Martian Ranch is the creation of Massachusetts native Nan Helgeland, who found her inspiration in the vineyards and wines of Santa Barbara County. After years searching for the perfect property, she purchased this 102-acre parcel on Alisos Canyon Road in 2006, and named it Martian Ranch – the combined childhood nickname of her two sons: Martin and Ian.
While attending Hancock College, Nan decided to farm the ranch Biodynamically upon the combined counseling of Peter Sischel, her East Coast neighbor and Alfredo Koch, department head of viticulture and enology at Hancock where Nan attended. Both gentlemen farm their family vineyards Biodynamically in France and Argentina respectively.
After three years of diligence and care, Martian Ranch & Vineyard became a Demeter Certified, Estate winery in 2015 with 20 acres of vines planted to 10 different grape varietals, each perfectly suited to the Mediterranean climate of the ranch. The vineyard was planted in 2008, with the first Estate vintage in 2011. Estate varietals are a combination of Rhone, Iberian, Beaujolais and a touch of Bordeaux. Albariño, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Clairette, Gamay Noir, Mourvèdre, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Tempranillo —approximately 2 acres planted of each. Martian Ranch is known for carefully farmed, vibrant and lower-alcohol wines, with Eric Bolton at the helm as winemaker. Eric graduated Fresno State University as an Enology major with a minor in chemistry. He honed his skills throughout California and abroad, bringing a truly unique and diversified profile to the wines here at Martian Ranch.
Biodynamic principles, which take organic farming to the next level, strive to create a diversified and balanced ecosystem while focusing on the health and fertility of the soil Being a closed system, the ranch grows its own livestock feed and is home to four Irish Dexter cows, who’s manure is used to create healthy compost for the vineyard. Each part of the growing process revolves around four elements: root, leaf, flower and fruit. Together, these elements dictate what will be done in both the vineyard and the cellar and create the highest expression of harvest.
The tasting room has been open since October 2014 and currently offers a rotating list of 5 wines to taste. Wines are also available by the glass to enjoy with our house made charcuterie & cheese plate.
In addition to our Tasting Room, you can taste and purchase our wines at the Thousand Oaks Farmer’s Market on Thursdays from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. and at the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market on Sundays from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Featured in the New York Times, SF Chronicle and Jon Bonné’s book, “The New California Wine.” Experimental and eclectic, Martian Ranch & Vineyard is dedicated to the journey, “from sky to ground to grape to barrel to bottle and straight into your glass.”
Located at 9110 Alisos Canyon Road, Los Alamos, visit the tasting room Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information: (805) 344-1804, www.martianvineyard.com.