The Ibarra-Young Vineyard
The 14-acre Ibarra-Young vineyard grows just south of Los Olivos, in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley. Planted to Rhône and Spanish grape varieties, it thrives in a climate rated a Region II on the U.C. Davis Winkler Scale. The weather at the vineyard during the growing season features cool nights, overcast mornings, and toasty afternoons, often delivering temperature swings of 30 degrees or more between daily highs and lows.
Local wine pioneer Charlotte Young and her vineyard manager, Miguel Ibarra, installed the vineyard in 1971. They planted the original ten acres entirely to Cabernet Sauvignon and sold the fruit to Firestone Vineyards. In 1979, when Firestone's contract expired, a burgeoning demand for white grape varieties persuaded Charlotte and Miguel to graft over most of the vines to Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc.
At about the same time, Charlotte joined with a group of friends to form Los Viñeros, a winery cooperative comprised of other small growers. The group built a winemaking facility on the west side of Santa Maria, and until 1984, most of Charlotte's grapes went into the Los Viñeros blends. In 1985, Los Viñeros began to falter, and with grape sales becoming increasingly difficult, Charlotte considered tearing out her vines.
Hearing this troubling news, Bob Lindquist arranged to lease the vineyard and even made a 1985 Chenin Blanc from Charlotte's grapes to help her with the transition. Between 1986 and 1989, Bob grafted over the Cabernet Sauvignon vines to Marsanne (4 acres), Syrah (3 acres), Mourvèdre (1.75 acres), and Viognier (1.25 acres).
From 1996 to 2000, four additional acres were planted to Albariño and Tempranillo for Verdad, the label under which Bob's wife, winemaker Louisa Sawyer Lindquist, bottles her Spanish grape varieties. In 2009, some of the Tempranillo was grafted over to Graziano, a Spanish variety that Louisa uses for blending.
Miguel Ibarra, now in his 70s, still tends the vineyard, and has farmed it organically since 1999. Miguel, who knows each of the vines intimately, has threatened to retire, but remains as the vineyard's caretaker, much to the relief of Bob and Louisa.
In 2008, Charlotte Young passed away just shy of her 92nd birthday. Bob honors Charlotte's memory by including a dedication to her on Qupé's Los Olivos Cuvée label, and her vibrant legacy lives on in the vines and the wonderful wines that grow in this legendary vineyard.