A Hidden Gem in Santa Barbara County

Hello there, 

I love hidden gem wines – wineries that are relatively unknown. Being able to fetch a bottle from the wine fridge that impresses everyone at the table, and then going back for a second because it’s just that good and accessible. Gainey Vineyards has been my go-to for summer gatherings this year. Nestled among esteemed vine-growing neighbors such as Sine Qua Non, Melville, Brewer-Clifton, and Fiddlesticks, Gainey Vineyards offers something truly special – without the hefty price tag.

Located in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County, Gainey is situated 130 miles north of Los Angeles. (I remember the geography by picturing the saints sitting above the angels.) Dan Gainey established the vineyards over sixty years ago as a side line to the farm’s primary business of hay production. They began making their own wines over forty years ago, quietly producing some of the tastiest wines you’ve never heard of.

This week I’m offering a trio of the Gainey wines:

1. Gainey Chardonnay, Sta Rita Hills 2020

This Chardonnay is the epitome of summer in a bottle. Light, peachy, smooth, and crisp, it strikes the perfect balance that even non-Chardonnay lovers can’t resist. I may have stashed a case at home, savoring every last drop. Oops, maybe I shouldn’t be sharing this little secret with everyone..

2. Gainey Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills 2020

If you adore the likes of Clark & Telephone, Melville, or Brewer-Clifton, then this Pinot Noir is a match made in heaven for you. With a perfect balance of ripe cherry and raspberry notes intertwined with hints of spice, it’s a velvety, underpriced gem that will make your heart sing.

3. Gainey Vineyards Merlot, Santa Ynez Valley 2018

Don’t let that movie Sideways discourage you from experiencing the magic of Merlot. Trust me, this one is worth a try. Founder, Dan Gainey, didn’t uproot his Merlot vines after the film’s release, and thank goodness for that. With its plummy character, chocolate undertones, and a touch of freshness to combat the Texas summer heat, it’s a true winner.

So, my friend, let’s kick back, pour a glass of Gainey Vineyards’ finest, and revel in the end of summer. Cheers to moments filled with good wine, good company, and unforgettable memories!

Wishing you sunny sips,