Pence Vineyards & Winery
- Santa Barbara, California, United States
Pence Vineyards & Winery is part of a 220-acre working ranch located in Sta. Rita Hills (a sub-AVA of Santa Barbara) owned by Blair Pence. Blair, a Burgundy lover, began planting the vineyard in 2004, and after researching the various soils on his property divided it into 20 different blocks.
The vineyard is located on the eastern edge of Sta. Rita Hills, near the coast and at a relatively higher elevation (450 feet). Cool ocean air is constantly flowing though the site keeping it at a lower temperature than the surrounding areas.
The soils in the lowlands of Sta. Rita Hills are known for being marine sedimentary and sandy, but due to the elevation, Pence has clay and limestone which, combined with the coolness of the site, makes it a suitable location for cooler climate grapes like Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay and even Syrah. The vines are farmed 100% organically and there are olive and almond trees planted around the property.
Respected vintner Sashi Moorman makes the wines and they reflect his penchant for producing elegant and balanced wines. Restrained but never austere these wines showcase his exemplary handling of Burgundian grapes to express the singular terroirs of California.
General winemaking is as follows: Fermentation is always with native yeasts for both the Pinot Noirs and the Chardonnays with no SO2 added at crush. The Pinot Noirs are fermented in four-ton open top concrete tanks and includes some whole cluster. Aging is done in neutral French oak for anywhere from 9-15 months. The Chardonnays are barrel fermented in 15% new French oak ranging in size from 59-400 gallons. After complete malolactic fermentation, the wine remains in 30% new French oak for 9-12 months.