Santa Barbara County region
With wines garnering major accolades and scores, Bill Kimsey is in some ways the very epitome of a celebrated winery owner
As he was growing up on a farm in Cooper County, Missouri, Bill Kimsey developed a love for farming that was to remain with him for the rest of his life. In college at the University of Missouri some years later, his focus changed to the business world and a career with the giant accounting firm Ernst and Young. Kimsey stayed with the firm for more than three decades and ultimately reached the elevated position of Chief Executive Officer of the company’s global operations in London.
“It was when we were living in London that my wife and I developed our love for wine and the wines of two areas in particular. We loved both Italian varietals and those of the Rhône Valley and became enamored with the style and finesse of these wines,” expressed Kimsey during a recent interview. “For some reason, they just resonated in our minds and on our palates.”
Kimsey had also spent time in the Los Angeles area for his firm and when retirement loomed, he began looking for a property with proximity to that area. He came across a completely unplanted site of some 22 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley at the very bottom of the Ballard Canyon AVA and his journey into wine growing and production began.
“Our vineyards are located in the very southwest corner of Ballard Canyon,” he related. “It’s actually one of the cooler growing areas and just right for our grapes. We have mostly Syrah, but also some Viognier, Roussanne and more recently, some excellent Grenache. The Syrah is our mainstay. There are eight different clones in a patch we call ‘Masssal’ and these grapes are proving to be the best of the entire lot.”
Kimsey Vineyard made its debut in 2012 with around 400 cases, and has stuck with that number since then. “We started out to make truly quality wines from the very beginning. Quality was always our main goal. Our vineyards are densely planted and can produce around 3,000 cases, but we are only interested in producing the very best. We sell a great deal of our grapes, and truth be said, I wouldn’t mind increasing our production, but for now, we will continue to produce our 400 estate cases and be proud of our results,” he added.
Results have been almost staggering for Kimsey Vineyard. Their wines have produced some almost astronomical scores in the past and seem destined to do so in the future.
“We have a great team in place and the results speak for themselves,” Bill went on. “Matt Dees is our winemaker and he doesn’t like to elaborate on his past accomplishments, but think Napa Valley and that high-pitched bird and you would be in the ball park. Matt has had a great deal of experience both locally, nationally and internationally and knows exactly what we want in our wines. He is basically a ‘dirt guy’ and gets a great deal of help in the vineyards from Ruben Solorzano, the person everyone around here calls ‘The Grape Whisperer.’”
Remarkably, Kimsey Vineyards is one of those great wine entities that seems to have appeared from thin air. Its ownership and business plan have never wavered and their wines have outperformed their wildest expectations. It is easy to note that small production wineries that choose to be small of their own accord have a definite place in the incredibly competitive California wine industry.
Kimsey Vineyards shares two tasting facilities in California, both easily accessible to wine aficionados in Southern California. The first facility is in Santa Barbara at the shared Uncorked Tasting Room, and the second is located in Solvang at another common facility known as The Good Life.
A recent portfolio addition features a Grenache, the grape Bill Kimsey calls “the hottest varietal around these days.”
Bill Kimsey is in some ways the very epitome of a celebrated winery owner. His wines have garnered major accolades and scores for several years and his niche among small production wineries is quite secure. He is happiest when he feels the quality of his wines meets the great expectations he and his wife Nancy set for the entity when it was formulated more than a decade ago.
It is a great pleasure to feature Bill and Nancy Kimsey and their marvelous 2017 Ballard Canyon Syrah. We know this memorable wine will
thrill you and immediately transport you to a higher place of wine appreciation. We hope our Platinum Wine Club Members enjoy!
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
It is our pleasure to share with you one of the wines from our limited release selection: our 2015 Kimsey Vineyard Syrah.
In 2008, we established our 22-acre vineyard in the Ballard Canyon appellation of Santa Barbara with the goal of producing pleasurable, cerebral and compelling Rhône varietal wines that showcase the uniqueness of our site. Today, the Kimsey Vineyard terroir has proven itself cordial to the enduring varieties of Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Roussanne, and we couldn’t be more pleased by the resulting wines, vintage after vintage.
Under the careful guidance of acclaimed winemaker Matt Dees and talented vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano, our 2015 vintage wines exhibit great concentration, superb focus and deep complexities. Without a doubt, the 2015 Syrah is among the shining stars of this vintage. What we could classify to be a quintessential Ballard Canyon Syrah, this formidable wine reveals expressive aromatics of ripe blackberries, smoked meat and violets, rounded out by powerful, spice-driven characteristics.
2015 Kimsey Vineyard Syrah / 95 Points, VINOUS
“The 2015 Syrah is glorious. Bold, rich and explosive, it oozes class. Even with all of its intensity, the 2015 possesses superb purity, focus and energy. What a beautiful wine this is! In just a few short years, Kimsey has become a new reference point in Ballard Canyon and Santa Barbara more broadly.” - Antonio Galloni
It’s an honor to be able to share this special Santa Barbara Syrah with you.
Bill and Nancy Kimsey