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Nielson Vineyards, California
Nielson Wines pays homage to its namesake, Uriel J. Nielson, who in 1964 planted the first commercial vineyard in Santa Barbara County, a region previously considered too cold to grow grapes. Known as a viticulture pioneer, Uriel didn’t heed warnings from neighbouring farmers and didn’t flinch in his stance that Santa Barbara County could be one among the top winegrowing regions in the world. Today, five decades later, there are now more than 100 wineries and thousands of acres devoted to vineyards, producing wines recognized by critics worldwide for their amazing quality, uniqueness and compelling balance of flavour.

The Nielson Vineyard, nestled 18 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, is one of the first vineyard sites in the valley to witness the fog burn off each morning. This early morning sun appearance results in muscular Pinot Noirs with dark fruits and floral notes and Chardonnays with renowned mineral, citrus and orange blossom notes.

Winemaker, Anna Clifford, spent a decade making wine in Napa and Sonoma, then travelled to make wine in New Zealand between harvest seasons in California. The Central Otago in New Zealand, which shares many similarities with Santa Barbara, sparked her passion for Pinot Noir and ultimately inspired her to explore winemaking in California’s Central Coast. When an opportunity with Nielson came to her in 2018, Anna jumped at the chance. This new role allowed Anna to focus on the vineyards, giving her a direct connection with the estate fruit going into Nielson’s expressive Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. When offered the role of winemaker in 2020, Anna gladly accepted.
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