The most distinctive characteristic of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation is the transverse valley running west-east, instead of the typical north-south. Consequently, the cool air, wind, and fog are funneled into the western reaches of the Santa Ynez Valley, giving it an atypically cold climate for such a low latitude. Soils are extremely diverse, ranging from mainly sand in the north, to alluvium, clay, chert, shale, and diatomaceous earth in the south.

Spear Vineyard, STA. RITA HILLS

Spear is a young, yet very exciting site in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills. Planted in 2014 and farmed organically by Ofer Shepher, its northern border and steep north-facing slopes hug Highway 246. Varied elevation reaches 900 feet and soils are comprised of marine sedimentary clay and sand. Our chard block is primarily sedimentary clay.


The Monterey AVA is home to eight sub-appellations, most notably Arroyo Seco, Carmel Valley, Chalone, and Santa Lucia Highlands. This vast surface area spans from the Monterey Bay to Paso Robles, and climates vary from hot in the south, to cold, windy, and downright miserable in the northwest. Soils are incredibly varied as well, containing clay or sandy loam, decomposed granite, shale, and diatomaceous earth, depending on site.

Samuel Louis Smith vineyard

Pelio Vineyard, MONTEREY

Pelio is located next to Albatross Ridge, northwest of the Carmel Valley appellation of Monterey. Planted in 2003 at 1,000 ft and six miles from Monterey Bay, this site is truly on the edge of viticulture. Clay loam is littered with diatomaceous shale, evidence this area was under the sea until about 12 million years ago. Organically farmed.


First planted in ‘86 in the Chalone appellation of the Gabilan Mountains, east of the Salinas Valley and in the shadow of the Pinnacles National Monument at 1600-1900 ft. Decomposed granite and limestone soils in this high desert climate create a compelling terroir for growing earthy, structure-driven wines. Organically farmed. 

Samuel Louis Smith vineyard
Samuel Louis Smith vineyard

Coastview Vineyard, GABILAN MOUNTAINS

Located on a ridgetop at 2200-2400 ft in the Gabilan Mountains, Coastview is one of the most dramatic sites on the Central Coast. Thin soils of decomposed granite and limestone are planted to chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah, and grenache. Organically farmed.

Cortada Alta Vineyard, SANTA LUCIA HIGHLANDS

Planted in 2014 by the late John Peterson, at 1100-1600 ft is the highest elevation site in the Santa Lucia Highlands. On many days this stunning site is right at the fog line, and its well drained mountain soils are composed of granitic sandy loam with some calcareous content. Organically farmed.

Samuel Louis Smith vineyard
Freshly harvested grapes


Located in the northern section of the Santa Lucia Highlands, an 18 mile-long northeast facing bench in the windswept Salinas Valley. The mountainside appellation divides the Santa Lucia mountain range to the west from the Salinas Valley floor to the east. Incredibly cool climate thanks to nearby Monterey Bay, the pairing of granitic loam and new graftings of gamay noir at Escolle is an SLH renaissance.


Centered on the Santa Cruz Mountain range, this AVA covers three counties: Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and San Mateo. Elevation is one of the most definitive factors here, as vineyards are planted from 400 to 2600 ft above sea level. The coolest sites are on the western side at low elevation, and on the ridge tops at high elevation. Sandstone is often a common thread, though clay, sand, and calcareous rock are also found.


Gali is located in the Corralitos subregion of the southern SCM. At the low elevation of 400 ft and approximately six miles from the ocean, this is one of the coolest sites in our lineup. Soils are clay loam weathered from sandstone and shale, formed on ancient submarine terraces. In conversion to organics.

Samuel Louis Smith vineyard
Man looking at vineyard


Located in the Summit subregion of the SCM, Nelson was planted in ‘99 after spending 30 years as a Christmas tree farm best known for silvertip firs, a variety that thrives at higher elevations. At 1700 feet, the vines growing in sandy loam and chunky sandstone are surrounded by redwoods and firs. Organically farmed.

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