Winc's Winemaking Heart Lies in Santa Barbara County

Category: Drink

Winc has a passion for and belief in Santa Barbara as a wine growing region. After a few decades of trial and error to find the right microclimates, diverse varietals are now thriving out of Santa Barbara County. Winc's Director of Winemaking, Ryan Zotovich, has been making wine in the area since 2005, under the likes of Steve Clifton of Palmina Wines and Victor Gallegos of Sea Smoke. Here is what Ryan has to say about Santa Barbara County and Winc's love affair with the area. 

As a college senior about to graduate with a degree in viticulture, I was trying to figure out what my next step would be. I knew I wanted to grow amazing grapes that would be turned into incredible wine.  My initial thought was to move to Northern California, specifically Napa, because I assumed that was the best region in California. What I quickly learned was that the culture there wasn’t for me. I distinctly remember being upset, feeling as if I had put everything into a degree and job that wasn’t who I was as a person.

That’s when I found the Central Coast. And I fell in love with Santa Barbara County in one day, knowing it was where where I wanted to live and make wine.  Everyone gets up at 4AM to pick fruit, works hard all day to process it and then finishes the day with an interetering wine and a discussion as to why they like it and the region it came from. I was hooked. After one season working in SBC, I came to really appreciate the region’s geology, microclimates and unique terroir - all of which produce some of the best wines in California.

Santa Barbara County is the only transverse mountain range on California's west coast. What this means is that, despite being one of the most southern growing regions in the world, we can still grow grapes that belong in the cooler regions. The diverse range of climate is exciting as a winemaker because I can have a Cabernet vineyard twenty minutes away from a Pinot Noir vineyard, with a Syrah vineyard in between. Couple that with the fact the soils here are perfect for grapes and you have an outstanding region to grow wine in.

Outside of winemaking, Santa Barbara County also caters to my favorite hobbies. The area has a tradition for BBQ, and has a great deal of options for outdoor activities ranging from hiking to mountain bike riding to diving. For me, SBC is a special place both personally and professionally - and it’s where Winc’s wine making heart lies.