Winter Release


New Releases
2022 Chardonnay, Duvarita Vineyard
2022 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

These wines are extremely limited
There’s only so much to spare of these wines as most of their case production is allocated to the current or upcoming Wine Club, so be sure to act fast.

El Niño has delivered the first of the February rains, with more on the way. As usual we are hoping that it comes down at a measured pace, as the ground is already saturated and Lake Cachuma already full. Fingers crossed.

Vineyard Notes: Certainly, the vines enjoyed the wet weather and the cold nights this month and are enjoying a solid dormancy so far. We will start our (late) pruning during the descending moon later this month. The late pruning helps delay budbreak until after the high frost risk has subsided. Just as important, it is the method of pruning that matters. We prune shorter, without the extra canes prevalent elsewhere, to ensure balanced vines with reasonable yields that the vines can properly ripen into highly concentrated grapes. A recent, very extensive barrel tasting with Ruben Solorzano, the grape whisperer, drove home the point (for the umpteenth time) that the best wines come from lower yielding vines, pure and simple. We will continue to work with our vineyard partners to practice the highest quality viticulture, which we know will result in the best grapes possible in 2024.

Winery & Tasting Room Notes: After an epic pack out, the Winter Wine Club has shipped! Thanks go out to our intrepid team members; Bryan, Kristin, Stephen, Kevin, Sarah and of course Wine Club Manager Tiffany, who helped us set all-time records in many categories. Additionally, we must recognize David and Tasting Room Manager Nick who handled the busy Tasting Room and added even more members. The weekends and sunny but cool midweek days have indeed been hopping.

New Releases & 2022 Vintage Notes: We are pleased to announce the release of the first Pinot Noir and first Chardonnay of the challenging, though ultimately excellent 2022 Vintage. 2022 started out as a classic cool year, with very low yields from shatter. However, a massive heat dome over Santa Barbara County around Labor Day threw the proverbial monkey wrench into the plans, and it took extensive evaluation of pick dates and significant sorting to ensure high quality undamaged fruit made it to the winery. As you know, this is our strong suit here at Dragonette Cellars, where John, Brandon and Steve are constantly in the vineyards evaluating the vine and fruit condition, dropping underripe or damaged fruit and sorting like crazy at harvest. We were able to pick carefully around the heat, and the resulting fruit was in excellent condition with surprisingly wonderful acidity from the cool year, and a nice kick of ripeness from the late season warmth.

The Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir and the Duvarita Chardonnay showcase the exuberant fruit of the late season warmth, and also the fresh acidity and fabulous balance of the otherwise cool 2022 vintage. As great as 2021 was, 2022 is right up there quality wise, which we think is a testament to our hard work and experience with our fabulous grape sources. Enjoy!

The Wines

2022 Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills

This wine was crafted from selected barrels from all of our Pinot Noir vineyards in order to make a wine of great flavor, complexity and harmony. We chose barrels that demonstrate approachability, an engaging personality, freshness and charm. The wine is comprised of grapes from Fiddlestix (32%) Radian (22%), Sanford & Benedict (12%), Bentrock (10%), Rancho La Vina (6%), La Rinconada (6%), Spear (6%) and Duvarita (6%), each block of which was carefully followed all season, harvested with field sorting and processed within hours.

The various barrels of wine were aged 15 months on their lees in neutral French oak barriques, then blended and bottled without filtration. The 2022 vintage plays up the exuberant red and black fruit with a great mid-palate concentration, juiciness and complexity, and long rich finish. We think it would be great with roast chicken, hearty root vegetables, and of course charcoal grilled steaks. Approachable, but the wine will age over the medium term on its balance and concentration.

2022 Chardonnay, Duvarita Vineyard

Painfully small yields of Chardonnay in 2022 meant that we decided to focus on single vineyard wines. Duvarita is biodynamically farmed, using regenerative practices, and yields a tiny crop of uniquely expressive fruit.

The 2022 Duvarita Chardonnay was picked after the heat had subsided, and the vines had come back into balance. Heat and other damage required significant sorting at harvest time. We had 4 clones available to us (548, 76, Mt. Eden, and Calera) and yet total production was less than 100 cases. What little fruit there was showed great intensity of flavor, and we fermented and aged the wines in thick-staved, neutral 350L Damy barrels (one of which was once used). The wine was aged on its lees (no stirring) for 15 months before bottling.

Despite its challenges, the wine has been utterly delicious, right out of the gate, showing great balance, seamless texture and an engaging personality. Open knit aromatics and flavors of stone fruits, melons and citrus are lifted by flinty minerals and lip-smacking acidity. Extremely limited.  Only 95 cases made.

**SAVE THE DATE – March 25, 2024
Spring Release & Wine Club Customization Period begins
Keep your eye on your inboxes for the Spring Release and Wine Club customization period, which begins March 25, 2024.  Wines include 2021 Chardonnay Rita’s Crown, 2021 Pinot Noir, Black Label, and 2021 Seven. Supplies of everything are very limited.



— John, Steve, Brandon
and the entire Dragonette Cellars team