La Vie Vineyards is a handcrafted winery dedicated to the production of fine and elegant wines of exceptional character and quality. During the sweet years of college, Ariel Lavie and Angela Hobbs fell in love with wine and each other, and the story unfolds into a passion for Pinot Noir. Studying Biology/Botany and Environmental Studies/Economics at UC Santa Cruz until 1997, we found ourselves destined at graduation to find the ideal piece of land for premium wine production on the west coast. In 1998, we attained our 40 acre ranch amidst the heights of the Santa Rita Hills and surrounded ourselves with the greatest Pinot Noir Vineyards of the region. For 2 vintages we worked with Clos Pepe Vineyard and applied our sustainable agricultural backgrounds to the newly planted vineyard. in 1999 & 2000 we both worked in the cellar at Central Coast Wine Services and worked with numerous Alternating Proprietors such as Lane Tanner, Craig Jaffurs, Seth Kunin, Joe Davis, John Kerr, Stolpman & many others. In 2000, we also created the La Vie Vineyards brand and purchased our 1st grapes for making wine. The wines were made at the former Kahn Winery in Lompoc, during the infant years of the "Wine Ghetto", (a term we possibly coined), when it was only Longoria, Brewer-Clifton, Seasmoke, & Presidio. Since then we have individually worked in the area, acquiring a diverse style incorporating traditional and nouveau wine making techniques back into our wines.
Ariel Lavie went on to work a harvest as Cellar Master at Babcock Winery in 2000. During that time, a wave of next generation winemakers all worked for Babcock within a 5 year period. The way Zaca Mesa was the breeding ground for many of the veteran winemakers in the 80s, Babcock employed many soon-to-be shining stars and consulted on a number of projects that have helped establish the Santa Rita Hills as a premier viticultural region. Ariel worked the same vintage (or subsequent vintage) as many young talents in the area; Jason Drew of Drew Winery, Mark Horvath of Kenneth Crawford, Mike Larner of Larner Vineyard, Don Schroeder of Ampelos & Seasmoke, Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe, Chad Melville of Melville & Samsara, & Joey Tensley of Tensley & Carina Cellars all worked at Babcock within a few years of each other. Ariel worked briefly during the 2001 harvest at Sunstone Winery, then went on to become the head Winemaker at Rideau Vineyard from 2002 - 2004. Working closely with his assistant Jonah Waldman (now at Margerum Winery) he created estate Rhone-style wines from the vines that he farmed onsite. The wines from his stay at Rideau were well received and earned many accolades. Since the 2005 vintage, Ariel has been working full time for La Vie Vineyards, as well as producing custom bottlings for 2 small organic vineyards in the Santa Ynez AVA (Meadowlark Vineyard and Capa Farms). He is a one time Pest Control Advisor, and an expert in many subjects.
Angela has been working as a Horticulturist for a wildflower and organic seed company in Lompoc for 5 years now, using her expertise as a plant lover to the fullest. Specializing in native plants, vineyard cover crop mixes, native restoration projects and organic compliance during the day, and assisting Ariel in the cellar at night. She calls herself the Co-Fermenter (a.k.a. assistant winemaker). During the weekends you can find her in the tasting room or at the vineyard, taking care of business. She also enjoys making art, gardening, snowboarding, and kicking butt at videogames. Angela is the talent of all the labels and graphic design, and handles the financial end of the winery. She enjoys a glass or two of wine as well.
Visit Angela's *native plant page* (coming soon)
Our plan for the upcoming year is to focus on our vineyard planting, which is powered by solar and wind energy, atop the Santa Rita Hills. The limited amount of fruit from our Mt. Zion Vineyard in 2007 gave us insight into our bright future and potential from this site. We intend to keep a small annual production and focus on growing our young vineyard organically.