Monthly Archive for May, 2013

Selecting Chardonnay

5.28.13-selecting-chardonnay-1The Santa Barbara County Chardonnay was selected earlier. Today Winemaker Bruce McGuire and his staff are selecting the Lafond Winery Vineyard Designate Chardonnays. These are small bottlings usually under 300 cases.

The wines have to be exceptional to make the cut. They have selected two with a possible third, one from the Lafond Vineyard and a second from our neighbor Hilltop Vineyards. This will be the first time for Hilltop and we are looking forward to having them join us in this program.

Patio Landscaping at Santa Barbara Winery


Memorial Day Weekend – Another Reason to Visit Santa Barbara – Wine being the First, of Course

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The Wine Weirdos are at it again – and we love them!

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Tractor in Syrah 12 foot Spacing

5.18.13-tractor-vineyardNormally an image of a tractor in the vineyard puts people to sleep, but this image is interesting because the tractor is in our original planting of Chenin Blanc, planted in 1972 in 12 foot rows. The Chenin Blanc was grafted over to Syrah about 30 years ago.

The vines are on their own roots and although over 40 years old are still producing our best Syrah. We have re-planted on both sides of this bloc in 6 foot rows with Pinot Noir but we don’t dare mess with these old vines. Who would have thought that Syrah on Chenin Blanc root stock would produce good wine?

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View from Northside Vineyard

Taken with a telescopic lens from our Chardonnay bloc on the northside of the river, looking south, the winery can barely be seen behind a clump of trees just below the bare brown hill.

The riverbed is dry but there is actually a trickle flowing – most of it is underground. This ‘trickle’ keeps the wells, downstream from Cachuma dam, filled and in a dry year, like this one, we have to irrigate earlier than usual.

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Pinot Noir Today

5.14.13-pinot-setPinot Noir and Chardonnay have flowered and set. Now we only have to worry about Bambi. The lack of rain is driving deer and other wildlife closer to the river. Deer will not kill the vine but prevent growth by eating the tips of the canes.

We have some blocks that are protected by fencing but not all. The good part is deer usually eat only at the edges – we hope…

If the drought persists we may have to revisit the idea of fencing. For now the vines look good and the harvest plentiful.

Enrique Checks Vine Progress

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Wedding at Lafond Winery 5/05/13

Photos by Pablo Mendez

Suzanne Landry the Fresh Food Chef at Santa Barbara Winery

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A New Label

5.02.13-2012-pinot-noir-santa-barbara-countyWe have just drawn out of 51 puncheons, into stainless tanks in preparation to bottling, Pinot Noir from our Burning Creek block. Burning Creek was planted in 2008 and the wine is the first harvest from these very young vines.

The wine is lighter than our regular Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir but with all the character you expect from a Santa Rita Hills Pinot. We have labelled it as Santa Barbara County to distinguish from our regular Pinot but 100% of the grapes are from the Santa Rita Hills Appellation.

The label is different, as well, following more the format of our popular Santa Barbara Winery Chardonnay. The wine will be bottled in June and should be available in the fall and will sell for 17.00/750ml.

New Release: Santa Barbara Winery 2011 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

2011-pinot-noir-wg-b-csThe Santa Rita Hills is a small appellation at the western end of the Santa Ynez Valley that has gained national recognition for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The Valley runs west to east permitting the late afternoon ocean fog to roll into the Santa Rita Hills, where it lingers until early morning. The surrounding hills trap the fog before it is dissipated in the wider Santa Ynez Valley.

In the summer the fog moderates the normally warm days of the valley, cooling the grapes at night. Warm days and cool nights are essential to the developement of Pinot Noir providing the necessary acid/sugar balance.

In the spring when frost is our biggest concern a layer of fog over the vineyard can provide protection.

Winemaker Comments: We had a small concentrated crop due to Spring frost damage and strong winds during flowering. This wine is a blend of 14 seperately fermented lots which include 7 clones. Each clone contributes to the complexity and balance of the wine. Arita Hills Vineyard is an adjoining neighbor which we farm and harvest.

Gold Medal 2012 Monterrey Wine Competition

Suggested Retail: 25.00
To order: