December 11, 2020, Santa Barbara, CA — The Santa Barbara County Vintners Association (SBCVA) announced the end of the harvest season in Santa Barbara County, revealing that 2020 has proven to be another successful vintage despite California’s record wildfire season. The SBCVA is pleased to report that, though yields were slightly lower than average, grape quality is high throughout the region, with producers seeing optimal flavor development and little to no impact from the statewide heat spikes and smoke. Across the board, vintners are hopeful that 2020 could be one of the best vintages in Santa Barbara County yet.
Situated along the Central Coast between transverse mountain ranges, Santa Barbara County’s unique growing region was well removed from any active wildfires and did not sustain direct fire damage during the 2020 wildfire season. Vintners have reported that vineyards were generally unaffected by smoke and that grapes show no traces of smoke taint. In fact, according to many winemakers, grape quality looks higher than average.
“We are thrilled with our 2020 Happy Canyon wines,” said Tyler Thomas, Winemaker for Dierberg and Starlane. “While we had some trepidation due to two historic heat spells, grapevines provided inspiration for us all by demonstrating their resiliency. Good wine can always be found in challenging years.”
“While the 2020 harvest was one of the most stressful I’ve had as a winemaker and winery owner, I was very happy with the quality of the grapes I pulled in off of about a dozen different vineyards throughout the entire Santa Barbara County wine region,” said Larry Schafer, Owner/Winemaker of Tercero Wines. “Though yields were off early projections, the quality of the fruit that I did receive was above average.”
Adds Doug Margerum, Owner/Winemaker of Margerum Wine Company and Barden, “2020 wines from Santa Barbara County could be the standard bearer for quality in California. The tragedy that struck Northern California wineries did not affect the cooler climate wines from Santa Barbara County. 2020 could be the vintage that propels them to the stardom they deserve.”
“While the 2020 harvest season was marked by the challenges of Covid-19, heat spikes and record wildfires across the state, we are thrilled that winemakers throughout Santa Barbara are expressing their excitement over the quality of this year’s vintage,” said Alison Laslett, CEO of SBCVA. “We are very fortunate that Santa Barbara County was not affected by the catastrophic wildfires and are grateful that our region’s winemakers and growers are able to continue producing world-class wines from this special place. That said, our thoughts are with all our wine industry friends, especially up North, who were so heavily impacted by the fires. Our hearts go out to them during this historic year.”
About the Santa Barbara County Vintners Association:
The Santa Barbara Vintners is a non-profit 501 (c) 6 organization founded in 1983 to support and promote Santa Barbara County as a world-class, authentic wine producing and winegrape growing region. The Association includes winery members whose annual production is at least 75% Santa Barbara County (or sub-AVA) labeled, winery associates, vineyards, and business associate members. Their mission is to promote and protect Santa Barbara County’s wine industry. It produces festivals and wine country weekends; educational seminars and tastings; provides information to consumers, trade, and media; and advocates for the Santa Barbara County wine and grape industry. Visit www.sbcountywines.com for more information.