In 1970 pioneer winemaker, Richard Sanford, and botanist, Michael Benedict, planted the Sanford & Benedict vineyard, the first Pinot Noir vineyard in the region. At the time, vineyards in this area were unheard of. The local farmers warned, “Grapes will never grow around here”. But, with his degree from UC Berkeley in geography, Richard felt that the soil and climate of this portion of the Santa Ynez Valley were a close parallel to Burgundy, home of the Pinot Noir Richard was hoping he could produce here in California. After five years of passionate work in their vineyard, the first Sanford & Benedict wines were released in 1976 to rave reviews.