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The northernmost valley in Santa Barbara County, the Santa Maria Valley, is also the county’s oldest and largest wine producing region. Grapes were planted here in the 1830s. It wasn’t until the 1960s, however, that commercial vineyards were planted and, in 1981, the Santa Maria Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) was designated. It straddles northern Santa Barbara and adjacent southern San Luis Obispo Counties, and snuggles up to the northern boundary of the Los Alamos Valley AVA. Nearly 8,000 acres of premium wine grapes are planted here and several world-class wineries – including Au Bon Climat, Qupé and Dierberg – are either located in the valley or use local grapes in their wines.
Wine grapes are not the only crop produced in this fertile valley. A cornucopia of fruit and vegetables hail from here, although none are more revered than Santa Maria Valley strawberries. Approximately 20 million trays of the luscious red fruit are distributed both nationally and internationally every year and the annual Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival draws a large number of visitors.
Developed and undeveloped ranchland here is plentiful. Ranches encompass from a few acres of flat land, to a few thousand acres of gently rolling hills. Some of these properties have remained mostly untouched for at least the past 200 years. Spotted with oaks and sycamores, rich with wildlife and frequently offering panoramic views of the valley and ocean, much of Santa Maria Valley’s land is just waiting to serve vineyards, or perhaps cattle grazing or equine use.
Extensive information about the valley’s wines and vineyards is available on the Santa Maria Valley Wine Country Association website and the dedicated wine website of the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors & Convention Bureau.
Interested in spectacular Santa Maria Valley ranches and land? There’s a good chance the Bradys have exactly what you’re looking for.