Our Story 2017-09-25T17:44:02+00:00

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Our Story

Cottonwood Canyon Vineyard & Winery is a premium boutique winery specializing in Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah.  Founded in 1988 by the Beko family, Cottonwood Canyon joins traditional Burgundian style wine making practices with American ingenuity to produce age-worthy and memorable wines!

We are surrounded by the spectacular beauty of the San Rafael Mountains in the cool climate of the Santa Maria Valley.  We are approximately ten minutes east of Santa Maria, CA and at the northern edge of the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail in Santa Barbara County wine country.  The now 78 acre estate had 46 acres of planted Chardonnay and was 15 years old when the property was purchased.  To our good fortune, the estate was one of the original California vineyards planted in a north-south direction strategically allowing for maximum sun exposure and helping to reduce vine damage from the wind.  The proximity of our location is just 19 miles away from the Pacific Ocean, generating a heavy marine influence and a cool Pacific Ocean breeze both proving to be highly influential on our fruit.

Cottonwood Canyon geologically lies on an expansive sandy, gravelly mesa with steep canyons created by eons of erosion.  Our “Estate Vineyard” sits atop the flat, open region of our property. “Sharon’s Vineyard” is nestled at the bottom of our canyon in an ancient river bed while “Elizabeth’s Vista” and “Hillside Select” vineyards are located on the south- eastern edge of the loamy canyon.

Our season usually begins with bud break in mid-February and ends with harvest in mid-September.  This long, very cool growing season results in a high skin-to-liquid ratio creating extremely high acid levels in our fruit.  This in combination with our “hands off” wine making philosophy results in our “age worthy” wine program unique to both Cottonwood and most French Burgundies.  However, Cottonwood has climatic advantage over Burgundy, France. With moderate temperatures throughout the growing season we are able to achieve higher sugar levels while maintaining the natural high acidity so critical to long lived wines.  To date, the estate currently has 25 acres of Pinot Noir, seven acres of Chardonnay and three acres of Syrah planted.  The vineyard continues to be managed by hand; row by row and vine by vine.  Our vineyards are currently managed by Coastal Vineyard Care Associates.