Benchmark Wineries

Au Bon Climat

Santa Maria Valley AVA: The estate-vineyard of Le Bon Climat is 100 acres (40 ha), farmed sustainably and planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Gewurztraminer and Aligote on vigor-reducing rootstock. 

Bien Nacido

Santa Maria Valley AVA: The area’s most celebrated vineyard. Planting began in 1970 and many of those vines, own-rooted, are still in production. Almost 900 acres (364 ha), roughly 20 miles (32 km) from the ocean. Owned by the Miller family.


Los Olivos District AVA: The Brander Vineyard, situated on 52 acres (21 ha) of land just east Los Olivos, was purchased by the Brander family in 1974. 

Byron Winery

Santa Maria Valley AVA: The Nielsen vineyard planted in 1964 was Santa Barbara’s first commercial vineyard, and has been Byron’s estate vineyard for over 30 years. Jackson Family Wines owns the winery.

Dierberg Santa Maria

Santa Maria Valley AVA: Twelve “heritage clones” of Pinot Noir plus Chardonnay planted in 1997 on the western edge of the AVA. This is an estate vineyard for Dierberg Winery, which also has vineyards in Sta. Rita Hills and Happy Canyon (Star Lane).

Dragonette Cellars

Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA: Sources fruit from Happy Canyon’s leading growers including Grassini Family Vineyard, Vogelzang Vineyard and Grimm’s Bluff Vineyard, as well as Sta. Rita and Santa Maria Valley sites.

J. Dirt Wines

Santa Barbara County AVA: The Durvita vineyard, planted in 2000, now totals over 28 acres (11 ha), with 16 acres (6.5 ha) of Pinot Noir, seven acres (3 ha) of Chardonnay, four acres (1.5) ha of Syrah, and less than one acre (0.5 ha) of Viognier. 


Ballard Canyon AVA: Jonata is a 600-acre (243 ha) estate, of which 80 acres (32.3 ha) are planted to Bordeaux and Rhone varieties. The soils are sandy.

Sanford Winery & Vineyards

Sta. RIta Hills AVA:  In 1971, the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard was the first planted in what is now the AVA and it supplied  Pinot Noir cuttings for surrounding vineyards. The Terlato family became majority owners and managing partners of the winery in 2005. 

Tensley Wines

Los Olivos District AVA: Sourced from estate vineyards and others including Thompson, Tensley produces five single-vineyard Syrah wines.