Sta. Rita Hills AVA
Located on the historic Jalama Cañon Ranch in Santa Barbara County, JCR Vineyard is one of the region's tiniest and most reputable boutique wineries producing exclusively estate-grown wines
A relatively new artisan winery just south of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA in Santa Barbara County, JCR Vineyard is nestled in the hills of Jalama Cañon Ranch. This stunning and serene 1,000-acre historic property boasts breathtaking views and quiet peacefulness, reminiscent of a turn-of-the-century cattle ranch. Jalama Cañon Ranch is still dedicated to raising cattle and goats, but it is now also growing grapes for JCR Vineyard's small production, 100% estate-grown wines. This ultra boutique winery has been flying under the radar since its inaugural harvest in 2010, but with the incredible press and high ratings its wines have been garnering, this hidden gem won't be a secret for much longer.
In 2004, the Jalama Cañon Ranch was purchased by business partners Wayne Siemens and David Grotenhuis, whose families have called Santa Barbara home for more than fifty years. Originally, the property was part of a mid-1800's land grant from the United States government to Jose Antonio De La Guerra, one of the first settlers of the area (to honor this history, the original grant deed is printed as the background script on the JCR Vineyard wine labels). The Siemens and Grotenhuis families have kept Jalama Canon Ranch's rustic charm and authenticity alive, making it a truly beautiful and peaceful place to be.
In 2008, the families planted five acres of Pinot Noir and half an acre of Chardonnay on a steep, southeasterly-facing hillside. Although the weather here is cooler and sometimes harsher than the nearby Sta. Rita Hills, JCR Vineyard is sheltered from the strong coastal winds that tend to sweep through the area, allowing for ideal growing conditions for the cool-climate grapes. The JCR Vineyard has proven to thrive here, with its long growing season, steep hillsides, distinctive soils and low-yielding vines that produce grapes with a unique character exclusive to this location. With the help of JCR Vineyard's first winemaker, Chad Melville (of Melville Winery and SAMsARA Wine Co.), the first harvest came in 2010, and just 72 cases of wine were produced.
JCR Vineyard crafts a handful of Pinot Noirs and one Chardonnay, all produced exclusively from the estate site to show the exceptional quality and character of the grapes grown there. Visitors to Jalama Cañon Ranch and JCR Vineyard can taste through the award-winning wines and tour the estate vineyard. We are proud to share this boutique producer with our Pinot Noir Wine Club members. Cheers!
Map of the area
Alison Thomson - Winemaker
Alison Thomson grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, surrounded by a vibrant agricultural scene and growing wine and food culture. From a young age, she loved to explore nature and was fascinated by the foods and cultures of other countries. These interests led her to pursue her Biology and Italian studies while at UC Santa Barbara.
After spending time in Italy studying abroad, Alison returned to California where she worked in tasting rooms to gain a better understanding of the wine industry. It wasn't long before she grew interested in winemaking as a career, motivating her to enroll in UC Davis' Viticulture program.
After graduating, Alison held successful roles at Sine Qua Non and Palmina Winery before becoming the assistant winemaker for SAMsARA Wine Co. It was while at SAMsARA, under the guidance of Chad Melville, that she began making wine for JCR Vineyard. In 2015, Alison took over for Melville to become the head winemaker at JCR, where she continues the pursuit of crafting high quality wines that showcase the unique characteristics of the estate.