Born out of perfect climate and exceptional soil the Sanford Winery sits alongside the Santa Rita Hills on Santa Rosa Rd. in Lompoc. The majority owners of the winery include Anthony Terlato and his sons Bill and John who have elevated the estate to producing some of the finest Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the valley.
They are an environmentally conscious winery using recycled lumber, they make adobe blocks onsite that house the winery and eliminate the need for heating or air conditioning in the cellar and using gravity to move the wine from tanks to barrels to bottling. They also take special care to hand harvest the grapes.
There are two tasting rooms. The first, at the vineyard is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Recently an additional tasting room was opened in Santa Barbara on State St., which is open daily from 12 noon to 6 p.m. daily.
The winery tasting room is a two-story building with a rustic cabin design. Built from some of their repurposed lumber and adobe it can accommodate several larger groups. Groups of ten or more require a reservation.
There are a variety of flights offered including mixed, white and red flights ranging from $15 to $20. Wine club members receive up to four free tastings with each visit including any of the prepared flights or six samples of any wines across the tasting menu.
A recent tasting included the following flights.
Classic flight, $15
- Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills 2010
- Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Viognier, Sta. Rita Hills 2010
- Pinot Noir-Von Gris, Sta. Rita Hills 2011
- Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 2010
- La Rinconada Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 2010
Library flight, $20
- Dominio Del Facon Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 2008
- Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 2007
- Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 2008
- La Rinconada Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 2008
- Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 2008
- Vista Al Rio Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 2008
The server, Gary was amazing. He was extremely knowledgeable on the winery, the processes to create their wines, the climate benefits, the soil content and anything else you could possibly think of. He was willing to discuss everything on the menu in detail and even made the room happy by turning up the music when he learned several of the guests were fans.
Gary made the tasting a great experience and the best one of the day. Other wineries should try to steal him away or at least follow his format of welcoming everyone thorough the door as an old friend.
The wines were just as amazing as he described them to be and well deserved of the 90+ points awarded to them by “Wine Spectator” and “The Wine Enthusiast”. Those to take note of were the Sauvignon Blanc from the Classic flight and both the Dominio Del Falcon Pinot Noir and 2007 Pinot Noir from the Library flight.
Pours were generous and an offer to revisit any of the wines was made and the hardest decision was which of the wines not to taste again.
The Wine club offers four options for membership and the choice of three, six or 12 bottles to be shipped four times a year. The more bottles you choose the bigger your discount. The club offers a mixed shipment, reds only, whites only and the option to receive limited production wines. Members also benefit from the regular discounts associated with most clubs on purchases at the winery, merchandise and special events as well as free tasting for up to four while visiting either one of the tasting rooms.
You can follow along with Sanford on both Facebook and Twitter. Social media offers discounts and announcements on special events like the five day Library tasting which we were lucky enough to be around for. They also give a glimpse of the process and pictures of the vast vineyards but there is no need to follow both you will find the same information posted to each website.
With delicious wines and a knowledgably and friendly staff there is no reason you shouldn’t be wine tasting at Sanford. If you are in the Lompoc area don’t miss out on the Pinot Noir and the chance to learn about how it is made.
I will make it one of my must visit wineries each time I am in the area.