Santa Maria Valley
Dan Tudor first made wine in 1982 while working for cousin Louie Lucas, the founding and managing partner of Tepuesquet Vineyards in the Santa Maria valley. Tepusquet Vineyards was owned by Luis and George Lucas and partner Al Gagnon, and consisted of a 2,700-acre ranch with 1,700 acres of developed vineyard located 17 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean and sit at 400 to 800 feet above sea level. They are planted in sandy, alluvial soil that is well-drained which limits yields and drives the vines to concentrate their energy on fruit maturation. The cool climate with moderating maritime influences from the east-west orientation of the valley leads to a long growing season and desirable acid retention.
This benchland is located between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Sisquoc River, and was originally denoted as Tepuzli, a Chumash Indian term meaning “copper coin.” Spanish settlers later renamed it Rancho Tepusquet. The original owners of the rancho, part of a 1838 Mexican land grant, were the Olivera family who raised cattle and planted Mission grapes.