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There’s little wonder why California thrives so successfully as a world-class wine region. It has all the components necessary for fantastic viticulture: blazing sunshine, cooling ocean breezes rolling in off the Pacific, mountains and rolling hillsides, and a set of winemakers who are keen to take knowledge from the great wine-producing countries of the world, and combine them with a distinctly American sense of innovation.
Just inland from California’s stunning central coast, we find the winery of 10SPAN Vineyards. This winery was set up by John Clark, a winemaker with over thirty years of experience, who was keen to explore the possibilities of a winery set in the cooler California regions, and wanted to produce wines which balanced sophistication with accessibility, style with substance. 10SPAN Vineyards uses grapes taken from the Santa Barbara and Monterey counties, and Clark expresses a particular fondness for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, due to the fact that he sees himself primarily as an experimenter and innovator in his field. These grape varietals are open to many possibilities, and thanks to the quality of the fruit he sources, Clark’s work at 10SPAN vineyards has seen him produce wines which have seen considerable critical praise. Clark combines his work as a vintner with his previous job as a biologist and chemist, and brings these together with his artistic flair and appreciation for wine culture and history to produce some fascinating and distinctive bottles.
The winery takes its name from the iconic bird of the California coastline mountains - the condor. With its enormous wingspan and majestic silhouette, the condor - for Clark - represents freedom to experiment and to revere the land he works on. Every year, 10SPAN Vineyards donates a portion of its profits to a condor reintroduction program, as a way of paying homage to this bird and to the unique landscape which produces such characterful wine.