As well as being a prized source of fruit for Santa Barbara County’s top producers, the Spear Vineyard in Santa Rita’s Hills is building a phenomenal reputation for crafting Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays of elegance and distinction under the director of founder Ofer Shepher. This is Coastal California at its purest.
Spear Vineyards & Winery is a family owned, sustainable and certified organic vineyard nestled in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. It was planted in 2013 with 13 hectares under vine, with the inaugural 2016 vintage crafted under the guidance of regional guru, Greg Brewer.
Founder Ofer Shepher’s interest in the local wine community germinated very early on and continued to resonate within him throughout his college and post-college career. Weekend camping trips to the Santa Ynez Valley sparked an unyielding desire to pursue coastal wines. He began his winemaking studies at U.C. Davis in 2004, which propelled a move to the historic Gnesa Ranch in 2005 (now part of the Estate).
As a child, Ofer would spend summers in Israel working on the kibbutz his mother grew up on. This communal farming background not only afforded Ofer a tremendously diverse skill set, it also set the tone for a collaborative work ethic focused predominantly on agriculture. These formative years continue to influence the stewardship of every aspect at Spear Vineyards, where every stage of the wine growing process is given equal priority.
Spear Vineyards were planted in 2014 along the Highway 246 corridor and within the interior of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. These are amongst the highest elevation plantings in the famed appellation. Peaking at 275 mertre above sea level, there are currently 14 hectares in production representing six different grape varietals on a multitude of diverse clonal, rootstock, orientation, elevation and soil combinations. Dedicated to sustainability, CCOF certified organic farming nourishes the soils, enriching the diversity and vitality of microorganisms and thereby improving vine health and vineyard expression. These viticultural practices obviate the use of inorganic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides.
Sonja Magdevski joined Spear Vineyards as winemaker in 2022. She is one of the most exciting and influential figures in the Santa Inez Valley, treading the vines from Santa Maria to Los Alamos, Sta. Rita Hills to Ballard Canyon. There are few with more regional knowledge and experience, and Sonja’s deft touch is the perfect fit for the elegant, energetic wines at Spear.