Rideau Vineyard was established in 1997 by Iris Rideau, who became the first female African-American winery owner in the United States. By the time she sold the winery in 2016, Rideau Vineyard had become a beacon of warm hospitality and inclusivity in the Santa Ynez Valley—a philosophy now maintained and fostered by owners Martin and Isabelle Gauthier and the entire Rideau team. Our focus has continuously been on handcrafting small-lot wines from grapes that are hand-harvested from our sustainably-farmed estate vineyard—truly showcasing the land from which they come. Almost fully direct-to-consumer since the beginning, our wines are best enjoyed on our enchanted grounds located within the Los Olivos District AVA.
With a focus on the traditions of the Rhône valley, we make wines that are expressive of the varietal and vineyard they come from. Each wine is lovingly cared for from first bud break in the vineyard until the moment it leaves the winery; yet our goal is to intervene as little as possible, to truly allow the varietal and vineyard to shine.
We hand-harvest our grapes when they are at their peak of flavor and ripeness, bringing our wines to complete fermentation using only wild yeasts and bottling our reds unfiltered whenever possible. By utilizing whole cluster, dried stem fermentation and scaling our oak amounts to fit the needs of each wine, our wines remain true to varietal character as well as the land.
Raised on a Sonoma vineyard, Adrienne St. John’s heart is rooted in the California wine industry. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Cal Poly, she immediately established herself in the Central Coast wine industry, working both as an enologist in the lab as well as in the cellar, all while completing her MBA in Strategy and Management. She brings this uniquely varied skill set to her position as Winemaker at Rideau Vineyard, where she manages the annual production of 7,500 cases across a dozen different varietals.
Planted exclusively to Rhône varietals, our vineyard is a unique blend of two terroirs: our lower vineyard was once the home of an ancient river bed and floodplain, our upper vineyard was once the river bank. Originally planted to five blocks in 1997 and expanded to a sixth block in 2017, each clone is planted and farmed in the location and soil that best suits it. Its deep, well-drained soil, combined with the coastal weather influences of the nearby Pacific Ocean, lead to the delicately balanced flavor profile of distinct minerality, baking spices, and earthiness that we covet in our estate wines.
above sea level
Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre,
and Clay Loam
In addition to our estate wine, we carefully source fruit from a select few local vineyards.
Located on the westernmost side of the Santa Rita Hills, we source Pinot Noir fruit of great character from this well-established, organically-farmed vineyard. The fruit is structured, concentrated, and shows loads of earth, highlighted through our use of whole cluster fermentation.
Located across the riverbed from Bien Nacido Vineyard, Garey Vineyard provides excellent Pinot Noir that fully represents the Santa Maria Valley. Brighter in character than Pinot Noir from the Santa Rita Hills, Garey Vineyards’s rich soil provides classic notes of strawberry, black cherry, and baking spice.
Happy Canyon is known for its distinctly warm microclimate, which allows for the proper ripening of the Bordeaux varietals Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. A premiere vineyard in its AVA, we are always impressed by the strength, concentration, and varietal character of Happy Canyon’s fruit.
Located near the Happy Canyon AVA in one of the warmer areas of the Santa Ynez Valley, this sprawling vineyard is sustainably farmed with great care. We source a number of Rhône varietals from this property for use in blending, as well as our vineyard-designate Sangiovese.
Situated at the northernmost tip of the Santa Ynez Valley AVA, nearly touching the Santa Maria Valley, this site receives the cool wind and morning fog coming off the Pacific more than other vineyards in its appellation. The sustainably-farmed Roussanne we source from Zaca Mesa shows superb minerality and structure.
Thompson Vineyard is located on Alisos Canyon Road, a windy corridor that is significantly cooler than our estate. The Syrah we source is own-rooted, low-yielding, and produces fruit of incredible depth and structure. To capture the essence of the vines from this special site, we introduce fully sun-dried stems into the fermentation process.
Dating back to the 1800s, our estate and the El Alamo Pintado Adobe each have a storied past. Having through its history evolved from a guest ranch serving weary stagecoach travellers, to a chic turn-of-the-century resort, to a down-to-earth working ranch, today this very same land is the heart of the Rideau tasting experience.
Women have played a starring role on our property from the start. Prior to building the adobe, female farmers contributed to planting the land as a vineyard.
Our adobe, still standing today, was built by two English remittance men, Daniel B. W. Alexander and Fred Grundy.