Established in 2001, the Sta. Rita Hills AVA is a unique, ultra-cool-climate growing area located in the westernmost section of the Santa Ynez Valley. It is this macroclimate and terroir that ensure the quality of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay produced by Lindsay and Courtney’s vineyard. The AVA is situated at the foot of Point Conception, with the Purisima Mountains to the north and the Santa Rosa Mountains to the south. These mountains form the most significant western-running corridor to the Pacific Ocean from Alaska to Chile. The AVA benefits from brisk daily ocean breezes and early-forming, late-dissipating maritime fog that blankets the vineyards and makes the Sta. Rita Hills one of the coolest growing regions in the world.
The extreme nature of the Sta. Rita Hills, in particular the cold, windy climate, leads to the low yields that create Pinot Noirs of great density of color, and overall intense flavor characteristics in all wines. The soil types are varied, with marine sand, loam, clay and limestone widely found. Elevations range from virtual sea level to 1,800 feet. The area is semi-arid, with average rainfall of 13 inches annually, almost all of it between the months of December and May. This allows vintners the opportunity to give the fruit extended “hang time” for full ripeness without the menace of fall rains that afflict other Pinot Noir and Chardonnay growing regions.
A 460-acre property of which 230 acres are planted to vines, Lindsay and Courtney’s Vineyard is located on steep, south-facing hillsides with limestone soils—elements of terroir that are essential to Burgundian-style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vintners. Pinot Noir grows at the highest reaches of the ranch, with elevations to 1,000 feet. The Chardonnay is established on the rolling hills surrounding the winery. There are also four acres of Syrah planted on the western corridor.
Lindsay and Courtney’s Vineyard is subdivided into 63 microblocks that are farmed, harvested and vinified separately, which allows a meticulous level of observation and management of the vineyards, and vinification according to the specific requirements of each small block of fruit. A variety of soil types matched to appropriate rootstocks, and a broad array of clonal selections also give the winemaking team the opportunity to make wines of great diversity and character.