Andy Busch remembers clearly when he got his first look at Folded Hills Ranch. It was 2004, and he and his wife, Kim, had been living in the Santa Barbara area for a couple of years. They were in the market for a ranch property, a place where they and their four children could have animals and open space. His real estate agent had shown him about 50 possibilities without success. “When I came through the gates,” Andy says of his entrance into the property that would later become his, “I looked around and said ‘This is it.'”
Tucked away near Santa Ynez, between the coastal mountains of Santa Barbara and the warm hills of the valley, lies bucolic Folded Hills: winery, farmstead, and ranch. Formerly a pre-prohibition vineyard, the land has been primed for optimal wine-making, and its temporal climate doesn’t hurt, either. Making wines naturally here comes, well, naturally.
It’s no longer cool to simply go wine tasting at any old tasting room. We all have our favorite spots in town or cool-looking wineries we belong to for their pick-up parties.
But there’s a new game in the 805, and it’s about to up typical wine tasting from drinking with a view to a more hands-on experience, complete with farm animals to visit and an organic you-pick field.
November – December 2018
What is the job really like? Each winemaker’s method and priorities are as varied as the wines they produce, and each story is unique. Angela Osborne’s role as a small production winemaker for Folded Hills and her own label, A Tribute to Grace, is no exception.
Perhaps you know the feeling. The family is gathered around the table. Everyone looks at you expectantly, and then … and then you panic. What wine goes with turkey?
Since buying a historic 600-acre ranch in Gaviota, he and his wife, Kim, and four children are more focused on viticulture and winemaking, from ground to glass, as the owners of Folded Hills Winery. It’s clearly a family business.
The property’s unique microclimate doesn’t hurt either… Yet in between Folded Hills and the windswept Gaviota Coast are the nearly 3,000-foot peaks of the Santa Ynez Mountains. Altogether, that means cool, foggy nights, like the Sta. Rita Hills, but way hotter days once the marine layer burns off, as the ocean breezes aren’t quite so steady — too hot for pinot noir, basically, but ideal for grenache and syrah
Last month we were fortunate to enjoy a VIP wine tasting at Folded Hills, set just five miles from the ocean in the Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara, California. In a typical wine tasting, you get a group tour of the winery, a bit of history, and a sampling of the wines. At Folded Hills, you get so much more, and it certainly lives up to the expectation.
Kim and Andy Busch launched their first set of wines more than a year ago in St. Louis – all named for members of Andy Busch’s family or Grant’s Farm. The Lilly Rosé is an estate rosé named after the numerous generations of Lillys in the Busch family.
Our tastings are geared toward discovery: We regularly turn up great wines from new producers, or from old-school wineries that have reinvented themselves. Here are ten that caught our attention this year—producers we’ll be looking out for in the years to come.