Sanford Winery & Vineyards planted the first Pinot Noir vines in the heart of the Santa Rita Hills, a region now heralded for that varietal. Five years later, the winery released its first wine, giving critics the first taste of the potential of Santa Barbara wine country—an area where cool morning fog gives way to warm afternoons—providing an ideal climate for the classic Burgundian varietals, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
When Anthony Terlato and his sons Bill and John became majority partners, they applied their more than 50 collective years of experience in the wine industry, plus a passion for winemaking that served to elevate the quality of Sanford wines.
“Our commitment to Sanford is deep and unwavering,” says Anthony. “With this incredible soil, we will take our time and do what is right to produce the finest wines.” One thing they did right was hire Steve Fennell as their winemaker in 2006. “I bring an integrated approach that draws on my expertise in the vineyard as well as in winemaking,” Steve says. “For me, it’s about treating the soil with respect, achieving consistent and high-quality grapes, and crafting elegant, fruitforward wines that are the finest expression of the Santa Rita Hills.”
Sanford’s picturesque mission-style winery and simply magnificent rolling open terrain, backed by miles of scenic hills, inspired the Terlato family to create a beautiful new tasting room that would complement the award-winning architecture of the winery. Built, in large part, from reclaimed materials, including 100-year-old salvaged lumber from a barn in Washington State, the tasting room echoes an enchanting log cabin feel that leaves guest feeling like they’ve discovered a vacationer’s retreat.
This attention to detail is routinely noted by top wine reviewers. Wine Enthusiast gave the 2006 Sanford & Benedict Pinot Noir 93 points, and veteran writer Frederic Koeppel placed it on his list of the Top 50 Wines of 2008.