Proprietor Roger Wisted’s passionate interest in wine began in his high school library with the discovery of an article published in The Atlantic (Monthly), November 1954 titled “Good Burgundy”. His fascination with the narration of barrel tasting the DRC’s vineyard designated wines during war, hiding the barrels of Romanee-Conti from the Nazis with fake brick walls, and the personalities of succeeding generations was more than enough intrigue to lead to a life-long commitment to the production of fine wine.Robert Parker’s first review of the Santa Barbara County wine region in June 1993 led Wisted to explore the area through the ensuing three growing seasons. An examination of the various micro-climates and the fruit being grown led Wisted to his belief that world class Bordeaux varietals could be produced in an area to the southwest of Los Olivos. In 1996, Blackjack Ranch was established at 2205 Alamo Pintado Road between Los Olivos and Ballard.
A drive through the vineyard enroute to the winery and Tasting center is one of the most beautiful experiences a visitor to this area can enjoy. With chardonnay and syrah to your right as you enter, a glance straight ahead is a breathtaking view of the largest block of hand cultivated vines in Santa Barbara County. That would be the Merlot of Billy Goat Hill planted on five by five spacing on a slope of almost forty degrees. While farming grapes without the luxury of equipment such as tractors is a nightmare, the vines work their magic on the thin hillside soil to produce a concentrated complex wine. Cab, Cab Franc, and Petit Verdot are grown on the steeply slopes vineyards on the west end of the vineyard.
All of the risk, hard work, and dedication was rewarded in “The Wine Advocate” (issue 148) when Robert Parker quipped “This is one of the best run wineries in Santa Barbara. Proprietor Roger Wisted clearly looks to France for his inspiration. His wines possess all of the flavor of California yet more elegance and complexity than is typical for many of this state’s wines. Wisted also fashions the finest Bordeaux blends of the Santa Barbara region in addition of top-notch Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.”