Wenzlau Vineyard is located on the western end of the Santa Rita Hills appellation, northwest of Santa Barbara, California. This small, family-owned vineyard comprises just 12 ½ planted acres (5 ½ Chardonnay, 7 Pinot Noir), yet it sits on a 100-acre parcel that runs from the Santa Ynez River up through the hills & canyons of the Santa Rita Hills (between Sea Smoke and Mt. Carmel Vineyard). This provides the vineyard with ample untouched space for constant air circulation and natural biodiversity that they believe is extremely beneficial for growing the best quality fruit.
The vines are rooted in clay and limestone soils, and are planted on south facing hillsides that steeply climb up the Santa Ynez river front property. A cooling ocean fog floods its way up the river valley in the evenings and mornings creating a unique microclimate with an ample diurnal shift. This allows for grapes to slowly ripen while maintaining the natural acidity as well as the development of flavors at lower sugar levels. The Wenzlau’s are also committed to organic viticulture which they feel allows a natural and honest expression of the terroir.
The wines are made by the talented winemaker Justin Willett who also makes wines under the Tyler label. The winemaking is done with a light touch to create wines of poise, elegance and energy. This includes minimal handling, small doses of new oak, and little or no lees stirring on the Chardonnay.
The production at Wenzlau is a mere 500 cases total. In the future, there will also a very small production Sparkling Wine.