Benchbreak Wines

Benchbreak: Cambria Winery’s Natural Evolution

We’re pleased to share with you a change in our wine portfolio’s structure and labeling. It represents a natural evolution at Cambria Winery, and one that we are proud of. In an effort to honor the remarkable geology of our estate vineyards, we’ve chosen to shift the Benchbreak tier in our wine program.  

At its essence wine is about transformation. Wine changes on the vine as the sun turns green berries into sublime fruit and again in the barrel with the effervescent spark of fermentation. It evolves in the bottle, gaining graceful maturity and in the glass from moment to moment. It is our great privilege to notice these nuanced moments of change and to celebrate them. 

Benchbreak Wines by Cambria Winery

Photo: Brent Winebrenner


The bench is a unique place. It is a natural terrace that sits above the Santa Maria Valley and enjoys the marine influence of the Pacific Ocean, just 17 miles away. The new Benchbreak label refers to the precise place in the vineyard where the bench drops to the valley floor, and where the alluvial soils and abundance of shale produce ultra-concentrated wines with exquisite minerality. 

Our beloved Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir and Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay will receive this new labeling, though the wines themselves will not change. They will continue to be sourced from this special place in our estate vineyards and will reflect the same clonal composition and flavor profiles that Cambria’s Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir and Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay have consistently offered. You’ll recognize their delectable details as well as their exceptional quality. 

Benchbreak Wines by Cambria Winery

The Benchbreak Chardonnay is elegant with lush swirls of tropical fruit and citrus flavors that are framed by refreshing natural acidity and minerality. The fruit is sourced from 15 different vineyard blocks, a characteristic that lends the wine complexity and remarkable intrigue. 

Benchbreak Wines by Cambria Winery

The Benchbreak Pinot Noir is made with fruit from one of the oldest plantings of Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara County (1974). Its lush red fruit, fine tannins, and minerality reflect this mixture of new and old vines. And the wine reveals its Santa Maria Valley roots with taught acidity, depth, and subtle sandalwood spice on the finish. 

Cambria Winery's Family Tier

We’ve selected special, small-lot wines to comprise our Family Reserve portfolio. Beginning with the 2015 vintage, they will bear the names of Cambria Winery owner Barbara Banke and her daughters Julia and Katherine. 

A stroll through the vineyards at Cambria Winery

Great wines reflect the essence of a place. They echo the earthly elements of their birthplace. The Benchbreak wines express the natural purity, marine air, and shaley soils of their vineyard origins. With our new labeling, we are honored to pinpoint the specific site and geology that so gracefully influenced their flavors. 

We look forward to sharing these wines with you.