Crown Point was founded by its current proprietor and visionary, Roger Bower, in 2012 after he recognized the land’s potential to create premium wines that could rival the best throughout the world. As a former cattle rancher in Texas, the Santa Barbara estate combined Roger’s passion for horses and ranching with his love of wine.
“I knew I wanted to make wine here, Cabernet Sauvignon in particular, and began to research the geography and climate of the area. I was lucky as hell to discover Crown Point. It was a hidden gem with all the makings of an incredible vineyard site.”
Crown Point is nestled in the eastern-most foothills of the east-to-west transverse valley of the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara American Viticultural Area. Blessed with distinct climatic conditions and soil types, and with an elevation of 740-930 feet, the location of the vineyard makes for a unique terroir that is the ideal growing environment for Bordeaux varieties.
Crown Point Vineyards is also one-of-a-kind in the Happy Canyon Valley, with its primary grapes being the five Bordeaux varieties, namely Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec. There are also some Sauvignon Blanc plantings on the estate.
“At Crown Point, we continue to focus on discovery, excellence and quality. Together, we have the extraordinary opportunity to produce world-class Cabernet-based wines just like wineries in Bordeaux and Napa Valley.”
The estate’s winemaker, Adam Henkel, joined Roger at Crown Point in 2013. Adam, who spent 10 years in the Napa Valley, including eight years at Harlan Estate in Oakville, had long been fascinated by the viticultural diversity and geographical grandeur of Santa Barbara County. Adam’s pursuit at Crown Point has been to express the unique characteristics and individuality of the region’s preeminent vineyards through farming and winemaking at the highest possible level.
In 2016, Crown Point had its first release, which was a 2013 vintage that included 100 percent estate Cabernet Sauvignon and an estate red blend. With the wines having a great minerality and a marvelous amount of richness and elegance, the wines drink well and will age gracefully for 25 or more years.
“Crown Point Vineyards prides itself on farming and winemaking at the highest level to create limited production wines that reflect the unique character of the estate and growing region.”
In May of 2017, acclaimed winemaker and geologist, Philippe Melka, joined the Crown Point team as a consulting winemaker. Drawn to the distinct terrior of the estate, Philippe uses his extensive training and experience from working with some of the most renowned vineyards and wineries in Bordeaux, Italy, Australia and Napa Valley to help create stellar wines.
Roger gives FOUR a deeper look into the Crown Point brand, and their happenings up to this point:
In your opinion, what makes Crown Point’s location and vineyards so unique?
While the estate sits only 12 miles to the north of the Pacific Ocean as the crow flies, the west-to-east running mountain range protects the vineyard from direct oceanic influence, but also traps the heat of the Santa Ynez Valley during the day. Cooling breezes and a fog-rich marine layer also roll through the canyon in the late afternoon and early morning, creating a wide temperature swing between daytime highs and nighttime lows. These distinct climatic conditions, coupled with the vineyard’s south-facing orientation, and its diverse mineral components are what makes Crown Point a unique place to grow Bordeaux grape varieties.
What were your initial aspirations for Crown Point, and what lies in the winery’s future?
From the beginning, my aspiration for Crown Point was to make world-class wine that represents the best that this property can produce. Now, as we are approaching the 5th harvest off of the estate, I can say with confidence that we are making wines that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the flagship producers of other great wine regions; not only in California, but the world at large.
Our commitment to this land is unwavering, as is our goal of making the best wine possible from Crown Point. As our vineyard grows, so will we, with a promise to showcase this special site through profound wines with true sense of place.
When someone drinks a bottle of your wine, what do you hope is their reaction?
My hope is that every cork that is pulled from a bottle of Crown Point brings not only enjoyment, but also a sense of discovery and a realization of sense of place in the glass. There is no other wine on earth that shares this specific and distinct combination of soil, topography, and climate coupled with expert farming and artisan winemaking. Those factors are what make Crown Point unique, and that uniqueness is evident upon the first sip.
Visit Crown Point’s website to find out more about the estate and their wines.