Situated in a valley flanked by east-west mountain ranges, Santa Maria Valley benefits from cool temperatures and coastal fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean. Soils, however, differ greatly from those in the Sta. Rita Hills. With a higher sand content, Santa Maria Valley’s soils promote lush, opulent wines, fusing complex cherry and spice characteristics.
This distinguished property is the oldest commercial vineyard in Santa Barbara County, planted by pioneer Uriel Nielson in 1964. The vineyard is situated on an upper bench that is perfectly suited for both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Chardonnay vines were replanted in 1999 using cutings from the original old vines, which included the famed Wente clone, still considered California’s highest quality Chardonnay clone. In the 1990s Pinot Noir was added to the property following intensive vineyard trials to determine the best combinations of clone, rootstock and planting density for this site.