Dragonette Cellars is a small, family-owned and operated winery in every sense of the word. The proprietors, John and Steve Dragonette and close friend Brandon Sparks-Gillis formed Dragonette Cellars in order to pursue a long-held dream to produce wines of the utmost quality and purity from the finest vineyards in the Santa Barbara County and the Central Coast. Wives, Mitchi, Jen & Michelle work with them in the vineyard, cellar and tasting room (and are the inspiration for a special reserve Rhone-varietal blend called “MJM”). A visit to Dragonette Cellars, therefore, means that you will meet the family behind the label.
Of course it is what's in the bottle that counts and to that end, John, Steve and Brandon are passionately committed to handcrafting exceptional wines of complexity, purity and balance with their own hands. Therefore they are personally involved in all wine-related operations and decisions, from vineyard to barrel to bottle. Every bottle that leaves the cellar door is 100% produced by their family members.
Dragonette Cellars’ story began at an excellent wine shop in Los Angeles, where they had the opportunity to taste (and become inspired by) the benchmark wines of the world. From there they obtained hands-on experience with exceptional wineries and viticulturists. Armed with this experience, they launched their own label, utilizing their vineyard contacts to obtain grapes from excellent, meticulously-managed vineyards throughout the Santa Ynez Valley; from cool climate Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills, to Syrah from Ballard Canyon, Los Alamos and York Mountain, to Sauvignon Blanc from the uniquely suitable area of Happy Canyon. Sources include: Grassini and Vogelzang for Sauvignon Blanc, Fiddlestix, Cargasacchi, Hilliard Bruce and La Encantada for Pinot Noir, and Stolpman, Harrison Clarke, Thompson, and Shadow Canyon for Syrah. Most are sustainably and/or organically farmed. In most cases, they buy grapes on a “per acre” basis, which allows them to control important viticultural decisions such as shoot and cluster density, canopy management, irrigation, and yield control to produce the highest quality fruit.
In the cellar Brandon, John & Steve focus on allowing their carefully selected fruit to evolve into wines of great complexity, purity and balance. To that end, they harvest small lots from each vineyard block individually, with hand sorting in the vineyard, and then ferment and age the resulting wines separately, carefully monitoring each barrel throughout its elevage. The final blends are painstakingly created by blind tasting each barrel. Wines are bottled our wines without fining or filtration in most cases.
Producing small lots of ultra premium Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah-based, Rhone styled wines, Dragonette Cellars is rapidly gaining recognition as a winery to watch, garnering enthusiastic critical reviews from The Wine Advocate, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine
Case production: 2500-3000
Principal varietals: Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Grenache
Winemaker: Brandon Sparks-Gillis, John Dragonette, Steve Dragonette
2445 Alamo Pintado Avenue, Los Olivos
Thursday to Monday, 11am to 5pm
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