Lompoc Wine Ghetto History

The Lompoc wine trail started out as a community of urban wineries in an industrial setting with the distinction of offering fine handcrafted wines. Considered the western gateway to the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, the wineries and tasting rooms of Lompoc are primarily located in an industrial park affectionately known as the “Lompoc Wine Ghetto.” Today Lompoc has the one of the largest concentrations of world-class, small-producer tasting rooms in Santa Barbara County, making a wide variety of wines and styles. This makes Lompoc an easy and exciting destination for your wine tasting get-away!

Ironically, Lompoc was founded as a temperance colony in 1874. When the town was incorporated as the city of Lompoc in 1888, the temperance clause written into every deed was found to be unenforceable; temperance was officially over. No doubt, temperance was difficult to enforce with the influx of Portuguese, Italian and other immigrants who were accustomed to their own home winemaking. 

The Lompoc Valley’s tradition of growing grapes and making wine dates back to the Mission period, from approximately 1787-1835. La Purisima Mission had its own vineyard for the production of wines for sacramental offerings and other general use. Their pear brandy was prized worldwide. In 1971 the first two vineyards were planted in what would become the Sta. Rita Hills AVA: Sanford and Benedict Vineyard and Lafond Vineyard. 

While in Lompoc, stroll the area to find the more than 60 murals created by local artists on buildings throughout town; play golf at the La Purisima Golf Course, one of the top public coursed in California; head down to Jalama Beach for legendary waves, burgers, and camping; and experiencing living history at the La Purisima Mission, one of 21 missions in California. And of course, visit our award-winning artisan wineries in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto.