Set among the rolling hills of the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara California, Larner Vineyard & Winery is a boutique estate with an extremely limited production of 800 cases per year. The 134-acre property includes 34 acres of grapevines and is one of the showcase vineyards in the recently establish Ballard Canyon AVA.
Founded in 1999, the vineyard is currently entering its prime production years and the site is uniquely suited to Rhône Valley varieties. Most of the estate is planted to Syrah, but there is also Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier and the Italian white Malvasia Bianca. Special pride is taken in producing the highest quality fruit under the most stringent guidelines for custom farming. In fact, most of the production is contracted to outside vintners for their vineyard-designate bottles. A smaller percentage is dedicated to the Larner label.
Larner Vineyard & Winery is a family affair. Winemaker and Vineyard Manager Michael Larner earned his Master’s degree in Viticulture and Enology at the University of California Davis and his Bachelor’s in Geology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His formal training in wine continued with cellar apprenticeships at Marchesi Antinori’s Tenuta Guado al Tasso in Bolgheri, Tuscany, and E. Guigal’s Château d’Ampuis in the Rhône Valley, France. Michael’s wife, Christina Larner, is a locally affirmed artist who uses wine as a medium for her paintings. She creates a wide spectrum of tones and pigments by concentrating the color of various grape varieties. Michael’s sister, Monica Larner, is a wine writer based in Rome. Following ten years as Italian Editor with the Wine Enthusiast, she now reviews Italian wine for Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. Michael, Christina and Monica represent a second generation of Larners.