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A Visit to Lompoc’s Sta. Rita Wine Center

Wine and California have become synonymous. The state makes 81% of U.S. wine and is the fourth-largest producer globally, according to the Wine Institute. Our quaint town just north of LA has developed the Sta. Rita Wine Center, a premier wine-tasting destination with four wineries all represented in a single convenient location in Lompoc.

Lompoc, a quaint town just north of LA, has developed the Sta. Rita Wine Center, a premier wine tasting destination with four wineries all in one convenient location.

The Sta. Rita Hills offer the perfect farming conditions

The Sta. Rita Hills are known for their outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wine production. While many would assume that Southern California’s climate is too warm to grow grapes, the region’s rugged hills create an ideal farm setting for wine makers.

The Sta. Rita Hills are flanked by the Purisima Hills to the north and Santa Rosa Hills to the south. These mountain ranges funnel cool ocean breezes and fog into the area, which helps create a cool climate that’s perfect for grape varieties like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

In fact, the cool temperatures extend the growing season 45 days longer than other growing regions in California, explains Wine Folly.

A closer look at the wineries

With the right climate, the Sta. Rita Hills has become a wine hub in southern California. A trip to Sta. Rita Hills Wine Center is a must. When you visit, here are the four wineries you’ll get to check out: 

Kessler-Haak Vineyard and Wines

The Kessler-Haak Vineyard is family-owned and operated. Dan Kessler and his wife, Ellen, fell in love with the Sta. Rita Hills area, bought 40 acres, and planted 30 acres of grapes in 2005.

The owners are very involved with the entire growing and producing process and live on the vineyard.

Swing by the tasting room and try the Symphony Pinot Noir or the Syrah Rose, along with several other kinds of signature wine.

Kita Wines

Kita Wines is a small, premium winery located in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. The winery was founded in 2010 by Tara Gomez, a member of area’s founding tribe the Chumash Indians. Gomez studied wine making for years, learning under different experts, and traveling around the world to research old-world wine-making styles.

She uses her knowledge to craft original wines, which include Sauvignon Blanc, T’aya, and Grenache Rose. Give them a try in the tasting room.

Transcendence Winery

Transcendence Winery is a small husband-and-wife winery dedicated to making Syrah, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. Joey Gummere and his wife, Sara, created their first bottle of wine back in 2006. The gift was meant to cheer up a family friend who had become ill. This moment was the inspiration to start a winery that made wines with a purpose.

Transcendence celebrates all of life’s events that are shared over a bottle of wine. The winery works with a number of non-profits and gives a portion of all proceeds to those in need.

While visiting the tasting room, try the Grimm’s Bluff Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon or the G Street Pinot Noir.

Zotovich Vineyard

Zotovich Vineyard is a family-owned boutique winery with a 40 acre vineyard. The owner, Steve Zotovich was a wine collector before becoming a vineyard owner. He bought the vineyard 15 years ago and now works closely with Ben Merz, the vineyard manager, to control every detail in the vineyard and winery. With such high quality control, Zotovich is able to farm amazing grapes that produce amazing wines.

When you visit, try the ZOTO Chardonnay or the Zotovich Estate Pinot Noir.

Lompoc has a small, but thriving wine culture. The Sta. Rita Hills Wine Center is a great stop for any Lompoc visitor, whether you’re a wine connoisseur or not. In addition to the wine center, visitors should stop by the Wine Ghetto and Midtown Wineries to complete their DIY wine tour.

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