A ridiculously great wine from our friend Drake Whitcraft. Drake's elegant, whole cluster approach is truly a gift to us in Santa Barbara. All of his wines are made in the same method giving us an unfiltered look at the individual terrors of our best local vineyards. Hell. Yes. Native, Unfiltered, Unfined, Low SO2 at Bottling. Give.It.To.Me.Daddy - Oh, and did we mention this is the most legendary vineyard in Santa Barbara? In the Sta. Rita Hills, it all began with Sanford. In 1971, the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard became the first vineyard in what would become a world class, cool climate winegrowing region. Botanist Michael Benedict and his friend Richard Sanford were committed to finding a cool climate region and location with just enough heat accumulation to ripen, but not over ripen, wine grapes. A location where they could plant and grow grapes and craft wines, where the quality might equal the best of the best in Europe. Michael began researching and touring the cool coastal regions of California in search of a region and site that would suit this mission. After an incredible amount of research, observation, collection of data and analysis, Michael believed he had found the perfect location - one which possessed just the right combination of weather patterns, overall cool climate and varying soil conditions. His analysis took him to a unique part of the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County and right to the foot of the property that would ultimately become the Sanford & Benedict vineyard. The first vines were planted in 1973, and soon the Pinot Noir from this remote vineyard created a buzz. Others soon followed, wanting to capture the magic of this place. It was the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard which would form the backbone of what is now the Sta. Rita Hills AVA and it was also this vineyard that supplied the cuttings for many of the surrounding vineyards. ---
Chris and Kathleen (Barnato) Whitcraft started Whitcraft Winery in 1985. Chris hosted a local wine radio program in Santa Barbara County for more than ten years and learned his craft from some of the best winemakers in California - Joe Heitz (Heitz Cellars), Dick Graff (Founded Chalone Winery and its AVA), and Burt Williams (Williams Selyem & Morning Dew Ranch) to name a few. What began as a hobby grew into both a passion and a lifestyle, the commitment to which is present to this day in every bottle of our wine. This passion for wine was passed on to their children, Drake and Alyssa. While Chris passed in 2014, Drake continues to carry on the tradition of excellent winemaking within the Whitcraft family.