Santa Maria Valley
The Santa Maria Valley is the second oldest appellation in the United States, established the same year as famed Napa Valley.
Santa Maria Valley is one of the coolest climate wine production areas in California, renowned for its quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay since the 1970’s. Many wine critics consider Santa Maria Valley to be the heart and soul of Santa Barbara Wine Country. The low-nutrient sandy soil, strong Pacific winds and fog, sun-kissed slopes of the ‘Tepusquet Bench’ combine to produce small vines with limited vigor, tiny clusters and a rare combination of verve and elegance in our wines.
Paso Robles Highlands District
Defined by very hot days and cool nights, the Paso Robles Highlands District has an average diurnal temperature shift of a full 50 degrees and sits at the highest elevation of any Central Coast AVA.
The Paso Robles Highlands AVA is distinguished by younger soils than those found in the Santa Maria Valley or Santa Rita Hills AVAs. These deep, often intensely hard soils were eroded from geologic parent material formed in the Pleistocene and Old Pliocene (5 million years BCE to 10,000 years BCE). The soils tend to be alluvial (broken down by the movement of water) and tend to be less acidic (higher pH) than soils found in the Santa Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley AVAs. The Paso Robles Highlands AVA is well known for growing high quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and even the Italian wine grape Lagrein.
Santa Rita Hills
The Santa Rita Hills AVA is best known for its high intensity, dark and structured Pinot Noir and nervey, mineral Chardonnays.
Petitioned in 1997 by former J. Wilkes winemaker Wes Hagen and approved in 2001, the Santa Rita Hills is a unique series of east-west coastal valleys that channel fierce winds and dense fog. The result of the sandy soils and cool-climate in Pinot Noir production is profound: tiny berries, dense color, and wines that are famed and sought after for their big style, amazing acid structure and impressive aging potential. Soils began developing around 12 million years BCE when this area was first thrust out of the Pacific Ocean by a massive tectonic event.
Ballard Canyon, a defined, elevated watershed between the towns of Buellton and Los Olivos, CA, is best known for its intense and balanced Rhone-styled wines: especially Syrah.
The Ballard Canyon AVA is the United States’ first and only Syrah-focused viticultural area, with more than three quarters of the planted acreage dedicated to Rhone varieties. With the cool Sta. Rita Hills AVA to the west and the warmer Happy Canyon AVA to the east, Ballard Canyon enjoys both sunshine, as well as the Pacific fog and winds that moderate heat and slow winegrape ripening. Great wines are grown on the edge of where they get ripe, and the hilly escarpment and alluvial watershed on both sides of Ballard Canyon Road are a rare terroir that limits vigor, reduces berry size and yield, and allows long hang time to develop deep flavor and color in Syrah.