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SAMsARA Wine Co.

Sta. Rita Hills AVA

These wines are honest, complex, serious and unique, representing some of the best in quality and value in Santa Barbara County.

Originally founded in 2002 by Chad and Mary Melville, SAMsARA Wine Company produces limited releases of Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Grenache from carefully selected sites within the Sta. Rita Hills of Santa Barbara County. Since the beginning, it has been their goal to showcase the distinctive natural elements at play on each vineyard, and craft wines with the utmost expression of fruit, soil, site and region (otherwise known as ‘terroir’). This goal is certainly being achieved, as the SAMsARA wines aren’t just distinctive, they also earn top ratings and reviews from the wine industry’s most prominent figures. In fact, Antonio Galloni of Vinous magazine has stated, “SAMsARA’s Pinots and Syrahs are wines that stand out for their purity and degree of which they reflect their origins.”

Chad Melville is also the co-owner of the celebrated Melville Winery in Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley. His father, Ron Melville, founded the winery in 1989 and together they have grown it into one of the region’s most well known family wineries. When Chad became more involved with his family’s winery, he decided to sell the SAMsARA Wine Company to its current owners, Dave and Joan Szkutak. Dave and Joan were long-time customers and SAMsARA wine club members and were thrilled to continue the tradition started by Chad and Mary Melville.

New England natives, Dave and Joan Szkutak both held successful business careers that involved extensive international travel which helped to develop their passion for food and wine. After visiting some of the world’s greatest wine growing regions, the Szkutaks found themselves returning time and again to Santa Barbara County, where a combination of diverse, site-specific wines, friendly people, and a close proximity to the Pacific Ocean sparked their imagination. With total production at around 1,400 cases, they guide SAMsARA as vintners and work closely with winemaker Matt Brady, supporting his creative decisions in both the vineyard and the cellar.

Situated in the country’s only purely transverse east-west mountain range, the Sta. Rita Hills AVA was created in 2001. The wind is an incredible asset to this area; circulating air, which keeps the vigor of the vines and deters rot. The wind and fog create some of the coolest summertime temperatures in California.

SAMsARA’s namesake, by the way, comes from Sanskrit and means “the eternal cycle of life.” It represents the eternal cycle that every vine and wine goes through in its lifetime. Plus, this circle of passion, oneness, and harmony are core values in SAMsARA’s winemaking process. These wines are honest, complex, serious and unique, representing some of the best in quality and value in Santa Barbara County. We are happy to share this excellent bottling with our Garagiste Wine Club members. Enjoy!

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Matt Brady - Winemaker

Picture of Matt Brady - Winemaker

In 2017, when Joan and Dave Szkutak stepped in as the new SAMsARA owners, they immediately knew who to hire as SAMsARA's winemaker: Matt Brady.

Born in Fort Myers, Florida, Matt Brady moved to the West Coast at the age of 7 and was immediately captivated by the landscape and the beaches. By the time he had his driver's license, he was off-roading throughout the mountain ranges and canyons of Southern California and down the Baja peninsula. As a college student at University of California Santa Barbara, he explored the fell in love with the Santa Barbara region and would often go wine tasting on the weekends.

In 2005, Matt joined the iconic Jaffurs Winery team and worked his first harvest in the cellar. By 2012, he had been promoted through the ranks to Co-Winemaker, and by 2015, he was Head Winemaker. Also during his tenure at Jaffurs, he worked the 2009 harvest at Two Hands, in the Barossa Valley of Australia.

In 2017, Matt happily joined the SAMsARA Wine Company. Known for his keen understanding of balance, structure, and texture in wine, his wines have received much critical acclaim and he is honored to help continue the legacy of this boutique Sta. Rita Hills winery.