other remarkable wines at their Santa Barbara tasting lounge or at their estate winery in the Santa Rita Hills. You can also visit them in Santa Barbara (which has 14 bubble makers).
Pence Vineyards & Winery makes two traditional sparklers: a Blanc de Blanc from Chardonnay and a Blanc de Noir from Pinot Noir, all from the Santa Rita Hills.
The first pioneering vineyards in Santa Barbara were planted at Sanford Winery. This renowned cool climate AVA was not only launched by the planting of the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard but also expanded to neighbors’ plantings through cuttings from this vineyard. Sanford produces exceptional Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sparkling Wine. You can visit their estate winery in Lompoc to taste their three Méthode Champenoise Sparkling Wines – Brut Rosé, Blanc de Noirs, and Blanc de Blanc.
17. Strange Family Wines
The Strange Family Vineyards have dedicated themselves to producing world class Sparkling Wines and exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from their estate in the Sta Rita Hills. You can visit their vineyard for tastings in Lompoc or head to their Malibu tasting room to taste their three Sparkling Wines – Cuvée, Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs. Their Sparkling Wines are produced by traditional French methods.
See more! There are over 75 sparkling wine producers in Santa Barbara County.