Chardonnay in California within a Region 1 climate combined with the type of soils we were after is found only in a few rare pockets of the state. This makes access to such fruit very hard to come by. Not to forget the glaring fact that only about 18% of Santa Rita Hills is planted to Chardonnay. We could not be more proud and honored to be making Chardonnay from these esteemed vineyards. We added select Santa Maria vineyards to our arsenal beginning in the 2013 harvest.
The quality of the fruit, farming and people in this Valley are second to none. Please check out and support wines made from and by the following folks’ fruit; you will not be disappointed.
Organically farmed, this is where Jeff and Nikki started the project in 2009 with FOUR barrels worth of Chardonnay that became the 2009 White Hill & 2009 Golden Slope. Dan and his wife Ellen produce Estate Pinot, Chardonnay and Syrah as well as a beautiful Rosé of Pinot Noir and a little bit of old vine Riesling, they live on the land with their Moluccan Cockatoo named Waldo and few vineyard-loving Labradors.(Sandy Loam Soils / Clone 96)
Renowned for its legendary farming and winemaking, Wes Hagen and Steve Pepe have helped put Sta. Rita Hills on the map – literally! – Wes spearheaded the AVA's creation and approval in 2001. The vineyard was established in 1994 and the Clos Pepe wines and fruit have been highly sought after for many years since. Wes has a wealth of knowledge about all that is Santa Rita Hills and his passion for grape growing, winemaking and virtually all topics of philosophy, history and delicious things, is certainly inspiring. (Elder Sandy Loam – Clone; 76 & Wente)
Rita's Crown is located in the geographic center of the AVA at an elevation between 600' and 950' making it one of the highest planted vineyards in the AVA. Hence, the name "Rita's Crown" - the top or crown of the Santa Rita Hills. The site is a very powerful one that grows grapes that create wine with serious ageability and structure. Lots of lemon curd and delicious nerviness. (Sandy Clay Loam Soil / Clone 76, 95, 96 & 124)
Radian is the standard unit of angular measure, derived from the ratio between the length of an arc and its radius. Located in the most Southwesterly corner of the AVA. The soils here are particularly loaded with Diatomaceous earth – aka; pure mineral in the form of Silica – lending piercing acidity and minerality in the resulting wines. Super low yields, but highly intense and nervy fruit that we love. (Tierra Loam Soil / Clones 76)
Bentrock is the result of a collision between the North American and Pacific tectonic plates, which took place some 12 to 20 million years ago in the Miocene Epoch. The yielding fruit is lean and mean, making for beautifully concentrated wines. Both Bent Rock and Radian are newer sites to come online in SRH and certainly names to watch. Formerly both vineyards were known as Salsipuedes. (Sandy Loam Soils / Clones 76 & 96)
Positioned in the center of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, Spear Vineyards lies directly between the Northern (Hwy 246) and Southern (Santa Ynez River) corridors. Owned and operated by Opher Shepher, Spear is organically farmed and is made up of two distinct vineyards. The “Northern” vineyard fronts the Santa Rita Valley corridor and the “Southern” vineyard sits at the top of the Santa Rita Hills above the Santa Ynez River. Planted in 2014, the vineyard is planted in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Viognier, Grenache and Gruner Veltliner. (Clone 76 & Clone 777)
Located in Lompoc near Sanford & Benedict, La Rinconada is planted exclusively with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The vineyard sits on a well-drained, west facing slope with 9%-15% slopes. The soil consists of Santa Lucia shaley clay loam. Due to the heavy Pacific fog which pools in this valley vineyard, it is an ideal region for cool-climate varietals. (Clone 76)
This historic vineyard traces its roots back to 1837, when Tomas Olivera received the two square league Rancho Tepusquet Mexican land grant from then Governor of Alta California, Juan Bautista Alvarado. The Miller’s who we’re honored to work with purchased the land in 1969 and planted their first vines in. The terrain is sand, chalk and marine loam that provides good drainage. The whole package results in cool, slow ripening grapes, with longer hang time on the vines. (Clone 76)
Also owned and operated by the Millers, this unique site is located at the western most end of the Santa Maria Valley AVA, nestled in its namesake Solomon Hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This proximity makes it not only the most westerly vineyard in the AVA but also the coolest. Planted entirely to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. (Clone 76 and Clone 777)
Vogelzang Vineyard (owned by MaryBeth and Tom Vogelzang), whom we are honored to partner with on the Mourvèdre for our Rosé starting in 2011, is planted in the beautiful appellation called "Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara." Because of its location in the most south-eastern corner of the Santa Ynez valley, the morning fog burns off earlier than the rest of the valley, providing the much-desired longer day of heat. The late afternoon "set your clock at 4 PM" marine winds quickly promise to ease the extended heat. In addition to the advantage of these weather patterns, the gravelly loam soil is strewn with rock and rubble contributing to the low vigor and proper drainage.
For more information on the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, check out Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance.