Bryan Babcock earns Vintner of the Year honors

Family-owned and operated Babcock Winery & Vineyards, located in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA of Santa Barbara County, is pleased to announce that owner and pioneering winemaker Bryan Babcock has been named 2021 Vintner of the Year by the Sta. Rita Hills Wine Alliance, coinciding with the AVA’s 20th anniversary.

Celebrated winemaker and farmer Babcock has dedicated nearly 40 years to living and working in the Sta. Rita Hills, where he and his family established their winery and vineyard in the early 1980s. Fueled by passion, craftsmanship and innovation, Babcock has dedicated his career to learning, exploring and experiencing new farming practices, winemaking techniques and grape varieties in order to produce the most compelling, terroir-driven wines from the region as possible.

Recognizing the Sta. Rita Hills’ unique topography and climate patterns, Babcock was instrumental in the formation of the appellation’s boundaries and led the efforts to distinguish the region as its own AVA in 2001. Always pushing to perfect his craft, Babcock is also known for developing revolutionary viticulture techniques, such as a gravity assisted vine canopy system that seamlessly integrates the nature of the vine with the forces of nature in order to maximize wine quality within a system that flows more naturally.

Most recognized for his acclaimed Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines, Babcock also produces exceptional examples of Rhône and Bordeaux-style varietals, as well as a range of unique varietal wines and blends from such under-the-radar grapes as Clairette Blanche, Picpoul and Mencia. In addition to producing wines under his prominent Babcock Winery & Vineyard label, Babcock explores creative winemaking opportunities through the smaller production Eye of the Beholder, Rita’s Earth, Bright Fortune, FATHOM and GrapeHunters labels.

“Great wine starts with the fruit, which in actuality starts with the soil, the climate and the farming techniques,” says Babcock. “I truly believe the Sta. Rita Hills is one of the greatest places to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the world, and the wines from this region cannot be replicated anywhere else. It has been an honor and privilege to dedicate my career to producing wines from this region, translating the soul and beauty of this unique place into each bottle, and I look forward to continuing my wine journey in this exciting region for many more years to come.”

Babcock was honored by the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance during their 20 year anniversary celebration August 12 – 15, 2021. Amidst esteemed colleagues and wine enthusiasts, Babcock was presented with the 2021 Vintner of the Year award, which took place during the weekend’s La Paulee style dinner at Alma Rosa Vineyards.


The Sta. Rita Hills American Viticultural Appellation is located on California’s Central Coast in Santa Barbara County. The Pacific Ocean’s marine layer and afternoon ocean breezes traverse the coastal valley corridors between the Purisima Hills and the Santa Rosa Hills, creating the perfect environment for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and other cool climate wine grape varieties.


The Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance was formed in 1997 to unify growers and winemakers in the Western Santa Ynez Valley for the purpose of developing their own American Viticulture Area and to promote this unique wine growing region. The Sta. Rita Hills AVA status was granted in 2001 by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Regulation Division. The mission of the Alliance is to support the viticulture and enological business interests of its 47 Members, as they relate to grapes and wine from our AVA.


Babcock Winery & Vineyards is a family-owned and operated winery in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA of Santa Barbara County, dedicated to producing soulful, complex wines that embody a unique sense of place. Owned by pioneering winemaker and farmer Bryan Babcock and his wife, Lisa, Babcock Winery & Vineyards was founded on the 110-acre property his parents purchased in 1978. After planting 20 acres of grapes, Babcock Winery yielded its first vintage in 1983 and its first commercial vintage the following year. Today, Babcock Winery is known for its world-class examples of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah, as well as intriguing blends from such under-the-radar grapes as Clairette Blanche, Picpoul and Petit Verdot, and Mencia. The tasting room, a 5,000-square-foot converted barrel warehouse designed by Lisa, embodies the creative energy of the family, where excellent wine, 70s and 80s tunes, curated art, vinyl, vintage and fashion come together to create an inviting, convivial environment unlike anything else in the region. 

For more information, please visit

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.