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Babcock Winery and Vineyards
by
Kathy Sullivan

Babcock Winery & VineyardsSummary: Babcock Winery & Vineyards is located in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. The tasting room is located in a large room where visitors can relax at tables or browse a variety of unique vintage items.

Babcock Winery & VineyardsBabcock Winery & Tasting Room is located in a large single-story building. As visitors enter the building they see a tasting counter at the back of the room.  To the right, high on a sidewall large letters spell out TASTE SAVOR RELISH. Numerous tables and chairs of all styles are available where visitors can sit and enjoy a glass of Babcock wine. To the right are many unusual items displayed including an array of vintage pieces available for purchase. For the browser, this is a great place to peruse unusual items you will not find at box stores. This large room was once the location of the winery. Tucked away in a corner of the room is an old bottling machine that is an added attraction in the room.

Babcock Winery & Vineyards is a family operated winery and vineyard with a history dating back to 1978 when Mona and Walter Babcock purchased property as a fruit orchard. During our visit it was noted that there were some fruit trees left on the land. The vineyards on the property are in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. Walter has had many careers throughout his life including a restaurateur, commercial fisherman and dentistry. Mona and Walter planted 20 acres of grapes including Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Chardonnay. In 1983 they sold a few grapes to local wineries and also decided to try their hand at winemaking. Encouraged with their quality of wine, they decided to become a commercial winery.  Eventually, Bryan their son decided to join them in their winery adventure and studied advanced science courses. Years later Bryan is the head winemaker.

Babcock Winery & VineyardsBabcock Vineyards

Eventually some of the earlier grapevine varieties were replaced with Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir took off in this region. Today the vineyards consist of 80 acres of grapevines planted with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc. We enjoyed a quick tour of the vineyards where the vineyard manager showed us an example of upside down vertical shoot positioning. The leaf canopy is rolled over protecting the grape bunches. We were assured that the rollover does not injure the grapevines. The workers harvest about two to two and a half tons per acre.

Babcock Winery & VineyardsBabcock Winery

We met Colin Kress, assistant winemaker, who provided us with barrel tastings. Colin, does not like to filter wines but will do so if the wine is in need of it. Colin is from Arizona where he lived with his aunt and uncle. They own a restaurant and this allowed Colin to learn about wine.

Babcock Winery is producing 18,000 cases. Production had been higher but they cut production in order to increase the quality of their wines.

Babcock Winery & VineyardsWhite Wines

Chardonnay Top Cream Estate Sta. Rita Hills AVA was a light yellow with an aroma and taste of pear and caramel. The mouthfeel was silky. The finish was crisp and fruity. Sauvignon Blanc Estate 2012 Sta. Rita Hills AVA was a light yellow color. The aroma and taste offered lemon grass notes and minerality. The finish was crisp and grassy.

Rosé Wines

Identity Crisis 2011 Syrah Santa Barbara County was a translucent rosé color with a light orange tint. The aroma and taste were of light red berry fruits. The finish was crisp and fruity. This is a 3P (patio, porch, pool) wine.

Babcock Winery & VineyardsRed Wines

Pinot Noir 2012 Sta. Rita Hills AVA was an estate wine. The wine offered notes of raspberries and leather with medium tannins. The finish was crisp and fruity with baking spices. Slice of Heaven 2012 Sta. Rita Hills AVA was produced with grapes from Rita’s Crown Vineyard. This wine was a red translucent color with an aroma and taste notes of raspberry, leather and licorice. The wine had medium tannins. The finish was crisp with fruit and spice. Je Ne Sais Quoi 2012 Pinot Noir Sta. Rita Hills AVA, Bentrock Vineyard was a translucent dark red with an emphasis on raspberries. The finish was crisp and fruity with some baking spice hints. Microcosm 2012 Sta. Rita Hills AVA, Rancho La Vina Vineyard was a dark ruby translucent color. This Pinot Noir’s aroma and taste were of raspberries. The wine had bold tannins. The finish was crisp with fruit, cinnamon and cloves.

Babcock Winery & VineyardsBarrel Tastings

While in the barrel room, Colin provided a barrel tasting of a few wines. Chenin Blanc 2013 was a yellow color with notes of bread and a fruit salad. The finish was crisp and fruity yielding to minerality. The wine had a perceived sweetness. Chardonnay Estate 2013 was yellow with apple and pear notes. The finish was crisp with fruit yielding to caramel. Appellation’s Edge 2013 Pinot Noir was produced with grapes from the edge of the AVA on Santa Rosa Road. The color was a translucent dark ruby. The taste and aroma offered notes of red and black raspberries and blueberries. The wine had medium to bold tannins. The finish was fruity.

Enjoy a visit to Babcock Winery & Vineyards where you can enjoy a wine tasting while browsing a unique selection of antique-style items.

Babcock Winery & Vineyards
5175 E Highway 246
Lompoc California 93436

GPS: N34º 39.996’ W120º 20.079’

 

Article written July 2014


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