Dangerous Pinot Noir - Centralas Santa Rita Hills

Our Vineyards

What does a shark-infested coastline have to do with world-class, organically grown Pinot Noir?

We’ll come back to that.

Centralas wine is always made from grapes grown in organically or biodynamically farmed vineyards. That’s a guarantee. It’s the foundation of what we do, because it is the reason we do it.

We are as passionate about supporting agriculture that is part of the solution to our environmental issues as we are about wine. Lucky for us (and you!) both passions blend beautifully.

The sign above is what you’ll find if you drive highway 246 west through the Santa Rita Hills all the way to the Pacific Ocean. It’s a reminder of the vineyards’ connection to the ocean. The uniqueness of the Santa Rita Hills AVA begins in these dangerous waters. One of the only East-West mountain chains on the West Coast of the Americas forms a corridor that funnels ocean wind deep inland, into Santa Barbara County.

The hot, dry autumns of Santa Barbara are ideal for ripening grapes, but can be too extreme for Pinot Noir. However, the corridor of the Santa Rita Hills uses the ocean influence like an air conditioner, providing the perfect cool, misty micro-climate that allows Pinot Noir to ripen gradually and develop deep and vibrant complexity without scorching.

The shark attack sign is bad-ass, just like this region and the Pinot Noir that comes from it.

We’ve sourced our Pinot Noir from one of the very small number of certified organic vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills AVA. Our Pinot Noir is a single clone 667 from a single block in a single vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills – one of the most exciting places for Pinot Noir outside of Burgundy. The first wine Adam ever bought for $50 – because it was so freaking good – was made from the single clone 667 from a single block in a conventionally farmed vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills. Over 15 years later, we’re thrilled to be producing this wine from certified organic grapes.

A little further inland, where this ocean influence diminishes, we source our grapes that can take the heat (and do great things with it) like Grenache & Syrah & Mourvedre. The vineyards for these varieties are meticulously biodyamically farmed.

The Grenache and Syrah that go into our 2019 barrel-aged rosé are grown in an isolated and wild vineyard in a warmer canyon of Santa Barbara County. Far from roads and towns, this biodynamic vineyard produces grapes that reflect the terroir as naturally as if they were native to it. They retain an electric energy (some might say “minerality”) while ripening to come-hither plushness. This leads to bottles of barrel-aged rosé so delicious that we feel the need to remove our wedding rings before drinking them.

Mourvedre grown biodynamically in Santa Barbara County vineyards will likely have a big part to play in the future of Centralas. We love this as yet unsung grape for the wines it makes, both red and rosé, and for its potential to deal with climate change and its impacts in Santa Barbara. Mourvedre loves hot, dry weather, and actually requires it to ripen fully. It is France’s southernmost noble grape for this reason, and it will surely make an appearance in future Centralas vintages.