Posted on October 25, 2023

Presqu’ile Winery Acquires 1,100 Acres in Sta. Rita Hills to Develop New Sustainably-Farmed Vineyard

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (Oct. 25, 2023) — Arc Vineyards, LLC, an affiliate of Presqu’ile – the family-owned winery in the Santa Maria Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) whose mission is to produce elegant cool-climate wines and deliver genuine Southern hospitality to guests – has purchased 1,100 acres in the famed Sta. Rita Hills AVA where it plans to develop a new sustainably farmed vineyard.

The first phase will include planting 45-acres with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah in spring 2025. Fruit from the new site will be used in Presqu’ile’s portfolio and be available for sale to select wineries.

Along with wines made from its current 123-acre estate vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley AVA, Presqu’ile has a long history of sourcing from other preeminent sites throughout Santa Barbara County, including Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills AVA, which will now be its neighbor.

“We expanded our single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay offerings to the Sta. Rita Hills beginning with the 2020 vintage. The wines from that area express a wholly different terroir than our Presqu’ile Vineyard and are an exciting addition to our family of wines,” said Presqu’ile’s President, Matt Murphy.

“Our discovery of this land presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to acquire an unplanted tract, with an exciting address and the freedom to develop and farm the property as we see fit. We are looking forward to planting what we believe will be a world class vineyard site, not only for ourselves, but also for the benefit of other wineries in the area interested in high quality fruit from the Sta. Rita Hills,” Murphy said.

Formerly known as Donovan Ranch, the site is located on Santa Rosa Road near Sanford & Benedict Vineyard and features steep hills with ocean views and wide expanses of cattle-grazing pastures. The site was most recently home to Iron Angel Ranch, a small now-defunct cannabis-growing operation.

“This is one of the last jewels yet to be discovered in the Santa Rita Hills,” said Presqu’ile’s Vineyard Manager Andrew Heilbrun.

“It checks all the boxes with clay, loam and some various stone layers among the soils. It’s a property of slopes, it’s breezy and has large diurnal temperature shifts, and because it’s mostly cattle grazing land, it’s organic matter is some of the highest I’ve seen in the Central Coast. I’m honored to have the opportunity to help bring out this site’s potential.”

Of the 1,100-acres, only 200 acres are plantable, so Presqu’ile is exploring avenues on how to protect a large swath of non-farmable land via a conservation easement that aligns with Santa Barbara’s new Recreational Master Plan, which could include hiking trail systems through the area.

“We are doing our early due diligence and exploring conservation easements and other stewardship opportunities,” said Madison Murphy, Presqu’ile’s Co-Founder. “We are certainly encouraged by Santa Barbara County’s efforts with its Agriculture Ordinance and Recreational Master Plan, especially its incentives for landowners, and look forward to a continuing dialogue as we move forward.

About Presqu’ile At Presqu’ile, our mission is clear: the relentless pursuit to deliver elegant cool-climate wines and genuine Southern Hospitality in the heart of the Santa Maria Valley. Presqu’ile (pronounced press-KEEL) is a French/Creole word meaning “almost an island,” or peninsula. The name pays homage to our family’s former gathering place on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. For generations it was a place rich with joy and the warmth of the human spirit. Our estate winery honors that way of life and we hope to engender the same conviviality among family and friends through every bottle and every visit. Open daily except Tuesdays | | IG + FB: @presquilewine