STA. RITA HILLS AVA
The most distinctive characteristic of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation is the transverse valley running west-east, instead of the typical north-south. Consequently, the cool air, wind, and fog are funneled into the western reaches of the Santa Ynez Valley, giving it an atypically cold climate for such a low latitude. Soils are extremely diverse, ranging from mainly sand in the north, to alluvium, clay, chert, shale, and diatomaceous earth in the south.
Radian Vineyard, STA. RITA HILLS
Radian is located in the southwestern corder of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, nine miles from the Pacific Ocean and unprotected from the brunt of the cold winds and persistent marine layer. Planted in 2007 to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this is an inspiring site with 360° of exposure, precariously steep slopes and soils composed of clay loam, shale and diatomaceous earth.
LaFond Vineyard, STA. RITA HILLS
Nestled in the southeastern corner of the Sta. Rita Hills is LaFond. One of the oldest wine growing sites in Santa Barbara County, LaFond was first planted in 1971 to mainly Burgundian varietals. This Syrah block was planted in 1997. Soils are alluvial: a diverse blend of sand, silt, clay and gravel. The well-drained soils and cool marine climate make this an ideal site for growing classy Syrah.
Spear Vineyard, STA. RITA HILLS
Spear is one of the newest and most compelling sites in the Sta. Rita Hills. Planted in 2014 and farmed organically by Ofer Shepher, its northern border and steep north facing slopes hug Highway 246. Its varied elevation of up to 900 feet, and soils of both sedimentary clay loam and white beach sand make it a rarity in the appellation.
The Monterey AVA is home to eight sub-appellations, most notably Arroyo Seco, Carmel Valley, Chalone, and Santa Lucia Highlands. This vast surface area spans from the Monterey Bay to Paso Robles, and climates vary from hot in the south, to cold, windy, and downright miserable in the northwest. Soils are incredibly varied as well, containing clay or sandy loam, decomposed granite, shale, and diatomaceous earth, depending on site.
Albatross Ridge Vineyard, MONTEREY
Albatross Ridge is organically farmed by our good friend Garret Bowlus. Perched at the top of Laureles Grade, northwest of Carmel Valley, at an elevation of 1,250 feet, this site pushes every limit in winegrowing. In the wind and overlooking the Carmel Coast, degree days here are minimal (less than 2000) and so are yields (less than two tons per acre). Paired with light soils of limestone, shale, and diatomaceous earth, the wines from Albatross Ridge achieve a stunning, lithe balance at very low potential alcohol.
SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS AVA
Centered on the Santa Cruz Mountain range, this AVA covers three counties: Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and San Mateo. Elevation is one of the most definitive factors here, as vineyards are planted from 400 to 2600+ feet above sea level. The coolest sites are on the western side at low elevation, and on the ridge tops at high elevation. Sandstone is often a common thread, though clay, loam, and calcareous rock are also found. Our site is located less than seven miles from the Monterey Bay. It sits above the town of Watsonville at a low elevation of 400 feet, enshrouded by reluctant fog even hours after it's burned off at higher elevations. The soil is composed of clay loam over weathered sandstone and shale.