Santa Barbara Wine Country
Santa Barbara Wine Country 2: Melville Vineyards and Winery, and Greg Brewer by Hawk Wakawaka
Sta Rita Hills appellation starts at the opening of a valley running East from the coast. The point of the landmass at which the valley begins marks the Southern reach of an Alaskan current ushering cool water temperatures from the North. Moving East, the inland reach of the mountains’ opening absorbs warmer temperatures. Between the cool Pacific side of the valley and the inland point of it, then, a kind of breathing effect occurs. The fog air off the ocean is pulled from the Sta Rita Hills across the Santa Ynez Valley during the night, with the warmer temperatures pulled West through the day. The result is a generally reliable temperature band through the course of a day during a long growing season. In the 2012 vintage, Melville harvest began September 1 and finished December 1. It is also not unusual for budbreak to occur on Valentine’s Day.
Established in 1997, Melville Vineyards and Winery sit within the cool Sta Rita Hills AVA. The wines are made with entirely Estate fruit, growing primarily Pinot Noir, then Chardonnay, with some Syrah, and a touch of Viognier. With very little rainfall, fruit grows in incredibly dry conditions. Melville Vineyards choose to plant restorative cover crops during the winter months to help enrich the nutriets of the soil.