Santa Barbara County region
A must-visit winery in the 'Lompoc Wine Ghetto' of Santa Barbara County
Located in the heart of Santa Barbara County’s affectionately named ‘Lompoc Wine Ghetto,’ Montemar Winery produces small-lot wines from the great vineyards of the surrounding region. The focus has been on Rhône and Burgundian varietals and the vineyard sources include some of the top properties in Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, and Los Alamos. Owner/winemaker Steve Arrowood has been crafting the wines since 1992 and today has quite the local presence and support for his ultra-boutique winery.
After several years of collecting fine wines and enjoying trips to wine growing regions near and far, Steve decided to start a winery in his garage in Palos Verdes (Los Angeles) in 1992. Production slowly grew over the years (today it is still only 1,400 cases annually), and in 2009, Steve moved most of his production to his current location in Lompoc on California’s Central Coast. He continues to make small lots of wine in his garage with friends, and enjoys experimenting with new varietals, blends and oak treatments there as well.
Steve initially fell in love with the Central Coast while attending college in San Luis Obispo, and today he is very proud to be a part of the growing wine industry there. There are many excellent fruit sources available to him, but, according to Steve, the Sta. Rita Hills AVA is the most special. He offers several single vineyard Pinot Noirs from the up-and-coming region and he also serves on the Sta. Rita Hills AVA Board of Directors. As Steve puts it, he is a “super fan” of the region.
In 2013, Steve opened Montemar Winery’s tasting room in the Lompoc Wine Ghetto. The space features a large outdoor patio with live music, a small beach-like area, plenty of long tables and lounge chairs, and a selection of games (oversized Jenga and dice, cornhole, and hula hoops). The fun atmosphere and selection of premium Montemar wines makes it a must-visit location in the area.
The name ‘Montemar’ by the way, came from a street below Steve’s house in Palos Verdes. It means ‘hill by the ocean’ - and that is where all of his vines are found on the Central Coast. The shield on the wine label is reminiscent of Steve’s favorite football club (Barcelona), and the colors reminded him of Siena. He wanted it to look old and European in style. The trident in the center is his city and high school’s emblem and it came from a statue donated by the Italians in 1920.
We hope you enjoy this bottling from Montemar Winery, and make a visit to the tasting room if you are ever in the area!