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Sanford Winery

Sanford Winery Thirty-three years ago, pioneer winemaker, Richard Sanford and botanist, Michael Benedict planted the Sanford & Benedict vineyard, the first Pinot Noir vineyard in the region. At the time, vineyards in this area were unheard of. The local farmers warned, “Grapes will never grow around here”. But, with his degree from UC Berkeley in geography, Richard felt that the soil and climate of this portion of the Santa Ynez Valley were a close parallel to Burgundy, home of the Pinot Noir Richard was hoping he could produce here in California. After five years of passionate work in their vineyard, the first Sanford & Benedict wines were released in 1976 to rave reviews. With the wines so well received, the vineyard quickly gained international recognition and forever changed the perception of the area’s winegrowing potential. The two partners parted ways in 1980. In 1981 Richard and Thekla Sanford established Sanford Winery, producing their first wines at the Edna Valley Winery facility where they also met the young assistant winemaker, Bruno D’Alfonso. In 1982 they planted a small vineyard at Rancho El Jabali in the Santa Rita Hills east of the Sanford & Benedict vineyard. The Sanford offices and tasting room remain at El Jabali to this day. The production facility was moved to a warehouse in Buellton in 1983, and Bruno D’Alfonso became the Sanford's winemaker. In 1990, Robert Atkin, a businessman from England, purchased the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard and asked Richard to farm it, as he had in the past. Sanford Winery regained access to the grapes from Sanford & Benedict and Mr. Atkin later became a minority partner in the winery. Sanford Winery has grown slowly and steadily. The wines continued to improve and recognition in the form of reviews and awards flowed in as Sanford quietly focused on quality. Although still a small, family owned operation, by the mid 1990’s, Sanford wines were in demand in all 50 states and in 16 countries around the world. In 1996 Sanford planted a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyard at Rancho La Rinconada, adjacent to the west of Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. The first vintage from Rinconada was in 1999 and it was heralded as one of the finest pinot noirs made in California. Richard Sanford’s dream of building his own sustainable adobe winery was realized in 2001 with the completion of the new facility at Rancho La Rinconada Vineyard. Built entirely of hand made adobe bricks, stone and recycled timbers, the winery is a testament to Richard’s commitment to the environment and his love for California Mission architecture. The new winery is a fascinating combination of Old World design, “green” construction materials, and state-of-the-art winemaking technology. In 1999 Richard & Thekla planted Sanford’s fourth estate vineyard, Rancho La Vina. To the west of Rancho La Rinconada, La Vina (100 acres) is planted primarily in Pinot Noir and the first harvest will be in 2003.


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Address Web Social
5010 Santa Rosa Road, Lompoc, CA, US, 93436 Email:
Phone: 805-735-5900 Web:
Fax: 805-688-7381
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  La Rinconada Pinot Noir
Planted in 1997, La Rinconada Vineyard is adjacent to the old Sanford & Benedict Vineyard and shares its soil and climate. The main difference here is the clonal selection. The Rinconada is made from Dijon clones 777, 667 and 115 for an expansive richness rarely found in Pinot Noir. This wine has been lauded as one of the finest Pinot Noirs available. From our new vineyard planted to Dijon clones, the wine is dark plum, dark cherry fruit with deep chocolately nuances, lush, viscous, opulent; aged in 100% new French oak 20 months. A dense, goes-on-forever finish complements meat and game dishes, rich enough for prime rib of beef.
  La Rinconada Vineyard Chardonnay
The La Rinconada is Sanford's reserve style Chardonnay. This wine spends a minimum of a year in barrel, usually in 100% new French oak. We then give this wine some extra time in bottle prior to release. It is not filtered and is known for its balance, richness and style. This is for those who appreciate Chardonnay at its finest. All single vineyard fruit, but harvested from several different blocks with several different clones, this wine is barrel-fermented to a total dryness in all-new French oak barrels, then aged 18 months. Bottled without filtration, the result is an intense wine with still-bright acid highlights showing lemon-vanilla spice, citrus and tropical fruit notes. This would be excellent paired with rice chicken dishes, and shellfish preparations with creamy sauces.
  Pinot Noir - Vin Gris
The Vin Gris is a dry rose style wine made entirely of Pinot Noir. Instead of 2 weeks (as with our Pinot Noirs) this wine spends a couple of hours in the press on skins and then goes to neutral French oak barrels for fermentation. This wine is outstanding as an aperitif, with spicy foods or on your boat on a warm afternoon. This is serious rosé and a favorite of the winery staff. 100% Estate Pinot Noir, pressed from the skins and barrel fermented to create a frefreshing dry rosé with strawberry and raspberry-like aromas, perfect for brunch or BBQ, especially in warm weather and outdoor settings. Lively fruit flavors and floral aromatics are buttressed by a racy minerality in the finish. Try with main course salads, sandwiches and picnic fare, or something exotic like a rich lamb curry. Also very compatible with a myriad of appetizers (spring rolls, fried ravioli, new potatoes with caviar, etc.)
  Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir
The Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir comes from the original vines Richard Sanford planted in 1971. These 32 year old vines are the oldest Pinot Noir vines in the Santa Ynez Valley. Primarily from the Mt. Eden selection, this wine is always highly aromatic and classically Burgundian. This wine is fermented in 100% new French Oak for 18 months and is not filtered. This is a pedigreed wine that ages well. Wonderful aromas of blackberry, black cherry, mineral, lavender and spice, with a rich core of fruit flavors that are plush yet structured, with lively acidity and firm, ripe tannins. Drink now through 2007. 1,200 cases made
  Sanford Chardonnay
Our Chardonnay is a barrel fermented blend from all three of our estate vineyards in Santa Rita Hills. Bruno uses mostly seasoned barrels to give the wine a fresh fruit-driven presence without a lot of heavy oak. This is a balanced, elegant and versatile wine that has served as a Santa Barbara benchmark for over 20 years. Up-front aromas of lemon, vanilla, butter and honey lead to more subtle notes of flowers, nutmeg, and white pepper in this crisp, fresh 2002 Chardonnay. Oak aromas are restrained, and fruit flavors of tart apples and essense of pineapple shine through, finishing with a hint of crème bruleé. Its firm structure can handle rich poultry dishes, cheeses, grilled seafood, and creamy pastas.
  Sanford Pinot Noir
The Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir is made entirely from estate fruit from our three Santa Rita Hills vineyards. This wine spends about 10 months in French oak barrels (25% new) and is not filtered. Fruit forward with a long, complex finish, it works well with most cuisines. This wine compares favorably with domestic Pinot Noirs and Burgundys at twice the price. Our estate Pinot Noir never disappoints. Wonderfuly intensity and vibrancy of flavor, with a core of dusty blackberry and blueberry fruit that's supported by firm acidity and a chewy, minerally quality. Firmly tannic, too, so it's best to decant. Drink now through 2007. 10,000 cases made.
  Sauvignon Blanc
Sanford's Sauvignon Blanc is a winemakers' wine. Exotic and stylistic, this wine has intense aromatics from the Gewurztraminer that Bruno includes in the blend. Like the winemaker, this wine is dramatic with a big following. Our 2002 Sauvignon Blanc reveals intense aromas of fresh herbs and sweet flowers, bolstered by flavors of crisp citrus and lychee fruit. This is our first-ever bottling of Sauvignon Blanc that is 100% estate-grown, from our organically-farmed vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills AVA. It should be excellent with assertive, spicy foods such as Thai cuisine or ceviche.


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