Nielson from Byron
Byron was founded in 1984 by winemaker Ken Brown. With years of experience as a winemaker in Santa Barbara County, Ken recognized the Santa Maria Valley's potential for great wines in the Burgundian style, and was the first winemaker to introduce Rhone-style grape varieties to the area. The first crush at Byron Vineyard & Winery produced 7,600 cases, and Byron soon gained national recognition for high quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
In 1990, the Robert Mondavi family purchased Byron, and Ken Brown became Winemaker and General Manager. He and Tim Mondavi, Robert's son, set about designing the new Byron Winery as an expression of their shared belief in natural farming, experimental viticulture and gentle grape handling. They wanted to eliminate pumping, which shears grape stems, skin and seeds, allows tannins and other harsh elements into the juice and can make wine bitter.
With the aid of noted architect R. Scott Johnson, who designed the Opus One winery in Napa Valley and San Francisco's Transamerica building, Ken designed a multi-level winery that replaces pumping with gravity flow, resulting in more complex, dynamic wines. Byron's vineyards were also expanded and replanted as Ken Brown experimented with trellising systems, new rootstocks and clones, row orientation, and planting density in his quest for the perfect grape.
In 1964, Uriel Nielson planted the first commercial vineyard in Santa Barbara County. It was a bold act considering most of the experts deemed our windswept region too cold for grapes. Fortunately, Uriel didn’t heed their warnings and one of the world’s great winegrowing regions was born.
“Welcome to Nielson by Byron, the Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir and Chardonnay specialist. We believe that the most representative wines of the region should carry the name of a local wine pioneer. In 1964 Uriel Nielson planted the first commercial vineyard that today still carries his name. Today we continue that legacy with wines that are authentic to the region and over deliver on quality.”
What happened to Byron?
Many of the wines you loved from Byron will now be created under the Nielson label. The new Byron Winery will focus solely on exclusive, small-lot single-vineyard Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from some of the best vineyards throughout the region including Rita’s Crown, Bien Nacido and La Encantada.
Crisp and concentrated palate with flavors of stone fruit, fig, honey and hints of brown spice with a mineral finish.