Santa Barbara's grapes that didn't get away


Until very recently, Santa Barbara County was probably the most significant wine region I had never visited. Well, that’s not quite true. I went through the agreeable southern California university town of Santa Barbara in 1969 when I was a student on a Greyhound bus tour of the US and have a vivid memory of the distinctive Mission there. Little did I know that this style of architecture had been adopted three years earlier by the seminal Robert Mondavi winery that kickstarted the modern era of wine in Napa Valley.

Since then the vine has marched resolutely south from the...