According to our head winemaker Jill Russell, "Happy people make great wine." It’s a simple idea, but it’s true. Here at Cambria Estate Winery, we love our work. Maybe it’s the land, maybe it’s the team—maybe it’s just from drinking and sharing all that delicious wine—but we can’t think of a better place to be than our estate in the Santa Maria Valley.
Just a 40-minute drive from one of California’s top surf spots in the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find the Santa Maria Valley AVA, a stretch of land we call home. Our founders, Barbara Banke and Jess Jackson, however, saw Santa Barbara County as more than a beautiful spot (within that 40-minute drive you transition from gorgeous beaches to rolling mountains and farmland). They knew they were part of a group of pioneers who were onto something big, some-thing exciting — something that was going to add a new chapter to the story of California wine.
To this day, our estate remains family-owned and under the care of Barbara and her daughters, Katherine and Julia Jackson. Adding to our collective of strong female leadership is general manager and former head winemaker Denise Shurtleff, and head winemaker Jill Russell.
Our estate fruit comes from our 1,500 acres of sustainably-farmed vineyards. Along with our grapevines—including several plots of gnarly, awesome old vines—our land is a utopia for local wildlife, such as wild pigs, baby owls... even cougars. But it’s not just a place to grow fantastic Pinot Noir and Chardonnay; we consider the land home, our place to kick back, hang out, and enjoy a glass of wine (or three). For Julia and Katie, who spent their childhoods here and know the land better than anyone, it’s a thrill to produce grand cru wines from their namesake vineyards — Julia’s Vineyard and Katherine’s Vineyard
We know we’re working with something really special here, and we want to keep it that way. We are both Sustainability In Practice (SIP) Certified and carry the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing (CCSW) seal on all of our wines. Just as we led the way for winemaking in the Santa Maria Valley, we want to be a guiding light for other wineries in the region. We’ve taken on—and are sharing—important new initiatives to protect the land for generations to come.