1. Andrew Murray Vineyards
Passionately focused on Rhône varieties, Andrew Murray Vineyards has consistently crafted highly acclaimed red wines and white wines in the Santa Ynez Valley for 20 years. His Viogniers, single-vineyard Syrahs, and blends led Robert Parker, Jr. to refer to AMV as, “…one of the shining stars in the Santa Barbara firmament.”
Andrew Murray fell in love with the emerging Rhône varieties, Syrah and Viognier, in the late 1980’s while traveling through France’s Rhône Valley. Leaving his UC Berkeley paleontology studies behind, he pursued his new mistress, Syrah, with an internship in Australia. His three-month tryst evolved into a 15-month romance with the famed Australian Shiraz. Returning to the states, he earned a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology from UC Davis’ renowned wine program, then founded his eponymous Santa Ynez winery and vineyard.
2. Beckmen Vineyards
Beckmen Vineyards is one of North America’s premier producers of Rhône varietal wines since our establishment in 1994. A family owned and operated vineyard and winery, we craft premier wines with a focus on Rhone varieties, sourcing fruit from the Beckmen Estate Vineyard, located in the Los Olivos District AVA, and our certified Biodynamic Purisima Mountain Vineyard, located in the limestone laden hills of the Ballard Canyon AVA.
The Beckmen Family
After years as leaders and pioneers in the electronic music business, Tom and Judy Beckmen, joined by their youngest son Steve and more recently by their oldest son Jeff, set out to make wines as well-crafted and distinctive as the keyboards and synthesizers that built their successful careers as founders of Roland Corp, US. The Beckmens have established themselves as a leading grower and producer in Santa Barbara County, crafting wines of critical acclaim that have been served in the finest restaurants and houses in the country (including the White House) since their inception in 1994.
Beckmen Vineyards consists of two separate vineyards with dramatically different soils and climates. Over time, we’ve let experience be our guide in determining which grapes thrive best on our two vineyards. Since 1994, we have been in constant pursuit of the ideal palette that will portray the balance of flavor, structure, color, and complexity for which Beckmen wines are known.
We have found Rhône-style grapes such as Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Mourvedre, and Counoise thrive on our Purisima Mountain Vineyard. We have also found the gravely, well-drained soils of the Thomas and Judith Beckmen Estate Vineyard to be the perfect host to our Cabernet Sauvignon vines.
Visit Beckmen Vineyards – just 2 miles south of Los Olivos, CA.
3. Fess Parker Winery
When Fess Parker purchased the 714-acre Foxen Canyon Ranch in 1988 his plan was to run cattle, plant a few acres of vineyard and perhaps someday, establish a small winery. His dream was to start a family business that he could pass on to future generations. Dreams do come true.
Eli Parker and his sister, Ashley, remain involved as stewards of their father’s vision. Ashley’s husband, Tim Snider, serves as winery President and oversees the sales, marketing and day to day operations of the winery. Blair Fox assumed the role of head winemaker in 2005.
The home ranch vineyard, named for Fess’s late son-in-law, Rodney, has earned a great reputation for the quality of its Rhône varietals, while long term contracts with some of the finest vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA are the fruit sources for the winery’s Burgundian offerings.
In recent years the winery has sharpened its focus toward production of more small lot, vineyard designated and clonal selection Rhône and Burgundian varietals.
4. Foxen Winery
Bill Wathen and Dick Doré have been making wine together since 1985, when they founded Foxen Winery & Vineyard at the historic Rancho Tinaquaic in Northern Santa Barbara County. Since that time their dedication has remained the same: the creation of small production, sustainably-farmed, vineyard-focused wines using a straightforward and minimalist approach to winemaking.
The winery is named in memory of William Benjamin Foxen, and English sea captain and Dick’s great-great grandfather. Benjamin Foxen came to Santa Barbara in the early 1800’s and purchased the historic Rancho Tinaquaic in 1837 with a Mexican Land Grant that totaled nearly 9000 acres, that comprised most of what is now known as Foxen Canyon. Captain Foxen adopted the distinctive anchor as his ranch cattle brand, which became the trademark of the Foxen Vineyard & Winery. We are proud that we have made our home on the now 2000-acre Rancho Tinaquaic, which remains in family hands.
In 2009 we completed our new solar-powered winery and tasting room, and our beloved historic “Shack” was renamed foxen 7200, and focuses on our Bordeaux and Italian-style wines under a newly designed label. Our Burgundy and Rhône-style wines are showcased at our new location just up the road.
2014 marks the 30th harvest for the Foxen Boys. Visit the original foxen 7200 and the new FOXEN at 7600 Foxen Canyon Road.
5. Gainey Vineyard
The Gainey family’s three ranches are located in two of Santa Barbara County’s most esteemed appellations: the Santa Ynez Valley and Sta. Rita hills.
Each ranch offers a unique combination of soil types, microclimate, sun exposure and grape varieties, ensuring great complexity in our wines. They grow warm climate varieties at our Home Ranch in the warmer, eastern end of Santa Ynez Valley and cool climate varieties at our Evan’s Ranch and Rancho Esperanza in the cool, marine-influenced Sta. Rita Hills appellation. All three ranches yield grapes of exceptional character, allowing Gainey to craft 100% estate-grown wines. Controlling the process from vine to bottle ensures we maintain a consistently high level of quality.
The Gainey family has long employed sustainable farming practices at the three Santa Ynez Valley ranches. Long before it became fashionable, they were using cover crops, compost, and natural soil amendments to condition soils; avoiding the use of pesticides to ensure the well-being of the environment and vineyard workers; controlling weeds by hand to prevent the use of herbicides that can leach into ground water; and relying on organic sprays to combat mildew and vine pests.
Farming sustainably reflects Gainey’s longstanding commitment to our land and the Santa Ynez Valley community.
6. Petros Winery & Restaurant
Today Hellenic wines are being recognized as some of the world’s finest – a significant transformation. In the past 10 years, Greece has been producing wine that is taking parts of Europe by storm. Besides producing wines of high quality, the wines are the “right” wine for the table. Petros wines provide a variety of options that would broaden any wine enthusiast’s collection with collaborations from Greece and with great wine makers from Santa Ynez Valley and Central Coast.
Enjoy the Petros experience and pair your wine with freshly packaged food including Petros’s award-winning dips, soups and more.
For the first time since Petros opened his restaurants, Petros Winery will offer California wines for sale. Fine culinary products carefully crafted and delivered at peak quality from his hometown of Iaonnian, Greece and the Epirus Mountains include; extra virgin olive oil, feta, oregano, volo olives, yogurt and honey.
Petros is the perfect location to host your next gathering with customized options for banquets and private parties. Groups large and small may be accommodated in the main hall, private room and/or on the patio. Allow us to indulge you and your guests with our exceptional service and celebrated wine. Please email or call for special requests.
Petros Winery is located at the head (or tail) of Foxen Canyon Road at at 3360 Foxen Canyon Rd. and will be open 2 hour after standard closing of most wineries so that you can drop by again for a final toast to the night!
Visit the Petros Winery & Restaurant site.
7. Zaca Mesa
Zaca Mesa Winery & Vineyards was founded in 1973 by John Cushman and five friends, who purchased the property the year prior. As the third winery established in Santa Barbara County, experimentation was an integral part of Zaca Mesa’s early days. Several different varieties were planted to see which grapes would be the most suited to the estate’s unique terroir. After many trials, Zaca Mesa’s first winemaker, Ken Brown, planted Syrah in 1978, establishing Zaca Mesa as the first to plant Syrah in Santa Barbara County. This block of Syrah remains the oldest Syrah block on the Central Coast, now known as the Black Bear Block.
As one of the pioneers in the Santa Barbara County, Zaca Mesa was a training ground for many. Ken Brown was our first winemaker and later started Byron in Santa Maria Valley. Adam Tolmach, Jim Clendenen and Bob Lindquist worked at Zaca Mesa before venturing out on their own to start Ojai, Au Bon Climat and Qupé, respectively.Zaca Mesa was the first Central Coast winery to appear in Wine Spectator’s Top 10 back in 1995. A year later, our Syrah was served by President Clinton to French President Jacque Chirac at a White House State Dinner. To show that we are not leaning one direction, our wines were also served at President Reagan’s 80th birthday party at the Beverly Hilton.
Since 1997, we have focused on growing the best Syrah, Viognier, and other Rhône varieties. We have ripped up over half the original vines, replacing them with high-density planting of new rootstock and clone combinations that has significantly improved our quality. We now have 10 clones of syrah and the most high density vineyard acres in the county.
Visit Zaca Mesa online here.