Doug Margerum found his passion for wine as a teenager in the caves of Clos de Papes on a family vacation. Twenty years later, a 13-course dinner in New Orleans with Chris Robles gave Doug the opportunity he had been dreaming about: he turned over the day-to-day running of the Wine Cask to Chris to follow his passion to make wine and established Margerum Wine Company in 2001.

That same year, Fred Brander allowed Doug to produce his first wines in a 400-square foot facility Doug built behind Brander Vineyard. Since 2012, Margerum Wine Company makes its winemaking home in Buellton at a state-of-the-art facility on Industrial Way. The focus is red and white Rhône varieties from the Estate vineyard, Sauvignon Blanc from Happy Canyon and a variety of other wines from custom-farmed fruit purchased from growers in Santa Barbara County.

REGION California
APPELLATION(S) Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, Los Olivos District, Santa Barbara County, Santa Rita Hills
WINEMAKER Doug Margerum, Michael Miroballi

The Margerum Estate Vineyard is located in the newly designated Los Olivos District AVA in the Santa Ynez Valley. Margerum Wine Company signed a 20-year lease with the Honea family for the property in February 2016. Margerum transformed the 18-acre vineyard to specialize exclusively on Rhône grape varietals with the goal of becoming the premier grower of these varietals in Santa Barbara County. The acreage is divided between limestone hillsides and gravelly alluvial flatlands along Alamo Pintado Creek.

The first grafts and new plantings occurred in spring of 2016 and the first harvest was in 2017. The Margerum Estate at Honea Vineyard grapes are grown for the Margerum M5 labels as well as for the single vineyard Syrah program. The varieties planted include Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Counoise as well as three hillside blocks planted to three different clones of Syrah co-planted with Viognier. The grape varieties planted were chosen by Doug Margerum, in consultation with Ben Merz of Coastal Vineyard Care Associates.  

For other Margerum vineyard sources, click here.

WHITES: white wines are made in stainless steel, with some small lots barrel fermented and aged in a cold room kept at 47 degrees. Very little sulfur dioxide is used during production and instead the lees and carbon dioxide from fermentation help protect the wine from oxidation.  

REDS: A Burgundian techniques and approach, including small open top fermenters, punch down by hand, cool fermentation and low extraction.  The resulting wines have elegance and an emphasis on fruit. 

Lees and the CO2 from fermentation are used as antioxidants rather than excessive use of sulfur.