2013 Liquid Farm 'White Hill' Chardonnay Burgundy-style White Wine From Sta. Rita Hills, California
Our mission is to support local viticulture and at the same time, honor our palate's love for wines that have natural high acidity and are not manipulated or masked by many of the modern day techniques.
Located in the heart of Buelton, California.
- "Liquid from Farming" - Making and Seeking wines of TYPICITY.
- Meeting / Conference Facilities:
- Wedding Facilities:
- Picnic Facilities:
- Dog Friendly:
- Winery Tours:
- Wine Tasting:
- Art or Architecture:
- Organic / Biodynamic:
- Wine Club:
- Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:
While poking around online for botanical/Divinci-type sketches of dandelion roots we came across a black and white drawing - it appeared to be a beet root that had been mislabeled, but there was a haunting faint line running through the center that kept us coming back to it.
After a little research, we were able to track down the talented artist: Val Littlewood, a gifted nature illustrator from the UK. She was able to transform her fatefully misnamed beet root into our Liquid Farm image by adding color to the bulb, and adding in the flower (figuratively, the grape) that transports what is found below ground, "above ground."
Nikki caught the food and wine bug while working in restaurants and in her early twenties, helped open up one of the first wine shops in her hometown of Temecula, CA. Nikki went on to obtain her BA in Wine and Viticulture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, with a focus on Wine Business. After college, Nikki worked for one of California's fine wine distributors, The Henry Wine Group, departing in June 2011 to release the first vintage of LF. She now runs the day-to-day operations, wearing a zillion hats including marketing, sales, shipping, accounting, social media, wine club, helping in the cellar as able during harvest and most importantly - daily quality control of LF wines.
Jeff too started in the business directly out of college and for the past 20 years, has worked for some of the top Champagne and Burgundy houses in France, managing sales and marketing throughout Southern California. From the start of the project in 2009, Jeff happily kept his day job and in his off time, was always there to suppport LF. In Fall of 2014 he was able to alas come on board full time and fully dive into the operations in and out of the winery.
With Nikki originally based in SLO and Jeff in LA, the two finally got around to dating in 2010 after being work colleagues for two years. While on a meet in the middle date in Santa Ynez, they blurted out their first "I love you" while tasting through the 2009 barrel samples from plastic vials. They were married at Kessler-Haak Vineyard, where all of those barrel samples came from just before harvest in 2011. Vineyard owner Dan Kessler drove Nikki in on a tractor and the two made their "Just Married" getaway in the same fashion. They split their time between Los Angeles and Santa Ynez with their family of feathered and furry kids: Rio, a cheese loving African Grey Parrot, two rescue pooches; Blossom & Maya along with The Golden Girls - a FOUR chicken flock comprised of three hens and an unexpected cock.
Consulting in the Cellar: Dragonette Cellars
Through various channels in the wine world, we were connected with Brandon Sparks-Gillis and John Dragonette of Dragonette Cellars over a decade ago. Along with Steve Dragonette and James Sparks who started with DC in 2009, the guys all followed their passions away from other work into winemaking and produced their first vintage in 2004. Dragonette crafts some of the most compelling wines on the Central Coast, including jaw dropping Sauvignon Blanc, small lot Pinot Noirs and Rhone reds.
In 2009, LF got its start with Brandon helping to arrange a small amount of Chardonnay for our now project, that was then just a twinkle of a dream, yielding the first FOUR barrels of LF. The wines were crafted during the 2009-2012 vintages at a shared working winery in Lompoc, CA.
Lead Winemaker: James Sparks
In 2013 we had as a project, become ready to take the next step in the cellar and FOUR short days before harvest kicked off, we moved into a small working winery in the newly established Buellton Bodegas Coop. We're joined by James Sparks, Native of Idaho, as Winemaker. James has worked with the LF wines from our inception via Dragonette Cellars where he started in his career in the wine business in 2009 as a cellar rat, working his way up over the next FOUR years to the role of assistant winemaker. With the DC gents all being intimately involved in the winemaking within their own project, James had reached his scope there as assistant winemaker and was ready to take the plunge into more of a lead role. Our long term plan to progressively be more hands-on in the cellar and more rooted in Santa Ynez Valley, told us it was the right time to find a place to call home.
We all began harvest in 2013, the earliest to date, on September 4th - a symbolic number for us if you haven't already noticed with our love of the number FOUR, the numerical name of our FOURth bottling - a tribute to our FOUR barrel start in 2009.
Practices & Techniques
We allow the wines to develop on their own with little intervention, minimal or no new oak and use no additives or machines to manipulate the wines inherent personality. The project is also committed to blending from the handful of special vineyards we work with in the small AVA of Sta. Rita Hills to produce a collection of Chardonnays that are markedly different expressions, but with the same thread of intense minerality and salinity they started with in the vineyard. Click on each Philosophy below to read more about what we do and why.