Planted in 1880, abandoned after Prohibition, and painstakingly restored by one man with a pick and shovel in 1974—this is a vineyard whose wines bear the imprint of a remarkable history.
Five miles east of coastal Arroyo Grande village, the road winds around Lopez Lake, then curls into the upper valley for another several miles. Civilization recedes into the rear-view mirror as you take a dirt road even deeper into the canyon, where you finally encounter a small Zinfandel vineyard tucked gently into the chaparral, as it has been for more than 130 years.
This remote vineyard at Rancho Saucelito once produced some of the Central Coast’s earliest commercial wines. Nearly a century later, it was rediscovered by a dreamer named Bill Greenough, who made his bet on these gnarled, overgrown vines. His bet paid off with one of California’s most notable Zinfandels.
Ever since, Saucelito Canyon Vineyard has remained a Greenough family affair, with two generations now producing a diverse range of limited-production wines while maintaining our winery’s heritage of estate-grown Zinfandels.
Vineyards & Winemaking
Each of our bottles depicts a silhouette of the canyon and the surrounding mountains, as a testament to the wine’s most important ingredient: place.
The cornerstone of the estate vineyard is a three-acre block of head-pruned, dry-farmed Zinfandel planted in 1880—the oldest commercial vineyard in San Luis Obispo County. Three additional Zinfandel blocks totaling six acres were planted in the late 1970s and early 1980s. An additional acre of Zinfandel was planted in 2014 from our original old vine heritage clone. The vineyard also features a 1.5-acre block of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
The high-toned, brambly fruit character of our Zinfandel is a reflection of our vineyard’s unique ecosystem. Second-generation winemaker Tom Greenough is vigilant about respecting this native sense of place. He practices low-intervention techniques that produce wines with pure fruit flavors and a lively sense of natural acidity.