Join us for a Winery Spotlight tasting event, featuring Fess Park Winery and Vineyards of Santa Ynez Valley, California.
Our WineStyles team had the privilege of touring and tasting at Fess Parker’s Winery and Vineyards last year. Not only is the winery a beautiful property in Santa Ynez Valley, it also offers equally beautiful wines. We hope you will enjoy the Fess Parker winery experience as much as we did….and bring home a few extra bottles to continue enjoying at home, as we did 🙂
ABOUT FESS PARKER WINERY and FAMILY
When Fess Parker was cast in the role of Davy Crockett in the mid-1950’s, it caused an international sensation and changed his life forever. So too did the purchase of 714 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley change the course of the Parker family’s history.
Driving north along the pastoral Foxen Canyon Wine Trail feels like traveling back to California’s early days. Rolling hills frame vast meadows, deer and wildlife roam free, and pristine landscapes stretch as far as the eye can see. Realizing the potential of Santa Barbara County as a premium grape-growing region, Fess and his son, Eli, originally set out in 1989 to plant a small vineyard and sell fruit to local producers. But, as Fess’ daughter, Ashley explains, “ Fess is from Texas, so he can’t do anything small. “The Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard now farms almost 700 acres on four vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County.
Eli Parker and his sister Ashley continue to stay involved as stewards of the family’s vision for the winery while Ashley’s husband Tim Snider serves as President and oversees day-to-day operations. The family’s vineyard is the 120-acre Rodney’s Vineyard, named after Fess Parker’s late son-in-law, at the 400-acre Foxen Canyon Road estate where the winery is located. They also source grapes from Camp Four vineyard in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, which Parker planted in 1998 as well as vineyards in the cooler Sta. Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley appellations. Blair Fox assumed the role of head winemaker in 2005. In recent years, the winery has sharpened its focus to produce more small-lot, vineyard-designated wines made from high-quality Rhone and Burgundian varietals, which have won awards in national wine competitions.
Completed in 1994, the new winery and tasting room are loosely designed after an Australian sheep station, with a grand stone fireplace, stone floors, and a wraparound veranda with picnic tables. The spacious complex is set amid an acre of meticulously landscaped grounds that border the vineyard. The amphitheater-style lawn, rimmed by mature oaks, provides a serene setting for picnics, summer evening performances by Shakespeare Santa Barbara, and other events. Indoors, visitors taste the latest vintages at a worn knotty pine bar, surrounded by photos of Fess Parker as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone and other memorabilia related to the actor’s television roles.
Working as a family has always been a great source of pride and pleasure for the Parker family. Eli Parker began in the family business as assistant winemaker in 1989. After several years of learning the craft at the side of renowned and accomplished winemakers, Eli took the reigns as winemaker himself with the 1995 vintage. A leader of the winery since its inception, it was in 1996 that Eli formally assumed the title and responsibilities of President. In the early 1990’s, Ashley ran the first tastings out of the barrel room and represented the winery at trade shows. In 1998, Ashley became Eli’s partner, working on the public relations and sales and marketing teams. The presence of Fess and his wife Marcy as the founding visionaries of the winery is a vital and enduring one.