Au Bon Climat sources fruit from several of the most highly regarded vineyards on the Central Coast, primarily in Santa Barbara County. These have included Clendenen’s own Le Bon Climat Vineyard and estate plantings at the legendary Bien Nacido Vineyard (both in Santa Maria Valley) and his estate Rancho La Cuna (Santa Barbara County).

Other iconic locations include Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills, Los Alamos Vineyard (Santa Barbara County), Rancho Sisquoc, and Runway Vineyard (Santa Maria Valley), Solomon Hills Vineyards (Santa Maria Valley) and San Luis Obispo County’s Talley Vineyard.

Bien Nacido Vineyard

Bien Nacido

Santa Maria Valley

The fabled Bien Nacido Vineyard, first planted in 1973, is the primary vineyard source for Au Bon Climat wines. The site, planted to 900 acres of vines, is located at the northern end of California’s Santa Barbara County, on elevated bench land about 20 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean; to the east lie the foothills leading up to the Sierra Madre Mountains. Though the ocean can be viewed only from the hills surrounding the vineyards, the influence of the sea is felt in the cool temperatures of the Santa Maria Valley AVA.

900 Acres
gravel and calciferous clay Soil
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Tocai Fruilano, Nebbiolo, Petit Verdot, Refosco
Le Bon Climat Vineyard in Santa Maria

Le Bon Climat

Santa Maria Valley

In 1998 Jim Clendenen purchased 80 acres in Sisquoc along the south side of the Sisquoc River in the Santa Maria Valley, and named it Le Bon Climat. The vineyard is about 5 miles south but directly across from Bien Nacido (and thus the same distance from the Pacific Ocean). Sustainably farmed with an eye toward organic, the vineyard was comprehensively planted to ensure the best possible growing conditions including using Riparia Gloire rootstock to reduce vigor, installing drip irrigation and drainage in the soil, and limiting the vines to 1,600 per acre of carefully selected plant material. The vineyard was sold in 2022.

52 Acres
Sandy Loam Soil
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Viognier, Aligote, Gewürtzraminer
Overlooking Rancho La Cuna Vineyard with the foothills behind and some clouds in the sky

Rancho La Cuna

Santa Barbara County

Rancho La Cuna, located in the Los Alamos Valley of Santa Barbara County, is an 100 acre property owned by the Clendenen Family. Originally planted in the late 1990s, its now 20-acre vineyard. Los Alamos Valley lies between two acclaimed appellations: Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley. Here, the grapes seem to have the best of both worlds; the long, cool growing season of Santa Maria for structure, and the warmth of the Santa Ynez Valley to ensure complete ripeness and depth. With warm days and very cold nights, the fruit from this region achieves incredible concentration and balance. Its slight, well drained soils and a wide range of microclimates allows for a diversity of varietals.

20 Acres
Sandy Loam & Shaly Clay Soil
Syrah, Viognier, Grenache, Grenache Gris, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir
Looking across a pond towards Runway Vineyard in Santa Maria


Santa Maria Valley

Runway is located about a mile from our winery, essentially next-door to Bien Nacido Vineyards. Runway Vineyard was founded in the Santa Maria Valley in 2008 with 16 acres under vine on a 1,000 acre parcel. The vineyard has improved every year as farming methods are fine tuned. Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir characteristically has a very fragrant, cranberry, rose petal aroma, and firm structure. The fruit from Runway provides that, yet is richer and more intense.  The soil there is sandy so once the weather warms in the summer, the grapes ripen quickly.

16 Acres
Sandy Soil
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris
Overlooking Rancho La Cuna Vineyard with the foothills behind and some clouds in the sky

Sanford & Benedict

Sta. Rita Hills

The first “great“ vineyard in Santa Barbara County was planted by Richard Sanford and Michael Benedict in 1971, first with Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling, then later with Pinot Noir vines from Karl Wente. The Burgundian varieties had found a home in Santa Barbara County. The vineyard is located 10 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean on the western end of the Santa Ynez Valley, and benefits from a unique geographic anomaly – the east-west traversing mountains of the Santa Ynez Valley which provides a pathway to the Pacific Ocean and draws the cool air inland. This maritime cooling influence creates an ideal growing climate (Region I) for classic Burgundian varietals. With a mantle of hard, siliceous chert-gravel covering deep, well-drained soils, it is a perfect medium for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay—the primary plantings.

51 Acres
calcium-rich Botella clay loam Soil
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Looking over the rows of vines Los Alamos Vineyard that have fresh tendrils; green hills are in the background.

Los Alamos

Santa Barbara County

Los Alamos Vineyard, just 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean, lies between the cool Santa Maria Valley appellation to the north and the warmer Santa Ynez Valley appellation to the south. The region has the firm acidity and structure from a very cool climate, and the expressive fruit character, and rich texture of a warmer region. Au Bon Climat and Los Alamos Vineyard share a lot of history. The first Au Bon Climat winery was a small barn on the Los Alamos Vineyard property in 1982. Los Alamos Vineyard continues to be a large part of the Au Bon Climat portfolio going forward.

459 Acres
Sandy, Shaly Clay Loam Soil
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
a look down a row in Talley Vineyards with the hillside behind and blue sky above

Talley Vineyards

Arroyo Grande Valley

Rosemary’s Vineyard is a 28 acre vineyard, almost evenly divided between Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with plantings dating to 1987 when Don Talley planted a small section of own rooted Wadenswil selection Pinot Noir. The vineyard is characterized by shaly loam soil and is just over 6 miles to the north east of the Pacific.  Jim Clendenen produced the first ever single vineyard bottling from the vineyard, the legendary 1991 Au Bon Climat Rosemary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir.  Since that time, the vineyard has come to be recognized as one of the best sites in California for both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

28 Acres
Shaly Loam Soil
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
Looking down a row of Solomon Hills Vineyard with the Santa Maria foothills and "Camel Back" peak in the background

Solomon Hills

Santa Maria Valley

The Solomon Hills Vineyard was planted by the Miller Family in the late 1990’s. Known for pinot noir and chardonnay, Solomon Hills found its tenor early on in its relatively young life among a broad range of talented winemakers who found its vibrant, youthful flavor profile exhilarating, and, at times, profound.

The soils of Solomon Hills Vineyards are composed primarily of ocean derived sandy loams. With the Pacific coastline only miles away, a constant maritime influence results in wines of precise acidity, bright fruit and an inherent elegance.

99 Acres
Sandy Loam Soil
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir