Flying Goats and Trendsetting Bubblers

How Norm Yost’s Fascination with High-Acidity Pinots Led to Santa Barbara’s First Steady Sparkling Wine

In the late 1970s, when Norm Yost left his hometown of Mill Valley to start college at UC Davis, no one could have predicted that the beer-drinking football player would, nearly 30 years later, become the first in Santa Barbara wine country to produce a steady line of sparkling wines. “I like to think that we set the trend,” said Yost, explaining that, while at least one S.B. winery had done a sparkler in the past, his Goat Bubbles — produced in Lompoc under his Flying Goat Cellars label — is the first one to stick. And the public immediately responded, said Yost, explaining, “People were banging on the door for it.”

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Sunset Magazine: Ultimate California HWY 1 road trip

The rolling hills around Lompoc are producing some of California’s best wines—heady stuff for a town formerly known as flower-seed capital of the world. And while it may be short on romance—it’s located in an industrial park—the improbably named 

Lompoc Wine Ghetto is a collection of 20 tasting rooms where you can sample some of the best the Santa Rita Hills region has to offer, including Fiddlehead Cellars and Flying Goat Cellars.

 

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Lompoc Wine Ghetto Part 1

Wine tasting in a ghetto? It doesn’t sound like the normal grandeur that accompanies wine, but in this windswept corner of Santa Barbara County, the Lompoc Wine Ghetto has become a mecca for world-class, artisan wine production. Stripped down to the bare essentials, this industrial park maze, all asphalt and aluminum, spotlights the wine, in all of its intensity and raw charm, not adorned with wine country couture. Small lots of vibrant Pinot Noir that resonates fruit and savory notes and juicy Chardonnay that makes your mouth water for more are the highlights here.

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