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Larner Vineyard and Winery

Viticultural & Enological Experiences

Learn, discuss, and share lessons in Viticulture and Enology experienced from the people behind Larner Vineyard & Winery, located in Ballard Canyon AVA - Santa Barbara's Wine Country's Syrah territory.


Michael Larner
February 3, 2020 | Michael Larner


n. A sand dune that is crescent-shaped in form as observed from above, found in areas in limited sand supply. Barchans face the wind, appearing convex, produced by wind action from one predominant side. They can move across a desert floor, with their two “horns” facing downwind following the angle of repose dictated by the particular sand type. Barchans typically occur as groups of isolated dunes, yet also may form chains that extend across plains in the prevailing wind direction. As they migrate, occasionally smaller dunes outpace the larger dunes and collide in a fashion similar to waves of light, sound, or water. 

These dunes are not only found on our planet Earth, but have been observed on Mars where the thin atmosphere produces winds strong enough to move sands. In essence these dunes voyaging across a desolate landscape, represent a celestial beauty. Proof Mother nature chooses many forms of artwork whilst painting our landscape. Similar to the beauty found in rolling hills of the Ballard Canyon AVA, where predominate daily westerly winds cool down the grape growing region to ensure optimal diurnal temperature swings to ensure ripeness without sacrificing acidity, color, and flavor.

While our estate vineyard is banded with layers of sand, sometimes six feet deep, the chalky substrata bind this matrix to the grapevine root filled media. So while we may not see resultant barchans currently moving across our landscape, rock outcrops on the estate reveal a presence in the past. It is phenomenal to think some 20 Million years ago that part of the land now farmed organically was once a desert, turn coastline as the east west running transverse Santa Ynez Mountains bulldozed everything towards the North following the San Andreas Fault up the California coast.

This rich geological history mimics our own family’s timeline, although much briefer, as we have surpassed our 20th Anniversary of growing estate wine grapes, with a predominate forecast of progressively growing our estate brand and providing grapes to over 24 individual local wineries, whom may seem isolated in nature yet are linked back to the estate. It is this business hybrid of estate winemaking and wine-grape sales that has allowed us to stay the course of excellence and relevance in the shifting sands of time.

Time Posted: Feb 3, 2020 at 4:34 PM Permalink to Barchan Permalink
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