Silver Wines

Santa Barbara County region

A small production, quality-oriented winery located in the city of Santa Barbara


Silver Wines is a perfect example of artisan winemaking at its best. The winery adheres to strict growing and production policies that tend to express their wines’ pedigrees in the bottles.

It began business in 2000 with an initial release of around 250 cases. Silver Wines has developed a loyal following since inception and once grew to over 4,000 cases before retreating to its present annual level of between 1,000 and 1,500 cases.

“Our main emphasis at Silver Wines has always focused on terroir-driven wines that possess complex personality,” explained Owner/winemaker Ben Silver, 45. “We have always sourced our fruit from older vines in both the Santa Maria and Los Alamos growing areas, and we have seldomly been disappointed.”

Silver contends the vulnerable Pinot Noir grape is the most imposing varietal he produces. “My biggest accomplishment is to figure out how I can pull an interesting and complex wine out of the fermentation process. Pinot Noir demands great balance before the consumer will credit it and re-buy it. At this point, I believe we are still just scratching the surface when it comes to true quality. It is almost unbelievable what we will be able to produce in the future.”

Silver also believes that the Pinot Noir is its own best friend. He believes that the varietal can be well grown under the right circumstances and benefits from the fact that the plants can’t be overgrown. Pinot Noir is an incredibly good growing plant. Once more, the plant is somewhat self-regulating due to the fact that it can’t produce an abundance of fruit.

Silver also credits his time at Zaca Mesa Vineyards with prompting his interest in making Pinot Noir. He alluded to the fact that he was organizing the winery’s library when he tasted some bottles from the historic 1988 vintage made from grapes of the Sierra Madre Vineyards. “The wines were unbelievable and converted me to the legion of Pinot Noir believers. Quality wasn’t a word that I had formerly associated with Pinot Noir but these wines really opened my mind to their possibilities.”

Silver is content to remain small (plus or minus 1,500 cases) for the foreseeable future. “I want to hand craft each wine I make,” he concluded. “I have no annual contracts for the fruit we buy but I rely on the fact that I have known the growers for more than twenty years.”

Silver Wines is a perfect example of artisan winemaking at its best. The winery adheres to strict growing and production policies that tend to express their wines’ pedigrees in the bottles.

Silver Wines’ distinctive label is fashioned after Château Mouton Rothschild and depicts a friend’s wife’s drawing of a woman sleeping around a fire.

Featured Wines

Silver

2010 Pinot Noir
94 Points
$45.00 $39.00 x 2

Ben Silver - Owner & Winemaker

A semester studying abroad in Italy prompted Ben Silver’s interest in wine. He secured a job at the prestigious Zaca Mesa Vineyards of Santa Barbara County and its iconic visionary winemaker Daniel Gehrs (a member of what is called Zaca University among winemakers). Under Gehrs’ tutorage, Silver learned every aspect of the business and took seminars at UC Davis from 1995 to 2000. He succeeded Gehrs after the latter left Zaca Mesa when the winery was sold in 1998. Originally from Amherst, MA, Silver holds degrees in two non- wine related fields. His passion is winemaking and privately admits to revering the Pinot Noir grape and its great perfections/imperfections.