Southern California’s Sta. Rita Hills appellation has developed a reputation for producing some the state’s finest Pinot Noir. Located at the western end of the Santa Ynez Valley, the area benefits from the Pacific Ocean’s moderating influence. It was Sta Rita Hills’ cool climate and warm hospitality which drew Peake Ranch Winery owner John Wagner. John grew up working on his family’s lemon and avocado orchards in Ventura County, but pursued a career in finance. Ten years ago he visited Sta. Rita Hills with his wife Gill and decided to return to agriculture and open a winery. The estate itself is spread across 43 hectares, of which 20 hectares are planted to vine. The plantings include seven different clones of Pinot Noir, three clones of Chardonnay and two each of Syrah and Grenache. In addition to their estate vineyard, Peake Ranch works with two other prestigious vineyard sites: John Sebastiano vineyard and Sierra Madre vineyard. Wynne Solomon is Peake Ranch’s winemaker.
In the words of the winemaker – “Our Santa Barbara County Chardonnay integrates the two coldest AVAs in Santa Barbara, those being the Sta. Rita Hills (sourced from our Peake Ranch Vineyard) and Santa Maria Valley (sourced from our Sierra Madre Vineyard) respectively. This wine is dominated by wonderful floral and citrus aromatics with a bright, fresh energetic backbone, then finishes with a soft, subtle oak influence.”