Flying Goat Cellars
Santa Ynez Valley AVA
Small lots of vineyard designated Pinot Noirs
Founded in 2000 on California’s Central Coast, Flying Goat Cellars focuses on small lots of vineyard designated Pinot Noirs, representing some of the best vineyards in Santa Rita Hills, Santa Maria Valley, and San Luis Obispo County. Veteran winemaker Norm Yost established the winery after spending nearly thirty years in the wine industry, working for estates in Napa Valley, Australia, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and Sonoma’s Russian River Valley before finally settling in Santa Barbara County. Norm had always been a fan of the early Central Coast wines and he had an inkling of what the region would someday become.
Flying Goat Cellars was named after Norm’s two pygmy goats, Never and Epernay. He bought the goats while living in Oregon to help keep his backyard blackberry vines under control, but these "lawn mowers" quickly became his beloved pets. They also became an endless source of entertainment and enjoyment. With their unrestrained loops, flipper turns and straight-legged leaps. When Norm was pondering a name for his new wines and brand, he knew he wanted to project fun, enjoyment and happiness. While many people put their own name or their childrens' names on their label or vineyard, Norm’s playful spirit opted to name the winery after his own "kids". His kids, of course, were those two pygmy goats who had always inspired him and made him laugh.
Norm released his first Flying Goat Pinot Noirs in 2002, and while the labels were certainly whimsical and fun with a flying goat and a moon, the wines themselves were seriously good. His passion for Pinot Noir shines through in his wine portfolio that today consists of seven vineyard-designated Pinots, each representing a different vineyard, microclimate, region, or clone. He has also since added a handful of Pinot Noir based sparkling wines, which he calls ‘Goat Bubbles'.
In 2006, Norm met his future wife, Kate Griffith. She has become the "Chief Philosopher" behind the Flying Goat Cellars label and lends her marketing expertise to maintaining the brand and selling the wines. Together, Norm and Kate have expanded the production of Flying Goat wines and recently moved to a new, larger winemaking facility in the ‘Lompoc Wine Ghetto’ an industrial area that is home to a group of unpretentious, world-class wine producers. They also opened a tasting room there in 2013, including Santa Barbara County’s first Bubbles Bar. Norm and Kate’s passion, philosophy and contagious spirit exude the joy that winemaking is truly all about. We hope you enjoy getting to know this special producer.
Map of the area
Never & Epernay - Original Flying Goats
The two pygmy goats, Never and Epernay who inspired the winery name.
Norm Yost - Owner & Winemaker
Winemaker Norm Yost graduated from UC Davis with a bachelors degree in environmental studies in 1981 and found his way into the wine industry somewhat by accident. Out of college, he took a temporary construction job at Napa's famed Silver Oak Winery, and he became fascinated by the wine scene. Not long after, Norm took an assistant winemaking position at Monticello Vineyards and began taking enology extension courses at UC Davis.
He then moved around to the Russian River Valley, and even moved to Australia for a harvest, before spending time in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. After a decade up north, Norm moved to Santa Barbara County, where he settled and became fixated on discovering the potential of the region. Now the being the owner, Norm enjoys the freedom to focus on his passion for making vineyard designated Pinot Noir and sparkling wine.