Babcock Winery & Vineyards, a family owned and operated business located in Sta. Rita Hills American Viticultural Area (AVA) in Santa Barbara County, has announced that owner and pioneer winemaker Bryan Babcock has been named the 2021 Winemaker of the Year by Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of AVA.
Babcock was honored by the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance in its 20th anniversary celebration August 12-15. Amid esteemed colleagues and wine lovers, Babcock received the 2021 Winemaker of the Year award, which took place at the weekend’s La Paulee-style dinner at Alma Rosa Vineyards.
A renowned winegrower and farmer, Babcock has spent nearly 40 years living and working in Sta. Rita Hills, where he and his family established their cellar and vineyard in the early 1980s. Fueled by passion, craftsmanship and innovation, Babcock has dedicated his career to learning, exploring and experimenting with new agricultural practices, winemaking techniques and grape varieties in order to produce the region’s most convincing and terroir-oriented wines possible.
Recognizing the Sta. Rita Hills’ unique topography and climate patterns, Babcock was instrumental in shaping the boundaries of the appellation and spearheaded efforts to distinguish the area as his own AVA in 2001. Always seeking to perfect his craft, Babcock is also known for developing revolutionary viticulture techniques. , like a gravity-assisted vine canopy system that seamlessly integrates the nature of the vine with the forces of nature to maximize wine quality in a system that flows more naturally.
Best known for its acclaimed Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines, Babcock also produces exceptional examples of Rhône and Bordeaux style varietals, as well as a range of wines from unique varietals and blends of unknown varietals like Clairette Blanche, Le Picpoul and Mencia. In addition to producing wines under its famous Babcock Winery & Vineyard label, Babcock explores creative winemaking opportunities through the Eye of the Beholder, Rita’s Earth, Bright Fortune, FATHOM and GrapeHunters labels.
“Good wine starts with the fruit, which actually begins with the soil, climate and farming techniques,” Babcock explains. “I really believe that the Sta. Rita Hills is one of the best places in the world to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and the wines from this region cannot be replicated anywhere else. It has been an honor and a privilege to dedicate my career to producing wines from this region, translating the soul and beauty of this unique place into every bottle, and I look forward to continuing my wine journey in this exciting region during many years to come. . “