Richard Sanford is a true pioneer of quality winegrowing in California. Drafted into the Vietnam War, Richard chose agriculture as a way to be in nature upon his return. Winegrowing became an antidote to the war and tumultuous homecoming. With a degree in Geography from U.C. Berkeley, he was inspired to research the west coast for the perfect place to plant Pinot Noir grapevines. Recognizing the east-west Transverse Mountain Range of California, and cool maritime coastal climate of Santa Barbara County, with thermometer in hand he selected a site in the Santa Ynez Valley just a dozen miles from the Pacific Ocean. He is the first winemaker to prove the potential for Pinot Noir in the cool Santa Rita Hills, founding Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in 1971. He and his wife Thekla founded the Sanford Winery in 1981 and spent the next 25 years making some of the best-regarded Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines from the region. The first certified organic winegrowers of the County, the Sanford’s left their namesake winery in 2005 and established Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards to continue their commitment to agriculture in harmony with nature. Richard was inducted into the Vintner’s Hall of Fame in 2012. He is fully engaged with Alma Rosa Winery and is enjoying his 47th consecutive year as a winegrower.