Santa Rita Hills History
Santa Rita Hills Wine Country History
In 1821, Mexico gained independence from the Spain. The Mexican government wanted to eradicate any sign of Spanish hegemony. All Mission properties, including the vineyards, were secularized in 1833.
In 1837, the Lompoc Rancho was granted to Jose Antonio Carrillo. It encompassed over 38,000 acres of land in the region. The Santa Rita Rancho was located just east of Lompoc and was granted to Jose Ramon Malo by the Mexican Governor Pio Pico in 1845. Homesteaders began arriving in the region during the 1840s.
The culture of the region began to shift after the American Civil War. Victorian structures began to rival the Spanish Colonial structures. During the mid 18th century, agriculture and cattle ranching boomed in the Santa Rita Hills.
Very few commercial vineyards existed in the region until the 1980s. Sanford Winery, Babcock Vineyards, and Clos Pepe were the driving forces behind gaining AVA recognition for the Santa Rita Hills in 2001.
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