Kenneth Volk Vineyards is located on Tepusquet Road, in the northeastern portion of the Santa Maria Valley AVA in Santa Barbara County, California. The property is located at the mouth of Tepusquet Canyon on the Sisquoc River Bench.
The vineyard and winery property was formerly the "original" Byron Winery (the "new" Byron Winery is located next door), established by Ken Byron Brown in 1981. In 1994 the winery was acquired by the Robert Mondavi Winery Corporation. Ken Volk purchased the building and land at the end of 2004, after over a year of negotiations. The sale included the winery and vineyard only - no brands, no wine, and no on-going business venture.
Ken was attracted to the property for a variety of reasons, including its beautiful, tranquil location along the ever-flowing Tepusquet Creek, and the oak and sycamore riparian habitat surrounding the winery. Another blessed feature of the site is its adjacency to some of the top Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards in Santa Barbara wine country. As well, being located up Tepusquet Canyon, the winery is out of the wind tunnel of the Santa Maria mesa.
Ken describes the facility as a winery "fixer-upper." No maintenance, preventative or otherwise, had been done since the property changed hands in 1994. Ken spent much of 2005, and much of his resources, creating an efficient, sanitary and safe working environment appropriate for the production of luxury class wines.
Ken reinsulated the production bays, installed fire sprinklers, re-plumbed the water system, and installed a proper ventilation and night-air fan system among other infrastructure improvements. Ken also brought in substantially improved crushing and pressing equipment to facilitate gentle and efficient fruit processing.
One of the innovative winemaking practices we employ is an OXO barrel racking system. This allows for rolling the barrel 360 degrees in place, evenly distributing the lees without removing the bung. This lessens the oxygen pick-up in the wine, and preserves delicate aromas while moderating oak extraction.