Samra Morris Talks About Icons and Vineyards

It’s never easy for a winemaker to take over an established label. Samra Morris got to take over for a local legend.

Wineglass held by Samra Morris, Alma Rosa Winery

She’s the winemaker at Alma Rosa, a brand founded by one of the early winemakers in Santa Barbara: Richard Sanford. And, yes, we had to ask her what it’s like taking over for him at his own label.

“I think it’s amazing to be a female winemaker and took over somebody… who is the godfather of our region,” she said. “I get all the support from Richard, which means a lot to me. And it’s amazing to take over this brand.”

Alma Rosa is best known for producing pinot noirs from the Santa Rita Hills region, which is on the west side of the Santa Ynez Valley, north of Santa Barbara County. (Click here for a quick note on how Michael felt about tasting some Alma Rosa Pinot with some salmon.)

“I love Santa Rita Hills region,” Morris said. “I love how our wines are coming, I love the characteristics. So the fun is, I work with five different vineyards. They’re a few miles away between each other, but I’m working with a different soils, different microclimates and different clones. It gives me really opportunity to present each of the vineyards and how unique they are.”

What Vineyards Do

So, we asked, what makes one vineyard different from another.

“There’s a little bunch of different aspects that the affects [the wine],” she said. “It’s definitely the soils and how it’s farmed at vineyard. We have in Santa Rita Hills the wind coming from the ocean and of course all the little microclimates and different clones that give me different and unique characteristics, within each block.”

Morris likes to blend the different clones of pinot noir from the various blocks of vines.

“I definitely love to blend all these different clones,” she said. “Once harvest is over, I go taste all the different blocks and make a decision which block and exactly which clone is gonna go in which of my blends.”

And that’s a quick chat with Samra Morris.