PARADISE ROAD VINEYARD
Drive from Santa Barbara across the San Marcos Pass and just as you cross Cold Springs Arch Bridge there's a vista exit. Start looking to the right. Don’t blink or you might miss it. Paradise Road Vineyard, located in the eastern-most alcove of the Santa Ynez Valley, is an anomaly. An Eden oasis set amongst the Los Padres oaks and scrub brush.
The Santa Ynez Valley runs from west to east, with its mouth wide open to the chilly Pacific Ocean. During the hot summer months, when the grapes are growing and ripening, a cool marine layer of late night/early morning fog is pulled in from the sea throughout the expanse of the valley. This fog bank stays trapped over Lake Cachuma and the eastern reaches of the valley, sitting right over Paradise Road Vineyard like a thick, soft blanket, comforting the vines often into late morning. This microclimate, in conjunction with the soils in the area, creates a unique place for a unique wine.
The soils at Paradise Road Vineyards are described as Positas fine sandy loam and sandstone. These soil types drain well, important for quality grape growing. There is not much water on the property so they maintain a conservative irrigation regime. In this 15 acres of vines, a combination of the morning fog, afternoon heat, soil profile, and lack of water contribute to the small berries, sparse clusters, and low tons/acre that produce the concentration of fruit flavor and tannic structure specific to the Paradise Road.
The Syrah at Paradise Road is trained on the Lyre trellis system. This open, split canopy trellis allows for broad sun exposure to leaves and clusters, while also providing sufficient shade to combat fruit sunburn. Good ventilation for cooling is intrinsic to the open design. The Lyre trellis is beneficial for grape maturity and has been shown to improve balance, color, richness, and fruit aromas, and performs especially well in low water conditions.
In the future, I will diversify my fruit sourcing to multiple vineyards in the Santa Barbara County and Santa Ynez Valley AVAs. As for now, I have chosen to concentrate on Paradise Road, so as to better understand the special qualities of the fruit and wine that come from this special piece of land.