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Sleepy Hollow Vineyard

An Icon of Elegance

First planted in 1972 as one of the original vineyards in the renowned Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, Sleepy Hollow stands as an icon of elegance and distinction where its celebrated fruit showcases a true sense of place. Position, climate, slope and aspect combine to create a naturally balanced vine that produces exceptional fruit and award-winning wines, earning Sleepy Hollow recognition as a California Grand Cru Vineyard*.

The vineyard is perched on an expansive bench land, tucked in the AVA’s windiest, most northern stretch. Grapes bask in the early morning sunshine, then brace for cold afternoon winds that slow the maturation process. Its southeastern exposure is planted exclusively to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which flourish in consistently cool temperatures.

Sleepy Hollow spans 500 acres of varied terrain over gently sloping hillsides. The vineyard’s diversity inspires our team to farm to micro-terroir differences, giving winemaker Kamee Knutson the freedom to craft a range of expressions reflecting the unique characteristics of each parcel and each block.

Cooling Breezes, Sun-Kissed Mornings

Monterey Bay’s cooling breezes maintain a powerful influence over Sleepy Hollow. The cold air rising off the chilled depths of the bay’s “Blue Grand Canyon” 20 miles to the north arrives each day like clockwork, lengthening the growing season and extending hang times to develop fruit of complexity and depth.

Warm morning sunlight ripens the fruit, and brisk marine winds arrive around 11:00 am continuing until evening, thus prompting the vines to strategically shut down photosynthesis, acting as a protective measure against dehydration. This daily dance with the elements extends the growing season significantly—spanning from February to November—a noteworthy accomplishment in California’s viticultural landscape. Amid this prolonged period, the grapes undergo a gradual and extraordinary journey towards phenolic ripeness, enhancing color, tannins and flavor, all while preserving a remarkable vibrancy of acidity.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir thrive in steady and mild temperatures at Sleepy Hollow, ranging from lows of 57°- 61°F and highs of 71°- 72°F. This moderation helps foster gradual, uniform ripening, the key to achieving optimal balance.

Site and Soils: Ideal Conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Arroyo Seco and Chualar gravelly loam soils, characteristic of the Santa Lucia Highlands, are present throughout Sleepy Hollow. Additionally, the estate holds a distinctive position as one of the closest vineyards to the Salinas River, sited just west of its westward bend. The soil combination provides optimal drainage, forcing the vines to strive for water. As a result, Sleepy Hollow typically produces smaller yields of richly concentrated berries.

climate and Soils

Vines at Sleepy Hollow grow in cool conditions with moderate temperatures due to their proximity to the Pacific Ocean and east-northeast exposure. Cooling fog and frequent ocean breezes flowing through the Santa Lucia Highlands temper warm sunshine, preventing the grapes from ripening too quickly. These idyllic elements combine to give Sleepy Hollow one of the longest growing seasons in California, and allow each grape to develop the concentrated flavors that are a signature of Talbott Vineyards wines.

Sleepy Hollow West, South and North are composed of gravelly loam soil, with a high proportion of sand to granite and low water content. Vines forced to penetrate deeply for water access absorb minerals from the soil, resulting in resilient grapevines with relatively low yields of grapes that, in turn, produce rich and complex flavors.

Talbot Vineyards Grand Cru Logo

Our famed Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, located in the Santa Lucia Highlands, was designated one of California’s Grand Cru vineyards by Wine Enthusiast in 2016 for its ability to produce exceptional wines year after year, even under challenging conditions. With rolling hills and mountains, lush green land and bright blue skies, this vineyard has remarkable beauty. First planted in 1972, the vineyard is comprised of 565 planted acres divided into three vineyard parcels, Sleepy Hollow North, Sleepy Hollow West and Sleepy Hollow South. Each grows exclusively Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.

View our Sleepy Hollow Vineyard map here.


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