Santa Barbara Highlands
The Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard is unlike any vineyard on California’s Central Coast. Over 60 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, the property covers rolling hills and mountain plateaus at an elevation ranging from 2,800 to 3,200 feet above sea level. Cutting a path through the property is the Cuyama River, which supplies most of the property’s water, as Highlands receives only 5 to 12 inches of rainfall annually. (Six of those inches are provided by snowmelt, which regularly recharges the river’s supply.) This extreme aridity translates to excellent ripeness on a regular basis, even in the most challenging of vintages. Passive frost prevention from nearby hills opens cold air drains, moving cold air into the vineyard and out along the river; while active management comes from sprinklers in low-lying areas. Uniquely, the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard has little pest pressure, allowing for minimal pest control-input farming. The Cuyama River contributes beneficial bench lands and alluvial soils to the wide array of soil types across the property, including everything from rocky sands to loamy clays. This broad spectrum of soils is highlighted in the wines: Lighter textures ripen fruit faster, giving jammy fruit flavors, while heavy clays mature fruit more slowly and show more spice and earth characteristics.