While every great appellation begins in the vineyard, it finishes in the hands of the winemaker. That artist who interprets the vineyard, chooses the fermentation paradigm and barrel regimen, nurtures the young wines for months and years, and ultimately “signs” the label with his or her reputation. It is pure Santa Lucia Highlands seen through the unique perspective of the individual vintner.
Many of the Highlands estates are “grower-only.” They focus their efforts on supplying the best grapes possible to outside wineries. But many of the SLH’s best known winegrowing estates also have their own prestige labels. Winemakers the likes of Jeff Pisoni, Garrett Boekenoogen, Joe and Charlie Wagner, Paul Clifton, Steve McIntyre, Scott Caraccioli, and Dan Lee get to work with fruit off their own vineyards, from dirt to bottle, for their own personal statement labels.
Many wineries, within and outside the SLH, purchase grapes from the appellation to craft their best releases. Adam Lee at Siduri and Novy. Michael Browne at Kosta Browne. Rob Jensen and Bill Brosseau at Testarossa. Emmanuel Kemijii at Miura. Ed Kurtzman at August West. Brian Loring at Loring Wine Co. Sabrine Rodems at Wrath. Dean DeKorth at Bernardus. Just a few of the wine industry superstars that rely on Santa Lucia Highlands’ fruit for their top vintages.