When VINO LAS VEGAS goes on the road we try to learn everything
we can about the area, wines produced and its history. As far as
appellations go, the Sta Rita Hills is
not very big but produces wines with
what we call a distinct signature. The Sta. Rita Hills appellation includes about 1700 planted acres within a 10 square mile area. Located between the towns of Buellton and Lompoc, the region is bounded by the La Purisima Hills to the north and the Santa Rosa Hills to the south, and intersected by the Santa Ynez River.
This area's unique soils and climate distinguish the grapes grown there from the ones in the warmer vineyards to the east. A typical day in Sta Rita Hills starts with marine layer clouds and fog, which usually burn off by 10am , then two or three hours of sunshine until the on-shore winds pick up, cooling things down again. This maritime influence, combined with the sedimentary soils with patches of limestone is the perfect place to grow the appellation's Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The region continues to innovate with progressive farming techniques as well.
We have traveled in this area extensively over the years. What we enjoy about the Sta Rita Hills is the fact the most of the growers are still farmers. Because this area is relatively new, many of the pioneers that first grew grapes in the area in the 70's and 80;s are still applying their trade and are available to advise the younger growers and winemakers that have moved into the area over last 15 years . The camaraderie among the growers and wine makers is impressive. We have heard on many occasions how they help and advise each other all for the common good of the appellation.
The Sta Rita Hills is very unique and has geologic characteristics that can be found nowhere else in the country and it shows in the wines that are grown and produced in this appellation. The Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnays from the Sta Rita Hills should not be missed when looking at a wine list the next time you are dining.
There are many events throughout the year held in the Sta Rita Hills. Any of them is worth a visit. For more information about the Sta Rita Hills please go to http://www.staritahills.com
|Sta. Rita Hills AVA (wine region)|
|Appellation type||American Viticultural Area|
|Year established||2001, amended 2005|
|Part of||California, Central Coast AVA, Santa Ynez Valley AVA|
|Total area||30,720 acres (12,432 ha)|
|Size of planted vineyards||1,700 acres (688 ha)|
|Grapes produced||Barbera, Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Dornfelder, Grenache, Mission, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Viognier, Zinfandel|