Presqu'ile Vineyard

In 2007, after an extensive search that spanned the West Coast of the United States, the Murphy family acquired an ideal unplanted 200-acre property in the hills of the Santa Maria Valley. Over the next two years, the Murphys, along with Santa Barbara County Vineyard Manager Jim Stollberg and Winemaker Dieter Cronje, meticulously planned the design of the Presqu’ile Vineyard with an emphasis on diversity. To achieve their vision, they mapped the site's deep sandy soils, distinct airflows, patterns of sunlight, hillside angles and elevations. With the insights derived from these measurements, they planted the vineyard to maximize the diversity of row directions, spacing, clones and rootstocks. To further augment this diversity with older vines, Presqu’ile also acquired an adjacent 11-acre parcel of Clone 777 and 667 Pinot Noir vines planted in 2001. Collectively, the result is a winemaker's dream, offering a treasure trove of individual blocks and sections, allowing Dieter to craft complex and layered small-lot wines.

Vineyards on the hillside at Presqu'ile Winery in Santa Maria, California

One of the most essential elements in what makes the Presqu’ile Vineyard so special is the valley itself. The Santa Maria Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) was established in 1981, making it the second oldest AVA in California after Napa Valley. It is also one of the world’s most unique AVAs. Along with the nearby Sta. Rita Hills, the Santa Maria Valley benefits from the only two transverse mountain ranges on the entire West Coast of North and South America. Framed between the San Rafael Mountains to the north, and the Solomon Hills to the south, this geographic feature creates a natural funnel, drawing in cool marine air. Additionally, ocean temperatures just off the coast of Santa Maria are typically only about 55˚ to 59˚ F, further cooling the ocean breezes funneled into the valley. As a result, the average annual temperature is just 64˚ F, resulting in a true cool-climate viticultural region boasting one of the longest winegrowing seasons in California (125 days on average).

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