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Sep 13, 2022

Lumen is farming this vineyard gone wild and it's making the best Pinot Noir there is...

Photo: The Wild King Vineyard, Courtesy of Lumen

Be forewarned! This is a pretty dorky and technical show. Some of you say you would like to hear what wine people talk about when we’re together: here it is!


Will Henry, co-proprietor at Lumen Wines in the cool climate AVAs of Santa Barbara, returns to the show (he was on Ep 259) to tell us a story about a vineyard he happened upon that is changing his ideas about how viticulture should be approached in California.  

Photo: Will Henry and Lane Tanner (not married, BTW, just business partners!)
Courtesy of Lumen

Will had recently purchased the Warner Henry Vineyard (named after his late father who founded the Henry Wine Group, introducing people all over the US to small, family-owned) up in the Solomon Hills of the Santa Maria Valley AVA. He was focused on that and one of his vineyard contractors mentioned an unpruned, unirrigated, and unattended vineyard that he kept passing as he drove up to Will’s property. A few months later, Will got curious. He decided to get out of his car and walk the vineyard in August. What he found defied all conventions in California viticulture: in spite of it growing wild, it was some of the best Pinot Noir he had ever seen or tasted.


It led Will down a path that many in Santa Maria Valley are following, and many more should follow, as he tries to answer the questions:

  • Have we been doing viticulture all wrong?
  • Does nature produce better grapes with less intervention in the vineyard?
  • Will the “Wild King” Pinot from this vineyard, with its bright acidity, vibrant flavors and low alcohol be the best wine Lane Tanner, Will’s partner (and acclaimed winemaker) has ever made?

This was not the first time Will had seen this phenomenon – could he be on to the next big trend in wine (which is really the oldest way to farm!).


As promised here are the links to the people we discuss on the show:


Thanks for listening! Please go see Will at Pico or The Wine Shepherd!


**All Photos used courtesy of Lumen Wines



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