Byron Winery was founded by Ken Brown on the premise that the Santa Maria Valley was suited for producing Burgundian varietals. Ken Brown planted the first Rhone varietals in Santa Maria Valley.
From the first vintage, Byron got a lot of acclaim and recognition for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Robert Mondavi purchased the winemaking operation in 1990. The transition was smooth with Ken Brown remaining as head winemaker. Brown and Mondavi shared similar beliefs in their farming methods and wine production techniques.
Not settling is a major part of the philosophy of Byron. They have been working on innovative winemaking techniques that do not involve the process of pumping, which they believe can make a wine taste dull and bitter. In conjunction with R. Scott Johnson, the architect behind Opus One Winery and the Transamerica building in San Francisco, Byron developed a gravity dependent technique to eliminate pumping.
Byron Winery is innovative in vineyard as well. Although it will take several more years to see all of the results from their research vines, early indications are very positive. The grapes produced from these experimental vines are currently used in Bryon’s reserve wines.