Flying Goat – Bubbles and More in the Santa Rita Hills

Kate Griffiths and Norm Yost at Tasting

Last January, when Michael came home from the Pinot Days tasting in Santa Moncia, he was all excited about Flying Goat and Norm Yost. Yost is the owner/winemaker at Flying Goat Cellars.

Based in Lompoc, he makes mostly pinot noirs from the surrounding Santa Rita Hills. But since pinot noir is also the grape that makes Champagne, Yost is making a lovely couple of bubblies called Goat Bubbles.

“It’s truly a labor of love,” Yost said, after going through the whole process of making bubbly – most of which he does by hand.

Goat Bubbles? Given Anne’s growing love of sparkling wines, she was intrigued. And so when Yost and his wife Kate Griffiths showed up at a recent tasting featuring wineries from the Santa Rita Hills, that was almost the first table we went to.

Griffiths, who handles most of the non-production parts of the operation, said that she knew what she was getting into (as much as anyone does) when she married Yost.

“We’ve only been married around fifteen months,” Griffiths said. “We’ve been together five years, but he launched his label probably about twelve years ago.”

The tasting room is based in the Wine Ghetto in Lompoc, California. Griffiths said that Flying Goat’s tasting room has been open about two years and was one of the first four wineries to open a tasting room in the Wine Ghetto area.

It’s an area that’s picking up in interest, especially since the recession. Both Griffiths and Yost said that it seems like people from Los Angeles and Orange Counties were looking for someplace different to get away and relax that wasn’t over-priced and discovered Lompoc.

Also, let’s be real, interest in the Santa Rita Hills has been growing pretty quickly recently, and since Yost gets his grapes from about eight different growers, including the famed Clos Pepe, you can bet he’s drawing more interest.

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