Sanford’s founders were pioneers of the Santa Rita Hills; it was here, in 1971, that geographer and navy veteran Richard Sanford and botanist Michael Benedict realised that the conditions were perfect for making Burgundian style wines. They planted vineyards much to the amusement of the local farmers, but their hunch was proved right in 1976 when their first vintage gained global acclaim; Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir now ranks among the best in the world.
Sales of Pinot Noir rose by 16% in Western United States and Britain in 2005 after the film ‘Sideways’, a wine-tasting road trip set in the Santa Barbara wine region. It is thought that this may have been influenced by one of the key characters constantly referring to the quality of Pinot Noir.
Each summer morning, a cooling dense Pacific fog moves through the valleys until the sun’s heat pushes this marine-influenced air back to the ocean. This makes the growing season about one month longer than most other California grape-growing regions.
Dijon clones, new French oak, natural minerality and fresh acidity all add up to perfectly balanced multi-layered wines that are rated amongst the best in the world.
Sanford are fully committed to producing wines in a sustainable fashion; operating in harmony with nature, cover crops are grown in the vineyards and they have established a 50 hectare conservation area. Resources are limited in the Santa Rita hills, so management of water and energy, and working with nature makes perfect sense when the results are such excellent wines.