If, as the old saying goes, California is America’s America, then Santa Barbara might be California’s California. Many of the images most strongly associated with the Golden State in people’s imaginations — surfers on palm-fringed beaches, red-tile roofs on whitewashed buildings, oak-studded hillsides rising up into green mountains — are simply the scenes of daily life here. Wine culture and bicycling are both big parts of this California vision. Although Santa Barbara County’s modern wine industry is relatively young (the first post-Prohibition commercial winery dates to 1962, and for years there were only a few scattered vineyards), the region has made up for lost time, and today more than 200 wineries grow at least 50 varietals in six officially recognized American Viticultural Areas. Both the city of Santa Barbara and the surrounding rural areas are major destinations for wine lovers, and many visitors are choosing bicycling as their way into the area’s wine regions. With abundant sunshine and year-round pleasant temperatures, Santa Barbara’s geography, so accommodating to wine grapes, is also tailor-made for riding. The three short rides profiled here combine to offer an introduction to Santa Barbara’s wine culture. These rides are easy and relatively flat, perfect for new… Read full this story
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