The Lafond Family
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah
Lafond Vineyards obtained their SIP (Sustainability In Practice) Certificate in 2016. David Lafond initiated the program several years ago and after much work brought it to fruition.
In 1962, at the age of thirty-two, Pierre Lafond founded the first post-prohibition commercial winery in Santa Barbara County. Two years later, he located a winery facility on Anacapa Street, just two blocks from the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara Winery has become an extremely visible and successful wine concern, winning many medals for an array of wines. Lafond is now in the midst of a significant expansion in order to meet the de- sires of the consuming public.
Lafond was originally a retailer, and his wine and cheese shop was a meeting place for many of Santa Barbara’s wine afficionados. He decided to go into wine produc- tion for two reasons: he enjoyed fine wines, primarily French, and it would be a good business venture.
Initially Lafond used grapes from outside the county, notably zin- fandel from Bill York’s vineyards in Templeton. York Winery, later York Mountain Winery, had its own historic allure: it was the oldest winery in San Luis Obispo County, and it had vinified grapes for the famous Polish statesman and virtu- oso pianist Ignace Paderewski.
The primary reason Lafond went north for grapes was that there were none available in Santa Barbara County at the time. It was not until 1964 that Uriel Nielsen and his friend Bill DeMattei, both UC Davis viticultural graduates, planted the famous Nielsen vineyard, the first commercial vineyard in Santa Barbara County and now part of the Byron Vineyard and Winery operation in the Santa Maria Valley. By the late 1960s La- fond was using some Santa Barbara County grapes.
Unfortunately, his source was also supplying grapes to a large Napa Valley winery, which because of increased public interest and consumption began taking every grape. When Lafond’s supply was cut off, he decided to plant his own vineyard, purchasing 105 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley west of Buellton. In 1972 with the assistance of viticulturist Bill Collins, He planted 65 of those acres to cabernet sauvignon, chenin blanc, riesling and chardonnay.Today Lafond Grows about half the grapes needed to satisfy his own production.