The Santa Rosa Hills are the Southern boundary of the Sta. Rita Hills Appellation. The East-West Santa Rosa Road follows the Santa Ynez River through the appelation. The soils here are clay-loam based, with varying levels of gravel and rocks providing drainage.
The 1839 Rancho Santa Rosa land grant covered 15,555 acres and the locals referred to these parts as the Santa Rosa district, or “The Rosa”. Our grape-growing and winemaking are inspired by the essence of this place.
Sta. Rita Hills – our home
Winegrowing took off in the Santa Ynez Valley in the 1970’s. The Santa Ynez Valley AVA was recognized in 1983, and because of the steep temperature gradient East-to-West (up to 1º per mile difference). A variety of grapes can be grown, from the cool west end more similar to Burgundy or Alsace, to the furthest inland, where Bordeaux varieties thrive. Richard recognized this trait also presented a challenge in introducing the wines of the region, as the press took note of Cabernet Sauvignon developments in the 1990’s. He and a group of growers in the far west corner of the Santa Ynez Valley AVA started work on documentation to propose a new AVA with a more homogenous cool mesoclimate, where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay dominate the vine landscape.
Why “Sta. Rita” and not “Santa Rita”?
The Santa Rita Hills AVA was approved in 2001 and soon, the nomenclature was challenged by a centenarian winery in Chile, the eponymous Viña Santa Rita. Facing a potential lawsuit that could damage the region’s identity, Richard reached out to the Chileans and, meeting them first in London and then travelling to Chile, he secured a noble arrangement, where the AVA would be spelled “Sta. Rita Hills” (“Sta.” being the Spanish abbreviation for “Santa”) without any lawyers involvement. We remain friends with the chilean to this day.