Sanguis is an urban winery in Santa Barbara. It was founded by Matthias Pippig and his wife Jamie Kinser, and the couple source grapes from the Santa Rita Hills, Alisos Canyon and the hills east of Santa Maria. A native of Germany who is a food-industry marketing consultant when he’s not making wine, Pippig has been compared to his friend and one-time restaurant colleague Manfred Krankl, the dynamo behind Sine Qua Non. Like Krankl, Pippig creates blends with exuberant names and makes his own labels. He also decries the current “non-interventionist” trend in winemaking, having told more than one interviewer that the winemaker’s job is precisely about creating fine wines through closely monitored winemaking. Wine Advocate calls Sanguis wines “impeccably made…In addition, they also age gracefully. While the bulk of the lineup is red, don’t miss his whites! They’re rich and full-bodied, but unique, awesomely pure and focused.”
Santa Barbara County is not an AVA, but a region just south of San Luis Obispo that includes the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley appellations. Wine has been produced in the area since the 18th century when Spanish missionaries planted vineyards. It wasn’t until the 1990s, however, that producers focused on growing premier grapes for fine wines. During the 1990s more than 10,000 acres of vineyards were planted, and today there are nearly 20,000 acres of vineyards. The region received a big bump in recognition and prestige when the popular film “Sideways” was shot there in 2004. Because the region is affected by maritime weather, it is relatively cool climate makes it ideal for Chardonnay. Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and an increasingly adventuresome number of varietals are also grown successfully in Santa Barbara County.