Our estate Margarita Vineyard stands alone and apart as the southernmost vineyard in the Paso Robles region, and as the only vineyard in the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA.
Ancient Peaks wines exhibit a natural complexity that is a direct reflection of Margarita Vineyard’s rare array of soils. Margarita Vineyard spans five separate soil types that ebb, flow and intermingle throughout the vineyard. Few vineyards boast such a spectrum of geological diversity. This diversity enables us to grow the same grape varieties in a range of soils, ultimately enhancing the texture and dimension of the resulting wines.
Margarita Vineyard lies just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean and occupies one of the Paso Robles region’s coolest growing environments, providing our wines with native structure and intensity. When the days heat up, the air rises to create a vacuum that pulls marine breezes inland and over the surrounding peaks—and right through the vineyard. The peaks are frequently enshrouded in coastal fog during the growing season, a vivid testament to the vineyard’s unique microclimate.
The pronounced marine influence, combined with unusually cold spring temperatures, creates a late, long growing season that allows the fruit to develop a signature combination of fully developed flavors and fine structure. As the only vineyard in its vicinity, Margarita Vineyard is alone in benefitting from the climatic conditions of this particular location. Here, the ripening process is slow and sometimes challenging, an attribute that is shared by many of the world’s finest vineyards.
Margarita Vineyard is the only vineyard located within its own namesake AVA—a testament to the vineyard’s unique growing conditions. The Santa Margarita Ranch AVA is situated along the foot of the coastal Santa Lucia Mountain Range. Attributes of the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA include one of the coolest, longest growing seasons in the Paso Robles region; a rare diversity of soil types originating from the tectonic uplift that created the surrounding Santa Lucia mountain peaks; and an abundance of rainfall, totaling 29 inches per year on average.
Margarita Vineyard was planted in 1999 as a model of sustainability. Today, we continue to implement numerous sustainable viticultural practices to ensure natural quality in our wines while protecting the rich native environment surrounding Margarita Vineyard. Our practices have earned SIP (Sustainability in Practice) Certification for Margarita Vineyard, the leading standard for viticultural sustainability.
Our estate Margarita Vineyard is the only vineyard located in the Santa Margarita Ranch AVA of Paso Robles on California’s Central Coast. The Santa Margarita Ranch AVA is distinguished by one of the coolest, longest growing seasons in the Paso Robles region. It also features a rare diversity of soil types—a testament to the tectonic friction that created the surrounding Santa Lucia mountain peaks.
In the Oyster Ridge block of Margarita Vineyard, thousands of large white oyster fossils are literally spilling out of the soil—testifying to the land’s origins as an uplifted sea bed. Wine & Spirits magazine called it “perhaps the most dramatically calcareous chunk of earth in the state.” Here, elevated calcium content yields high-toned flavors with pretty aromatics.
Monterey shale is part of a coastal formation that accumulated in deep structural basins during the mid-Miocene period. Soil pits in parts of Margarita Vineyard reveal densely packed, orange-tinged layers of Monterey shale rock that are brittle and flaky to the touch. The abundantly rocky profile in these spots yields intense flavors with dimension and complexity.
Ancient volcanic activity has indelibly shaped the landscape of southern San Luis Obispo County—most notably in the towering “morro” mountains that were formed by volcanic extrusion. The volcanic deposits at Margarita Vineyard occupy sloping terrain that includes rocky basalt. The high iron content of these blocks brings lower yields with excellent flavor concentration.
The rocky alluvium found at Margarita Vineyard is dominated by gravel with elements of clay, silt and sand. This amalgam was created by ancient water flows and erosive phenomena, which weathered the surrounding terrain into a downflow of alluvium deposits. This richer soil profile lends itself to dry farming, and that produces pure, plush fruit flavors.
Granite is an intrusive igneous rock. The granitic elements at Margarita Vineyard were created by the weathering of granite-based formations to the east of the vineyard. These weathered granite soils are composed of diverse minerals mixed with organic deposits, yielding fruit with fine mid-palate weight and rich flavors.
Cattle were first introduced to Santa Margarita Ranch by Franciscan missionaries in 1774 and have remained prominent on this land ever since. Today, Santa Margarita Ranch endures as one of California's oldest continuously operated cattle ranches, and the ownership families of Ancient Peaks are actively involved in the ranching operations.