Our Vineyards

 

The main components that effect a wine’s greatness are vintage, winemaking, and of course, vineyard.

As a sommelier, I recognized the importance of terroir as an integral part of a wines greatness. A given vintage, or winemaker can certainly screw up a wine from a special vineyard, but without a great vineyard site, truly great wine cannot be produced. For that reason, my search, both when I started the winery and continuing to this day, is focused on developing the vineyard relationships I currently have and finding new exciting vineyards from which we can practice our craft.

Our current vineyard sources include these unbelievable gems:

 

Santa Maria Valley

The Santa Maria Valley is one of two east/west facing valleys open to the Pacific Ocean on the entire Western seaboard. The orientation harnesses the cool ocean fog and air to keep daytime temperatures low and coupled with historically low rainfall, creates a situation where vineyards benefit from a very long growing season.

 

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Bien Nacido Vineyard – The most vineyard-designated vineyard ever, Bien Nacido is one of the most important vineyards in the history of Santa Barbara County, in California as a whole, and, quite possibly, in the world.

Soil: Elder & Pleasanton Series Shale (Sandy Loam)
Clone: Pinot Noir – Pommard; Chardonnay – UC Davis 4
Farming Practice: SIP Certified

 

Pinot Noir – Our Bien Nacido Pinot Noir comes from G block, one of the own-rooted sections planted in 1973. Because it is planted with East/West running rows, one side of the vine gets very little direct sunlight during the growing season, and the harmonious interplay between the riper and leaner sides of the vine make for an interesting winemaking experience. This means both great structure as well as flowery perfume in every vintage… a range of flavors and textures from a single clone of Pinot Noir. Additionally, the own rooted vines are, arguable, a ‘purer’ expression of Pinot Noir than vines planted on rootstock. Add to that the fact that these vines are now over 40 years old and you have a truly unique terroir from which to make some seriously good wines.

Chardonnay – The Bien Nacido vineyard’s south facing ‘bench’ was originally planted in 1973. The wide spacing and consistently high quality of Chardonnay in ‘I’ block warranted a new set of inter-plants in 1999, and the majority of this wine comes from a combination of these old and new vines. Those new plantings, which are reaching a lovely stage of maturity, develop fruit that has amazing complexity of flavor at lower levels of potential alcohol and balanced acidity.

 

Presqu’ile Vineyard – One of the most exciting new properties in Santa Maria. No expense has been spared to develop this flagship vineyard on the world-class dirt of the Solomon Hills.

Soil: Garey Sand
Clone: 777
Farming Practice: SIP Certified

 

Pinot Noir – Planted in the late 1990’s (when the vineyard was called Addamo), the section our Pinot Noir fruit comes from is one of the most perfectly manicured blocks of Pinot Noir we have ever seen. This part of Santa Maria, called the Solomon Hills, has been long recognized as a perfect terroir for dense, powerful, yet distinctly elegant fruit, which is the hallmark of the region. Among the richest and brightest Pinot Noir we pick from anywhere, we often ferment a portion of this Pinot Noir with whole clusters, adding complexity and structure to the pristine fruit. The hills this vineyard adorn have been making exceptional Pinot Noir under vineyard names like Garey, Dierberg, and the top portions of Sierra Madre for quite some time and the Presqu’ile property has unabashedly grabbed this torch to further grow the story of the south hills of Santa Maria.

 

Riverbench Vineyard – Planted in 1973, Riverbench occupies a part of Santa Maria that feels more like old west than modern California vineyard land.

Soil: Mocho Fine Sandy Loam
Clones: Pommard, Martini
Farming Practice: SIP Certified

 

Surrounded by gnarly oaks and sandy brown soils, Riverbench is one of a few hidden gems in the Santa Maria Valley. With roots dating back to 1973 (the same as Bien Nacido and just a year younger than Sierra Madre) the vineyard has some of the coolest old vines on the central coast. Mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (as all the good vineyards in Santa Maria are), the property grows fruit that is reminiscent of dried herbs and earth in its ancient seabed soils.