Almost like clockwork, ocean breezes pick up again in the early afternoon, moderating daily temperatures. This maritime influence combined with sedimentary soils with patches of diatomaceous earth and limestone provides an ideal place to grow the appellation’s hallmark Pinot Noir. In each of the wine-growing appellations of California that are pinot-centric, there are a few notable vineyards that define the region, one being Fiddlestix Vineyard located 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean at the western end of the Santa Ynez Valley.
Diatomaceous earth is a natural, mineral–based soil amendment that provides an ideal growing medium for Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir. It is composed of the fossilized remains of diatoms, microscopic single–celled aquatic algae that have been naturally deposited in the hills over the centuries. The diatomaceous earth in the Santa Rita Hills is highly porous, allowing for better drainage and air circulation, which helps to promote healthy root growth and encourages the development of the unique flavors and aromas that make Pinot Noir from the region so distinctive. It also helps to retain moisture in the soil, making it less susceptible to drought and allowing for consistent vineyard yields.