Foxen Canyon Wine Trail
The Foxen Canyon Wine Trail is home to some of the most accomplished winemakers in California, where you will find a diverse selection of world class wines.
The South of the trail is dominated by full bodied Rhone style wines where the inland climate is much warmer and where you will find syrah, grenache, and viognier. In the North, the Burgundy styles are more readily available, where the cooler maritime influence creates a climate perfect for pinot noir and chardonnay.
This is however, California, and that means a greater diversity of other varietals such as sauvignon blanc, negrette, sylvaner, sangiovese, cabernet franc can also be found on the tasting lists.
The Foxen Canyon Wine Trail Association is represented by all of the wineries with a focus on quality. Knowledgable staff, a relaxed, yet professional atmosphere as well as stunning scenery add to the complete experience. Bring a picnic lunch (or dinner) and spend the day learning more about what makes this region unique.
Throughout the year numerous events are held in this area of Santa Barbara County including Trail Association events.
Award winning winemaker Andrew Murray came of age in the wine business. When his entrepreneurial parents decided to sell their southern California restaurants, they 'retired' to 200 acres of fertile soil in the Santa Ynez Valley. As a teenager, Andrew was a willing travel companion during lengthy expeditions in France’s Rhône Valley wine region. He acted as translator as his father picked the brains of some of France’s most acclaimed winemakers. Together they planted their vineyard on steep hillside slopes, with Andrew drinking in every aspect of grape growing and wine production.
Eventually trading his UC Berkeley paleontology pursuit for UC Davis’ enology and viticulture program, he pursued his new mistress, Syrah, with an extended internship in Australia. His tryst has evolved into a full-fledged love affair with his favorite varietal. When he and his parents sold their vineyard in 2005, Andrew reignited his passion by selecting vineyards throughout the Central Coast to tease out singular compelling flavors from his flirty temptress. Not yet 40, Andrew has spent over half his life working amongst vines and presses in his unflagging quest for unique blends and distinct nuances in Rhône varietals.
Andrew’s focus, devotion, and dedication to his craft, have culminated in what Robert Parker, Jr. calls, "…one of the shining stars in the Santa Barbara firmament." This perennially youthful perfectionist has been named 'Tastemaker of the Year' by Food and Wine Magazine, as well as, ‘One of the most fearsome talents in food and wine.’ Still, despite myriad accolades, Andrew remains the same modest, approachable, contemplative man he was when he first embarked to Australia back in 1992. He is eternally dedicated to vinicultural 'Kaizen' – the unrelenting pursuit of continuous improvement.
As Robert Parker, Jr. put it, "…Andrew Murray’s offerings are a breath of fresh air given their exceptionally high quality and realistic prices – reader take note." We hope you’ll come visit us and delight in sampling the fruits of Andrew’s passionate labors.
Our wines include red wines blends, white wine blends, Grenache, Viognier, and single-vineyard Syrah from McGinley Vineyard, Watch Hill Vineyard, Terra Bella Vineyard, and Three Creek Vineyard.
Byron Vineyard and Winery specializes in handmade, small lot, artisan estate winegrowing of the highest quality and is one of California’s preeminent producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the Santa Maria Bench. As the first commercial vineyard in the region, the winery’s Nielson Vineyard has been the epicenter of experimental viticulture since its inception in 1964, and the winery helped establish the Santa Maria Valley as one of California’s premier growing regions.
Estate defines who we are and what we do. It tells us which vines to plant and where to plant them. As stewards of the land, we listen to the soil, the wind and the fog of the Santa Maria Bench. As an estate winery, we direct the farming, harvesting and vinification of every grape. Each Pinot Noir and Chardonnay we produce embodies the spirit and character of our land. More than just a vineyard and winery, our estate is our home.
The viticulture protocols have been developed over the last two decades to take advantage of the unusual growing conditions of the Santa Maria Bench. Techniques include leaf thinning to allow more sunlight on the clusters for full, even ripening, deficit irrigation to restrict vigor and focus the vine's energy on the grapes, and green fruit drop to promote the growth of densely flavored clusters.
Long before the Santa Maria Valley benchland was recognized as a great winegrowing region, the native Chumash Indians knew it as "tepuztli," meaning copper coin. Later, Spanish settlers translated the word as Tepusquet. As part of an 1837 Mexican land grant, "Rancho Tepusquet" was home to cattle and row crops throughout the 1800s.
Proprietor Barbara Banke acquired a large portion of the original Tepusquet Vineyard (planted between 1970 and 1971) in 1986 to serve as the site for Cambria winery. Over the last two decades the vineyard has been expanded, replanted and updated with new clones and rootstocks to take advantage of the unique climatic and geological conditions of the Santa Maria Bench.
5475 Chardonnay Lane ~ Santa Maria, CA 93454 805-937-8091 ~ 888-339-9463 firstname.lastname@example.org
Costa de Oro is an estate winery, producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from our “Gold Coast Vineyard” located in the Santa Maria Valley. Our goal is produce unique expressions of the vineyard, full of character and flavor. We strive to accomplish this through diligent farming and traditional European winemaking techniques. Winemaker Gary Burk trained at the Au Bon Climat/Qupé facility, where he worked in production and marketing for eight years. Today the wines are produced at Central Coast Wine Services in Santa Maria.
Owners: Burk and Espinola Families
Acreage: 29 acres; 19 Pinot Noir, 10 Chardonnay
Appellation: Santa Maria Valley
Location: Foxen Canyon Road, six miles east of Santa Maria. Atop bluff at Fulgar’s Point.
Year Planted: 1989
Soil Type: Sorrento Sandy Loam
Clones: Pinot Noir: Martini (cuttings from Sierra Madre Vyd)
Dijon 115 and 777 (cuttings from Le Bon Climat Vyd)
Chardonnay: UCD 4 and Wente (cuttings from Sierra Madre Vyd)
Trellising: Vertical Shoot Position
Spacing: 10 x 6 (726 vines per acre)
Contact: Gary Burk, Winemaker
(805) 310-3727 P.O. Box 1023 Santa Maria, CA 93456 email@example.com
Cottonwood Canyon Vineyard and Winery is a small, ultra-premium winery specializing in Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir. Founded in 1988 by the Beko family. Cottonwood Canyon joins traditional Burgundian wine-making practices with American ingenuity to produce “distinctly different age-worthy wines.”
Located just ten minutes east of Santa Maria (5 minutes off the 101) and on the northern-most edge of the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. Sitting on the corner of Garey Orcutt and Dominion Road.
The tasting room is open from 10- 5:30 daily.
Cave tours, Saturday and Sunday 11, 1 and 3, or by appointment weekdays.
For more information, call us at 805-937-8463.
Under the guidance of Winemaker Chuck Carlson, Curtis Winery is exclusively committed to the crafting of Rhône-style wines. We are inspired by the extraordinary terrain of Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley, which is today recognized as one of the world’s leading appellations for Rhône varietals. Since 1995, Curtis Winery has built a reputation for wines of quality and distinction, with an emphasis on the authentic expression of vineyard and vintage.
Curtis wines hail primarily from small standout vineyards in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. These vineyards are the estate Rock Hollow Vineyard, as well as Crossroads, Ambassador’s and Vogelzang vineyards, all of which serve as the foundation of the winery’s vineyard-designated Syrah program. Small blocks of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Roussanne are also integral to the Curtis experience.
Chuck Carlson has been making Rhône-style wines locally for more than 20 years. His winemaking style requires physiological ripeness in the vineyard, followed by minimal handling in the cellar, to ultimately achieve authentic vineyard and vintage expression. Chuck is passionate about all things “Rhône,” and he is currently president of The Rhône Rangers association. Frequently seen in colorful shirts that express his tropical affinities, Chuck has earned the nickname “Calypso” from his friends and colleagues.
Established in 2005 Demetria Estate is a family owned winery. Our goal is to produce wines of distinction and character rivaling those of the world’s greatest estates.
Demetria Estate includes two separate portfolios of wines, both capturing the singularity of the vineyards and the region from which they originated.
The offerings comprise of varietally honest manifestations of pinot noir, chardonnay, pinot gris and pinot blanc farmed sustainably in the Santa Rita Hills appellation of Santa Barbara County.
We also farm biodynamically our Rhone-based wines of consequence and environmental merit. This estate vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley includes syrah, mourvedre, grenache and viognier, roussanne, marsanne and grenache blanc.
Founded in 1989 by actor/entrepreneur Fess Parker (of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone fame) along with his son Eli and daughter Ashley, three generations of the Fess Parker family are dedicated to a single mission: crafting wines of uncompromising quality and character.This year marks our 20th year of producing diverse, Estate Grown, Burgundian and Rhone wines in Santa Barbara County.
Family-run by Fess’ son, Eli Parker - President and Director of Winemaking and Vineyard Operations, along with Fess’ daughter Ashley Parker Snider - Marketing and Public Relations liaison, and son-in-law Tim Snider -Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
Founded in 1972 by father and son, Leonard and Brooks Firestone, Firestone Vineyard has enjoyed 35 years of family stewardship. Recently, so that they might concentrate on their burgeoning beer business and smaller Curtis Winery, the Firestone family decided to sell their iconic winery. In doing so, they turned to fellow Santa Barbara vintner Bill Foley (Foley Estates Vineyard and Winery, Lincourt Vineyards) as the logical next shepherd for the famous property. As the Firestone's identified earlier on, Bill, too, recognized Santa Barbara County as the ideal location for the production of world class wines. Bill has vowed to continue the Firestone tradition in striving for the very best in vineyard management and cutting edge winemaking discipline.
The vineyard focuses on optimal physiological balance in the vines yielding wines that are brightly flavored, crisp and delicious. Estate Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah vineyards are located on a series of mesas that have gravelly sub-soils, ideally oriented for perfect exposure. The Firestone Vineyard tasting room offers regular winery tours, delicious wines to sample and an idyllic setting for al fresco picnics. Visit the "new" Firestone Vineyard and experience the vision of hospitality that is shared by Bill Foley and the Firestone Family!
Bill Wathen and Dick Doré have been making wine together since 1985, when they founded Foxen Winery and Vineyard at the historic Rancho Tinaquaic in northern Santa Barbara County.
Since that time, their dedication has remained the same—the creation of very small-production, vineyard-designated wines using a "minimalist" approach to winemaking. The winery is named in memory of William Benjamin Foxen, an English sea captain and Dick's great-great grandfather, who came to Santa Barbara in the early 1800's. In 1837, this Santa Barbara County pioneer purchased the Rancho Tinaquaic, a Mexican Land Grant that originally totaled nearly 9000 acres and comprised most of what is now known as Foxen Canyon. Captain Foxen adopted the distinctive "anchor" as his ranch cattle brand, which has become a trademark of the winery. It is very fitting that FOXEN has made its home on the 2000-acre Rancho Tinaquaic, which remains in family hands.
With the completion of FOXEN’s new solar-powered winery and tasting room in August 2009, the historic and beloved “tasting shack was renamed “foxen 7200”, where Bill and Dick now feature their Bordeaux and Cal-Ital-style wines, under a newly designed label. FOXEN pinots, chardonnays and Rhône-style wines will be showcased in the new tasting room at 7600 Foxen Canyon Road.
Both FOXEN and “foxen 7200” tasting rooms are open daily, 11 to 4.
Reservations are required for groups of six or more.
Ken Volk has been making Santa Barbara and Central Coast wines for more than a quarter century and has earned a reputation for crafting world-class wines, particularly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Santa Maria Valley.
Kenneth Volk Vineyards is on Tepusquet Road, in the northeastern part of Santa Maria Valley, at the mouth of Tepusquet Canyon.
A combination of outstanding vineyards and innovative winemaking techniques help Kenneth Volk Vineyards craft uniquely-styled luxury wines. Our primary focus is Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley, a region long renowned for Burgundian varietals. Santa Maria Valley's unique soil, paired with the cooling influence of the sea, provides the ideal growing conditions for these wines. Our Santa Barbara wines come from some of the region's most acclaimed vineyards, among them, Sierra Madre, Bien Nacido, Solomon Hills, Garey Ranch, and the historic Nielsen Vineyard.
Kenneth Volk Vineyards is proud to announce the formation of the Cellar Door Club. This is a uniquely progressive wine club that offers our members one of the finest portfolios of California wines. It has been structured to appeal to the computer savvy adult who enjoys interacting and communicating via the World Wide Web.
Situated on the celebrated Foxen Canyon Wine Trail in the Santa Ynez Valley, Koehler Winery is located in one of California's most diverse and distinctive growing regions. The micro-climatic diversity on the 100 acre estate results in a superb quality of fruit, and Koehler's 30 year old vines are recognized as among the best in the Santa Ynez Valley and surrounding area.
When Kory Koehler acquired the property in 1997, all of the estate grapes were being sold to local wineries. Koehler soon recognized that some of the best wines in the valley were being produced with grapes harvested from their vineyards, and she resolved to launch her own winery and tasting room. From the start, Kory Koehler's vision was to create a world-class winery committed to making premium wines at affordable prices. Koehler began by turning the property over to one of the most skilled and knowledgeable vineyard managers in central California, Felipe Hernandez. Felipe painstakingly tends the sixty-seven acres planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Syrah, Sangiovese, Grenache and Viognier.
Koehler Winery's friendly and inviting tasting room is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Weather permitting, guests may also partake of a sip of wine on the spectacularly beautiful grounds, surrounded by the Koehler family's own remarkable menagerie of unusual animals and exotic birds. So come, sit back and enjoy - life doesn't get any better than this.
Located in northern Santa Barbara County along the Sisquoc River 14 miles east of Santa Maria, Rancho Sisquoc is part of an 1852 Spanish Land grant. The Chumash Indians called this area” Sisquoc”, which meant “gathering place”. Today Rancho Sisquoc is again a gathering place, this time for wine lovers.
Our estate wines are proudly hand-crafted from grapes grown on our 37,000 acre ranch. Unique micro-climates in our vineyards allow us to grow Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone and Tuscan varietals. At Rancho Sisquoc Winery we believe in crafting quality wines in small quantities. As one of the first wineries in the now famous Santa Barbara County wine region we have been around long enough to know that great wine is born from great vineyards. Here on the ranch we have over 300 acres of superb vineyards for our award winning estate wines. We pressed our first Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling grapes in 1972 and opened to the public in 1977. From our humble beginnings of 500 cases per year, the winery now produces over 18,000 cases annually under the direction of winemaker Alec Franks.
The historic San Ramon chapel overlooks the entrance to the ranch, and also adorns every wine label. The scenic driveway winds past cattle pastures, farming fields and maybe a deer or two. The tasting room welcomes visitors to a charming and relaxed rural setting. Spend a day in the country, visit the ranch and enjoy a picnic on the grounds.
RiverbenchRiverbench Vineyard is situated on the southeastern edge of the Santa Maria Valley, an appellation known for its diverse microclimates and ideal conditions for growing Burgundian varietals. This distinct wine region is characterized by the valleys in our Pacific coastline which run east to west instead of the more common north to south. Such a geographic peculiarity channels the cool ocean breezes inward, resulting in a mild and moderate climate where Pinot Noir and Chardonnay thrive.
Our vineyard is situated on the Santa Maria Bench, which is land made up of alluvial soils. These soils are formed of sediment deposited by flowing water thousands of years ago, and typically contain particles of clay, silt, sand and gravel. They are extremely fertile because of their medium to fine textures; yet they are shallow in depth which allows for a great growing medium with a boundary that does not encourage the vines to become overly vigorous. Since our benchland is of a rocky or gravelly nature, it provides excellent drainage and in turn allows vineyard growers to define growth without a large amount of outside input.
Riverbench Vineyard was planted in 1973 as one of the Santa Maria Valley’s first vineyards. Originally, the vineyard consisted of 220 acres of Chardonnay and 55 acres of Pinot Noir, and in 2007, we added an additional 37 acres of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Viognier. In the coming years these selections will be available through the tasting room.
Our goal remains to produce the highest quality grapes in our vineyards, resulting in unparalleled wine quality. Riverbench is committed to sustainable winegrowing practices that are environmentally sound, socially equitable, and economically feasible. Keeping these sustainable practices in mind, we not only produce a superior product, but we are able to help protect the environment, conserve natural resources, maintain the long-term viability of our vineyard, and support the economic and social well-being of our employees.
Sierra Madre VineyardThe Sierra Madre property, one of the oldest in the Santa Maria Valley, was first planted in 1971. In 1975, Dale Hampton took over management and eventually purchased the property with partners. With considerable demand for Santa Maria fruit coming from the larger growing regions, Hampton wanted to ensure that San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County vintners would be assured of this fine local resource for their wines.
In the early '80s, wine critics began to take notice. Noted wine writer Mike Stepanovich called Sierra Madre Vineyard "one of the state's – make that the nation's – best Pinot Noir vineyards," citing consecutive awards for Sanford Winery, Byron Vineyard & Winery, and Wild Horse Winery for "Best American Pinot Noir," all from Sierra Madre fruit.
In 1996, Mondavi purchased the property and replanted the vineyard under Byron winemaker Ken Brown’s auspices. Brown planted using a multitude of rootstock and clone combinations, so as to offer Byron a variety of choices, as well as the opportunity for great complexity of blends. This planting experiment is an important milestone in Sierra Madre’s history, as the outcome is a rich component in Sierra Madre’s terroir.
In early 2003, strawberry grower Doug Circle purchased 500 acres of Sierra Madre Vineyard from Mondavi, with a plan to reintroduce the site to a multitude of great winemakers. Since then, winery clients have included a veritable "who’s who" of Central Coast wineries, many of whom have or will be producing Sierra Madre vineyard designated wines.
This precious parcel is in good hands with Circle. His more than 30 years in agriculture, in both farming and business, uniquely qualifies him to be the next shepherd for Sierra Madre Vineyard. In partnership with the highly respected Mesa Vineyard Management Company, he is constantly researching, learning, and implementing new farming techniques to guide this very special vineyard to new heights.
In 2006, Doug Circle convinced celebrated winemaker, Ken Volk a longtime fan of the vineyard, to craft 10 tons of Pinot and 3 tons of Chardonnay for a Sierra Madre Vineyard branded wine, the first in the vineyard's long and distinguished history. In 2007, the winemaking reins were handed over to another Central Coast legend, Steve Rasmussen.
Our wines include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris – all of which are, of course, 100% estate. www.sierramadrevineyard.com
Tres Hermanas Vineyard & Winery was founded in 2001 by Marvin & Paulette Teixeira with the planting of a small vineyard on their cattle ranch.
Tres Hermanas (Three Sisters) was named for the couple’s three daughters, Stacey, Tracey & Marcey.
Our label is a picture of the 1940’s barn that exhibits the JT cattle brand, which was Marvin’s parents cattle brand, which is still being used today to identify their cattle. The barn exists on the winery property.
The ranch is still headquarters for the family cattle operation.
Our first harvest was in the fall of 2003 with the tasting room opening in July of 2007. We produce small case lots of Pinot Gris, Riesling, Roussanne, Refosco, Estate Syrah and several Cuvees’.
Winemaker Luke Lindquist focuses on the creation of French and Italian Style wines, using fruit from some of the leading vineyard s on the Central Coast, along with our own Estate Syrah Vineyard.
Zaca MesaThe original property was purchased in 1972 by a group of ambitious investors. They planted the vineyard in 1973. With few other vineyards to learn from, the vineyard was originally planted with numerous varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Chardonnay, and Syrah.
Zaca Mesa was one of the first wineries in Santa Barbara County since Prohibition. As the vineyard grew and viable production began, a winery was built on the estate in 1978 and later expanded in 1981.
By the early 1990’s, we had determined that the varieties (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Viognier, and Roussanne) grow the best on our site. We, then, decided to focus on the grapes varieties of the Rhône Valley of France. Our decision was reinforced in 1995 when Wine Spectator placed our 1993 Syrah #6 on their Top 100. It is still the only Santa Barbara County wine to break into their top 10. Additionally, our Syrah was served by President Clinton to French President Chirac at the White House.
As one of the pioneers in the Santa Barbara County, Zaca Mesa was a training ground for many. Ken Brown was our first winemaker and later started Byron in Santa Maria Valley. Jim Clendenen and Bob Lindquist worked at Zaca Mesa before venturing out on their own to start Au Bon Climat and Qupé, respectively. Other alumni include Lane Tanner, Daniel Gehrs, Chuck Carlson of Curtis, and Adam Tolmach of Ojai.
By 1988, the ownership group was reduced to just one of the original investors and that has not changed since. The Cushman family has a passion for winemaking and a long-term commitment to quality.
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