The bucolic vineyards of California’s Central Coast always enthralled Sam as a child, when he used to bike through them with his father; however, this isn’t necessarily where the story begins. Years later, a nagging desire for wine knowledge and the proximity to good surf led him to Bordeaux: the perfect place to study French and economics for a semester. This coincided with the iconic Bordeaux vintage of 2009, and opened his eyes to the world of wine. Though somewhat reticent and cold, Sam’s French host family did eat and drink well; their pairing of confit de canard with ’89 Margaux on a cold Sunday afternoon in November serves as a poignant memory for Sam.

Clearly, wine and everything it embodies are still the most cerebral and captivating experience for him. Making Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley and Syrah in the Northern Rhône, and cutting his teeth as assistant winemaker for Margerum Wine Company gave him the opportunities to find where his palate and California’s cool Central Coast terroir converge.

SAMUEL LOUIS WINES is dedicated to making honest wines of balance, freshness, and finesse. In the future, the core of SLW will be made with dirty fingernails and estate grown grapes. For now, Sam is dedicated to sourcing fruit from the most distinctive honestly- and sustainably-managed vineyards from the Sta. Rita Hills to the Santa Cruz Mountains. He is also head winemaker at the historic Morgan Winery, a pioneer of organic viticulture and traditional winemaking in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA.

Watercolor paintings, also found in black and white on the labels, are Sam’s originals.