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Santa Barbara, CA

Whitcraft Winery

One of Santa Barbara’s guiding lights in Pinot Noir

When the Whitcrafts founded this pivotal estate, they drew influence from some of the best names in the wine world including Burt Williams, co-founder of Williams Selyem. Burt and Chris became not just colleagues but the best of friends as they built Whitcraft into a local treasure. The years went on, as they always do, and eventually Chris' son Drake joined the family business. In 2004, Drake assumed winemaking responsibilities at the winery and hasn't looked back since.

Natural yet exceedingly ageable wines

Experimentation has long been a calling card

Bottling wines unfined and unfiltered is old hat here, yet contrary to arguments that people like me make about this more "natural" approach to winemaking, ageability has never been a problem. In fact, there may not be a Pinot Noir producer in California with a better pedigree for wines going the distance. What strikes me about these wines, and always has since I first poured them on my tasting menu pairing back in Boulder, is their clarity. It's not so much that you can see or taste the vineyard--you can feel it. The breezes whipping through the Sta. Rita Hills or the sunshine burning off fog over Kick-on Ranch. There is a mystical quality that haunts you and will never let you go. I sincerely hope you have the chance to experience that with these wines.