In 1962, Pierre Lafond reestablished Santa Barbara County’s winemaking tradition by founding Santa Barbara Winery. The winery was the first since prohibition and has played a pioneering role in the subsequent development of the Santa Ynez Valley as a world-class wine growing region. Pierre purchased land in 1971 on the western end of the valley and began planting what is now a 97.5-acre vineyard.
Early on, Bruce encouraged plantings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah, noting that the soil and microclimate of Lafond Vineyard, classified as cool Region 1, were ideal for these varietals. Unique in climate and geography, the wines grown in this growing area are permitted to be identified as Sta.Rita Hills. Unusual for California, the San Ynez Valley runs east-west which permits cool ocean breezes to significantly alter the climate. As a result, the area is the coolest growing climate in all of California. The wines from the area are typified by great intensity of fruit (from the intense sun of southern California) while maintaining excellent levels of acidity (from the cooling effect of the ocean).In the wine industry, it is very rare for a winemaker to stay with one winery for their career, and Bruce’s nearly 40-year relationship with the vineyards and winery gives him an indescribable understanding and intuition of this 100-acre vineyard.