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.
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.
Pelio Vineyard, MONTEREY
Pelio is located next to Albatross Ridge, northwest of the Carmel Valley appellation of Monterey. At 1,000 feet and six miles from Monterey Bay, this site is truly on the edge of viticulture. Clay loam is littered with diatomaceous shale, evidence this area was under the sea until about 12 million years ago.
Coastview Vineyard, MONTEREY
Located on a ridge top 2,300 feet up the Gabilan Mountains, Coastview is one of the most dramatic sites on the Central Coast. Thin soils of decomposed granite and limestone are planted to chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah, and grenache. Organically farmed.
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, sand, and calcareous rock are also found.
Gali Vineyard, SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS
Gali is located in the Corralitos sub-district of southeastern Santa Cruz Mountains. At the low elevation of 400 feet and approximately six miles from the ocean, this is one of the coolest sites in our lineup. Soils are clay loam weathered from sandstone and shale, formed on ancient submarine terraces. Though not fully organic, no herbicides are used and watering is quite minimal.
Zayante Vineyard, SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS
Planted in 1988 by Greg Nolton on the ocean side of the central Santa Cruz Mountains, Zayante sits at 1,200 feet. Own-rooted, dry farmed, and certified organic, this is a true mountain site. Soils are Lompico clay loam, material that was weathered from sandstone, shale, conglomerate, and granodiorite.
Bald Mountain Vineyard, SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS
The preeminent Bald Mountain Vineyard is owned and farmed by the Beauregard family in the Ben Lomond Mountain sub- AVA of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Planted in 1990 to 33 acres of chardonnay and seven acres of pinot noir, it sits at 1,000 feet on a southwest facing slope and is surrounded by giant redwoods. The cool climate and white, sandy Zayante soils translate to wines with intense energy and linear structure. Organically farmed.