When Fess Parker was cast in the roll of Davy Crockett in the mid-1950's, it caused an international sensation and changed his life forever. So, too, did the purchase of 714 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley change the course of the Parker family's history.
Realizing the potential of Santa Barbara County as a premium grape-growing region, Fess and his son, Eli, originally set out in 1989 to plant a small vineyard and sell fruit to local producers. But, as Fess' daughter, Ashley explains, "Fess is from Texas, so he can't do anything small." The Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard now farms almost 700 acres on four vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County.
Learn More About Viognier
Viognier (vee-ohn-YAY) Viognier is best known for producing the rich, aromatic white wines of the Northern Rhone. Once a pricey commodity of the area, it's now much easier to find and drink. The perfumed grape creates wines of distinct aromas and flavors. Lower in acid and even lower yielding, Viognier kept to itself in Southern France until some traveling winemakers took hold of some plantings and dispersed them to New World areas like California and Australia.
Notable Facts The Viognier grape attacks your nose with notes of peach, apricot and other tropical fruits. Aromatic to say the least, this varietal is tough to grow, due to the narrow window of time when the aromatics and acids are at their peak. The best wines made from Viognier have a good balance of aromatic fruits and acid. The intensity of the fruit may be detected by tastebuds as sweet, although most Viogniers are dry. Not the best partner for a light meal, wine from this grape is nice with heavier sauces or rich shellfish.
Summing it up Successful Sites: Northern Rhone, Australia, California
Common Descriptors: apricot, honeysuckle, peach
Learn More About Central Coast, California
The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Grape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.