Talley Vineyards: A Rich History in the Arroyo Grande Valley

Talley Vineyards: A Rich History in the Arroyo Grande Valley 2

The story of Talley Farms and Talley Vineyards dates back to the 1930s, when Oliver Talley began farming in the Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara County. The farming operation moved to the Arroyo Grande Valley in 1948, and as they say, the rest is history. The Talley family had an extensive vegetable and fruit farming business in the valley for 25 years before Don Talley decided to plant grapes in 1982 on some of the hillside property unsuitable for vegetable growing. The Arroyo Grande Valley is located in San Luis Obispo County and is composed of a winding 16 mile long valley with a northeast-southwest orientation, allowing coastal fog and the pacific breeze to moderate the vineyards. This temperate climate results in long and mild growing seasons which allows the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir more time on the vine to reach their phenolic maturity while retaining bright natural acidity.

Brian and Johnine Talley with their two daughters.

Brian Talley began his career in the family business at age 12, working for his father harvesting vegetables and he now runs the vineyard and winery with his wife Johnine. Brian employs a dedicated and experienced vineyard team to manage every aspect of the farming to ensure that quality takes priority over farming economics. Every bottle of Talley Vineyards is produced from vines planted by the Talley family on land owned and farmed by the Talley family.

Talley’s vineyards are located a mere seven miles east of the Pacific Ocean on the coastline of San Luis Obispo. This extreme proximity to the ocean creates one of the coolest climates in all of California’s wine growing regions. The combination of the climate and the complex soils, including marine sedimentary and clay, make the land that Talley farms wildly unique. Today, the Talley family owns 190 acres of grapes across six unique vineyards, a majority of which are in the Arroyo Grande Valley AVA with a few additional blocks in the neighboring Edna Valley AVA.

Arroyo Grande Vineyards

Talley’s vineyard holdings in the Arroyo Grande Valley are Rincon Vineyard, Rosemary’s Vineyard, and Monte Sereno Vineyard. The Rincon Vineyard is located just seven miles northeast of the Pacific Ocean and is the oldest of the vineyards with the first plantings dating to 1982.  49 acres of the vineyard are planted to Chardonnay, 38 acres to Pinot Noir, and 4 acres of other varieties.  The oldest vines in the Rincon Vineyard are own rooted in shallow soils composed of loam and calcerous clay.

Planting at Rosemary’s Vineyard began in 1987. Like the Rincon Vineyard, Rosemary’s Vineyard is steep and very well drained. It overlooks the ocean and receives the most direct marine influence of any of the family’s vineyards, making it the coolest site. Yields average less than three tons per acre. The 29-acre vineyard is made up of 12 acres of Chardonnay and 17 acres of Pinot Noir. The vineyard is divided into 14 separate sections of vines.

The tiny Monte Sereno Vineyard was planted in 2006 about 1 mile southwest of the winery, adjacent to a steep bluff that rises from the floor of the Arroyo Grande Valley. The 3 acres are planted entirely to Chardonnay, which tends to be softer and richer in style than the bottlings from the Rincon or Rosemary’s Vineyard sites.

A beautiful harvest day at Talley Vineyards.

Edna Valley Vineyards

Oliver’s Vineyard is a 36-acre vineyard planted predominantly to chardonnay.  The first section of the vineyard was planted entirely to Chardonnay in 1991 and was named in honor of Talley Farms founder Oliver Talley. This vineyard is characterized by heavier clay soils. The vines are moderately vigorous and yields average about three tons per acre.

Stone Corral Vineyard was planted in 2011 and is made up of 5 distinct vineyard blocks planted to four separate clones, including a selection massale from Rosemary’s Vineyard.

Talley Vineyards produced its first wine from the original Rincon Vineyard in 1986 with a production of 450 cases. As Talley Vineyards approaches its 30th vintage in 2016, production centers around the Estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with very small quantities of single vineyard wines available in the spring and fall. With three decades of grape growing experience, the Talley family crafts some of the best values in domestic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir every vintage. We are very proud to work alongside Brian Talley and share these wines with our local market.