Traditional method wines from untraditional regions: Part 2

The thirst for US traditional method sparkling wines from untraditional wine regions increases. Part 2 explores Temecula, Santa Barbara County, and Northern Michigan.

My Latest in The Drinks Business:

Traditional method wines from Temecula, Santa Barbara and Michigan


As the global thirst for traditional method sparkling wines increases, consumers are looking further afield for their fizz. Here, we explore the bubbles of Temecula, Santa Barbara and Michigan.

In part one of this three-part series, we explored fine fizz from Washington State.

In this second part, we take a look at the burgeoning bubbles scenes in Temecula, Santa Barbara, and Northern Michigan and explore why sparkling fans should explore these territories.


Southern California’s Temecula Valley lies about an hour or two from Los Angeles, San Diego, and Palm Springs. Often described as “Like Napa, but more affordable,” this family-friendly hub draws around 2.3 million visitors annually.

Moreover, its marine-influenced, Mediterranean-like climate favours Bordeaux, Iberian and Italian grape varieties, allowing for diverse wine styles, including bubbles.

“Our weather and growing conditions are conducive to early harvest, when the ripeness parameters for sparkling grapes – acids high, pH low – are ideal, so why not?” says veteran SoCal sparkling winemaker Jon McPherson of Carter Estates Winery & Resort.

McPherson works alongside winemaker Javier Flores of sister winery South Coast Winery Resort on the estate’s sparkling programme. Founded in 2003, Carter Estates Winery produces approximately 3,000 cases of bubbles annually.

“We use only 100% Temecula fruit, consisting of Pinot Noir (which does well, especially when picked at 18 to 19 brix) Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris (all stalwart varieties in our region),” says McPherson.

He prefers an ’oxidative’ style, with dosage between 5-8 g/L.

Other trademarks include meticulous pressing, proprietary yeasts, and extended ageing from three to five-plus years. Finished wines include Brut, Blanc de Blanc, Blanc de Noir, and Prestige Cuvée, ranging between US$39-US$75 (£34-£65).

Interestingly, Temecula Valley sells more than 90% of its wines, including sparkling, direct-to-consumer. Yet it remains a hidden gem, at least for now. READ MORE HERE.

I’m pleased to share my latest article on US Traditional Method Sparkling Wines from Untraditional Regions with you.

Link to more of my work here.


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