Sanford Winery: The Role of Barrels in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Country

Sanford Winery Rancho La Rinconada Truck
Visiting Sanford Winery is like a trip down memory lane because the founders of this winery pioneered the region, putting both Santa Barbara County and Sta. Rita Hills on the map as a prominent wine producing areas for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Meeting the current owner, John Terlato, and Winemaker Steve Fennell, one realizes they respect the winery’s legacy as they move forward to its future. I found listening to John speak about the barrels and how the various types of barrels affect his wines most interesting.

Sanford Winery History

Before discussing barrels, one must understand the history of Sanford, the vineyards and who started it all. It began with Michael Benedict and Richard Sanford, who were determined to find a cool climate region to grow grapes. I was fortunate to meet Michael on my visit to the Sanford Winery. Michael has a background in biology and taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He researched and toured the central coast to find his ideal region for growing grapes. His quest ended when he discovered the terroir now known as the Sanford and Benedict Vineyard.

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This excerpt comes from an article published in FWT Magazine.

Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer attended a hosted wine tasting. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.