Sta. Rita Hills
Santa Rita Hills AVA is in Northern Santa Barbara County, between Buellton and Lompoc, and is a sub-appellation of Santa Ynez Valley. It is approximately 700 acres planted mostly to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with small amounts of Syrah, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewurtztraminer, Riesling and other varieties.
The Santa Rita Hills are part of the rare transverse mountain range that runs east-west, which provides a direct channel for coastal fog and wind to the greater Santa Ynez Valley... but it all passes through SRH. The climate is influenced by the ocean’s chill and its moderating effects.
This is a rough place to grow grapes. Winds whip off the Pacific Ocean almost all day long, almost every day. When it’s not windy, it’s foggy. The temperatures rarely climb over 80 degrees in the summer, but they also rarely dip below mid-50’s and 60’s into November.
The hills are white with diatomaceous earth, beach sand, clay and shale. The soils are tough and nutrient deprived.
This is an exciting place to grow pure, expressive, and complex Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.