The Vineyards

The Vineyards

Cool Climate, Santa Barbara County Vineyards

Pinot Noir is all about “place.” When grown with care (and patience!) and treated well at the winery, this grape will express a vineyard and region like no other varietal. We work with very dedicated and passionate vineyard owners, growers and management teams who farm Pinot Noir to showcase “place.”  The other varietals that we source, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, are farmed with equal attention. Many of the vineyards we source from are SIP certified, which means Sustainability in Practice, including Ampelos, Bien Nacido, Riverbench, Solomon Hills and Sierra Madre. Click here for a printable version of this map.

Flying Goat Cellars Vineyards Map

Ampelos Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills AVA

Ampelos Vineyard

Rebecca and Peter Work

In 2016, Flying Goat began sourcing sparkling wine Pinot Noir from Ampelos Cellars. You’ll have to wait a few years to taste this delicious sparkler but we’d like to peak your interest.  Ampelos is the first vineyard in the U.S. to be certified with a “trifecta” in all 3 practices: biodynamic farming, organic farming and sustainability in practice. We are thrilled to partner with Rebecca and Peter Work in what will be our 6th expression of Goat Bubbles. SIP, Organic and Biodynamic Certified!

Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley AVA

Bien Nacido Vineyard

Ladeen, Nicholas and Stephen Miller

Flying Goat Cellars began sourcing grapes from old vines at Bien Nacido Vineyard Block N in 2010. We source Martini clone from the original 1973 plantings that came from stock grown by the University of California, Davis, and grow on their own rootstock. In 2013, we also began sourcing clone 115 from Block N. The vineyard has 12 x 7 spacing and vertical shoot positioning (VSP) trellis system. Soil type is Elder loam and Elder shaly loam. The historic Bien Nacido Vineyards is an iconic American vineyard and is said to be “the most vineyard designated vineyard in the world.” In 1969, the Millers, a fifth generation California farming family, purchased two adjacent parcels, which had been part of an original Spanish land grant, and reunited the two as Rancho Tepusquet. In the early 1970’s, premium varieties such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were planted in this cool climate growing region, boasting one of the longest growing seasons in the state. The combination of the terroir of Bien Nacido Vineyards, the people who manage it, and the close relationships they have developed with others in the regional wine industry makes Bien Nacido Vineyards and the Santa Maria region unique in the wine industry. SIP certified!

Clos Pepe Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills AVA

Clos Pepe Vineyard

Cathy and Steve Pepe

Flying Goat Cellars sourced Clos Pepe Vineyard Pinot Noir clone 115 for Goat Bubbles Blanc de Noirs from 2007-2014. Owned by Steve and Cathy Pepe, Clos Pepe Vineyard is set in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. The Pepes leased the vineyard out to Kathryn Hall in 2015; fruit is no longer available to us. Of the 29 acres planted in vines, 25 acres were planted in Pinot Noir and 4 acres in Chardonnay.  The Pepe’s farming methods focused on detail and sustainability, employing the same crew year-round so the same hands pruned, cultured, tended and harvested the vines. Former vineyard manager Wes Hagen controlled the design, planting, farming and harvest of the vineyards. The tierra sandy loam soils are rich in calcium and calcareous shale. They produce low-vigor vines and a tiny crop of mineral-laden, intensely flavored fruit. Normal yields are 1-2 tons per acre. Buy it while you can, our Clos Pepe Blanc de Noirs will not be around for long!

Dierberg Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley AVA

Dierberg Vineyard

Mary and Jim Dierberg

Flying Goat Cellars was lucky to be one of the first wineries to craft a Pinot Noir from the meticulously farmed Dierberg Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley. Planted in 1997, it has predominately sandy loam soils and southern exposures. Rolling hills sit on a windswept mesa that is caressed by the maritime breeze from the Pacific Ocean. Two blocks have designated rows for Flying Goat – one with clone 115 and one with the classic Martini clone, also known as clone 13. Wines from this vineyard are truly unique and greatly sought after. Our first release from the Dierberg Vineyard was in 2001; it’s now a library wine that still rocks! The Dierberg Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley is the oldest of three vineyards in Santa Barbara County owned by Jim and Mary Dierberg. Bankers by profession, the Dierberg have also owned one of America’s oldest wineries, Hermannhof, since 1974. Hermannhof is located in their home state of Missouri, where Jim was raised in a farming tradition. California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance certified.

Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills AVA

Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard

Bill Foley

Norm helped to develop this former horse property beginning in 1998, when he relocated to Santa Barbara County to be the winemaker at Foley Estates. Needless to say, he knows the vineyard intimately. Situated in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, the 230-acre estate vineyard is sub-divided into 59 micro-blocks, all planted to a varietal, rootstock and clone that best suits the soil, microclimate and aspect of that particular location. Pinot Noir blocks are all situated in the highest reaches of the ranch, with elevations to one thousand feet. Flying Goat has sourced from several different blocks within the vineyard but always with the Dijon clone 667, which results in one of our most opulent wines. The vineyard is cooled by the usual Sta. Rita Hills morning fogs and afternoon breezes and is protected from the worst of the winds by a neighboring hillside. Financier Bill Foley’s dream to produce world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay near his Santa Barbara home motivated him to develop Rancho Santa Rosa. He continues to acquire vineyards and wineries all over the world.

Rio Vista Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills AVA

Rio Vista is the eastern most vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation and has a warmer microclimate. Norm remembers being flattered when he received a letter of invitation to source grapes from property owners Graner and Bobbie Thorne. Subsequently, Flying Goat was one of the first wineries to release a Rio Vista designated wine in 2003.

Rio Vista Vineyard

Graner and Bobbie Thorne

The property was planted and is meticulously farmed by John Belfry of Buona Terra Farming. There are three different vineyards at Rio Vista and Flying Goat has sourced Pinot Noir from each. Rio Vista Vineyards North and South, located east of Santa Rosa Road, were planted in 2000. The third vineyard, located west of Santa Rose Road, was planted in 2006. Flying Goat receives clones 2A, 115, 667 and 777 from Rio Vista, offering three clonal-designate wines – clone 2a, clone 667 and our Dijon clone blend. Most of the vineyard rows run North – South with some East – West along a west-facing hillside and unfold onto the valley floor surrounding the Thorne’s historic family headquarters. The dominate soil series present are limestone, sedimentary soils and a marine layer of sandy loam. The trellising system is vertical shoot positioning (VSP). The cover crop usually is barley, sometimes a legume and wild flowers will be used.

Riverbench Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley AVA

Riverbench Vineyard

Riverbench Family of Owners

Riverbench Vineyard was established in 1973, when its first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes were planted on the property. For years since then, some of the most renowned wineries in Santa Barbara County have purchased the fruit for their own wines. Over time Riverbench has become a prominent name for high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Santa Maria Valley. In 2004, a group of local families purchased the property. Wine drinkers themselves, the owners quickly became enamored with the wine industry and decided to start producing their own wine label, Riverbench Winery, using small quantities of their exceptional fruit. Flying Goat sourced Pinot Noir from Riverbench Vineyard from 2010-2015 for blending in our YNOT label.  SIP Certified!

Salisbury (Bassi) Vineyard, San Luis Obispo County

Salisbury Vineyard, Bassi Vineyard

John Salisbury and the next generation of farmers

John Salisbury planted Salisbury Vineyard in 2000 and farmed all the property until 2012, when Rob Rossi took back ownership and renamed it Bassi Vineyard. In 2013, Mike Sinor purchased the property for his Estate Vineyard and it is now farmed by Pacific Vineyard Company. It is the most coastal vineyard on the Central Coast, less than two miles from the ocean. The vineyards are on a series of slopes in the Avila Valley of San Luis Obispo County, located above an old gravel quarry. A gap in the coastal hills allows overnight fog that burns off by late morning. The same gap channels a cooling breeze that picks up mid-afternoon. These two effects keep the average temperature around 60 degrees, (from 50 to 72), ensuring a long ripening season while maintaining acidity. The Flying Goat blocks are some of the highest in the vineyards, and are on a west-facing slope. Our first harvest from this vineyard was in 2005 with clone 2A; we added clone 115 with the 2006 vintage. John Salisbury is a 6th generation California farmer whose family has been continuously farming in California for over 160 years, originally in the Sacramento Delta. Our last vintage from this vintage is 2014 in large format only. It’s delicious!

Solomon Hills Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley AVA

Solomon Hills Vineyard

Ladeen, Nicholas and Stephen Miller

Located just east of highway 101 and Clark Avenue, near the city of Santa Maria, the Solomon Hills Vineyard is the most western vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley winegrowing region. It is owned and farmed by the same team that manages the famed Bien Nacido Vineyard nearby. The vineyard is split in two by Clark Avenue, and the soil profile is shallow, well-drained sandy loam. Grapes for Flying Goat’s vineyard designated Pinot Noir from Solomon Hills come from a one-acre block on a southwest facing slope on the south side of Clark Avenue. The block is just visible from Highway 101, just downhill from the water tower. Clone 113 was chosen for its aromatic, unique profile. The vineyard section to the north of Clark supplies Pinot Noir grapes for Goat Bubbles Rose. The Flying Goat block is a very long single row of clone 23 Pinot Noir, a clone often used in sparkling wines. The grapes are picked early – at about 19 Brix – when the sugars and acids are in balance. The early flavor development and lively acidity of clone 23 is perfect for Goat Bubbles. SIP Certified!

Sierra Madre Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley AVA

Sierra Madre Vineyard

Jan and Doug Circle

Sierra Madre Vineyard is the most northern vineyards in Santa Maria Valley, only 15 miles from the coast, and benefits greatly from its unique marine influence. As its proximity to the ocean dictates, the soils of Sierra Madre Vineyard are marine by nature, and made up of sandy to sandy-loam textures. Soil vigor is low, which contributes to extensive root development, lower yields and concentrated fruit. Two types of sandy loam soil series exist here: Garey sandy loam and Pleasanton sandy loam. Both are well-drained and low in organic material. The Garey series has been deposited over many years by deep water drain ways, and is characteristic of wind modified terraces. The Pleasanton series soils were formed in alluvial deposits derived from sedimentary rock, and have a cobbly clay loam sub-soil. Flying Goat sources clone 15 from the 91.4 acres of Chardonnay, clone 159 from the 5.8 acres of Pinot Blanc and clone 152 from the 11.97 acres of Pinot Gris. SIP certified.

An affiliate of E. & J. Gallo Winery purchased 542 acres of the Sierra Madre property in May 2018. Previously, Doug and Jan Circle had stewardship of the historic Sierra Madre Vineyard from 2003-2018. In 2011, we celebrated 40 years of the vineyard’s rich history with the Circles. First planted to vineyard in 1971, Sierra Madre has a long, storied history of producing some of the highest-quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Santa Barbara County.


Salisbury Vineyard Dierberg Vineyard Solomon Hills Vineyard Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard Rio Vista Vineyard Nielson Vineyard Sierre Madre Vineyard