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In Buellton, CA USA you can find a calm and cozy private vineyard called the Lavender Oaks. This vineyard is managed by Michael Benedict, one of the pioneers of wine industry in Santa Barbara region in California. He established the first vineyard on Santa Rosa Road in 1971 with his friend Richard Sanford. It became the first world class vineyard in cool climate winegrowing region. Sanford & Benedict is one of California’s most historically significant and renowned vineyards because it proved two things: Santa Barbara County is a perfect place for growing Pinot Noir, and the portion of the Santa Ynez Valley where it is located, is a fabulous cool climate location for vines in general. Nowadays neither of these two pioneers are in commercial wine making business but the vinery and wines still carry their names.
For Michael making wine is a way of life, he is nowadays mentoring other vineyards in the area. Before he became a vintner, he was an academic, a botanist with U.C. Santa Barbara. He started to make research about growing wine and decided that he can either write a book about how to make wine right or do it himself.