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A Sense of Place

Where warm sun and cool ocean influence create wines of purity and precision.

Watch our Drone Capture the Essence of the Santa Lucia Highlands

The Region: The Santa Lucia Highlands

Tucked against the Santa Lucia Mountains south of Monterey Bay, the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA is the source of some of America’s most renowned single-vineyard Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.

The region enjoys abundant sunshine, but cools each afternoon thanks to its proximity to one of the world’s largest submarine canyons. Located just off Monterey Bay, this expanse of cold, deep-sea water pushes both afternoon winds and nighttime fog into the Bay each day, which then pour into the Highlands, tempering the warm, dry growing conditions—an ideal combination for these two varietals.

This consistent cycle results in a longer growing season—one of the lengthiest in California—allowing the grapes to ripen gradually but fully and with deeply concentrated flavors. The end result creates wines that are rich and silky, yet retain a bright vibrancy.

Hear our winemaker describe what makes this region so special:

Watch video

The Vines

There is a dynamic set of forces at work here in the Santa Lucia Highlands, a unique set of checks and balances that brings out the best in the vineyards.

Vines here bask in abundant sunlight, but the vineyards’ southeast-facing aspect ensures the amount of direct and indirect sunlight is well-suited to the varietals planted here. The well-draining soils of the highlands stress the vines, in turn causing them to put more energy into the grapes rather than the vine’s canopy, which results in smaller berries with a deep concentration of flavors. The marine influence from nearby Monterey Bay not only cools the region each day, allowing the grapes to ripen gradually, but brings steady winds to the area each afternoon affecting the physical structure of the grape’s skins. The resulting wines are deeper flavors and have intense fruit characteristics and structure. And while the ocean is only a handful of miles away, the climate here is arid, so the final stages of the growing season typically do not run the risk of fall rains before or during harvest.

All of these forces culminate in balance: in the vine’s growth, in the grapes and ultimately, in the wine.