Blackjack Ranch Vineyards and Winery
Wine Tours - Visiting Blackjack Ranch Vineyards and Winery
Solvang and Los Olivos are historic towns located in the Santa Ynez Valley. The valley is bordered by the Purisima Hills, the Santa Ynez Mountains and the San Rafael Mountains. The western section of the valley tends to be cooler and more suited to Chardonnay. Rhone varietals fare well in the warmer eastern section.
Roger Wisted of Blackjack Ranch began studying winemaking at the age of 14. He started fermenting his first wines at his parent’s grocery store. Mr. Wisted also invented a new form of the card game blackjack, called “California blackjack”. He named his vineyard after the game and started operations in 1996. Blackjack Ranch’s first production was released in 1997.
The wine critic, Robert Parker, Jr., awarded Blackjack Ranch a five-star rating for its Bordeaux varietals. Only two wineries outside of the Napa and Sonoma regions have received this rating. One of the Bordeaux blends is the 2005 Allusion, which is a Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend. Blackjack Ranch also has several releases of Chardonnay. Another well-received wine is the Double-Down 2007 Syrah.
Blackjack Ranch’s tasting room is located in Solvang. It is in California Rustic. Salvaged materials from the ranch’s former buildings were used in the tasting room’s construction. A temperature controlled cellar features wines from France and California that date to the past 60 years. Some of the highlights are a 1940s Inglenook, wines of Andre and Heitz Martha from the 1960s and 1970s and a number of rare wines from California.
Blackjack Ranch’s vineyards are planted with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Chardonnay. The vines were chosen for low yields and planted on rugged, steep terrain. Enthusiasts can join the wine club, the High Rollers. The High Rollers are able to receive limited run and rare offerings that the public would find difficult to purchase.