Santa Barbara Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the Nielson Vineyard.

Santa Barbara Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

Welcome to Nielson Wines, born on sandy soils, Pacific Ocean breezes and Santa Barbara sunshine.

A Santa Barbara Winemaking Pioneer

Nielson Wines pays homage to its namesake, Uriel J. Nielson, who in 1964 planted the first commercial vineyard in Santa Barbara County, a region previously considered too cold to grow grapes. Known as a viticulture pioneer, Uriel didn’t heed warnings from neighboring farmers and didn’t flinch in his stance that Santa Barbara County could be one among the top winegrowing regions in the world.

Today, five decades later, there are now more than 100 wineries and thousands of acres devoted to vineyards, producing wines recognized by critics worldwide for their amazing quality, uniqueness and compelling balance of flavor.

Ryan Pace, Nielson Winemaker in Santa Barbara, CA tasting Pinot Noir.

Nielson Wines

Nielson Wines continues in Uriel’s pioneering spirit, crafting ambitious wines that embody the freshness and vibrancy of our cool, coastal Southern California enclave. Each vintage, Winemaker Ryan Pace produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from some of the region’s most celebrated vineyard sites, with the original Nielson Vineyard serving as the backbone in most of the wines.

The Nielson Vineyard

The Nielson Vineyard , nestled 18 miles west of the Pacific Ocean, is one of the first vineyard sites in the valley to witness the fog burn off each morning. This early morning sun appearance results in muscular Pinot Noirs with dark fruit & floral notes as well as balanced Chardonnays with renowned mineral, citrus, and orange blossom notes.

A Bottle of Nielson Pinot Noir placed on a barrel in their Santa Barbara wine cellar.

Our Winemaking Philosophy

In the cellar, Ryan prefers to utilize small-lot winemaking techniques to showcase the nuances and character of each wine, such as hand pruning, block-by-block harvesting, barrel fermentations and lees stirring. These precise winemaking and vineyard practices are combined to create complex wines that embody the culture, lifestyle and flavor of Santa Barbara County. 

Nielson Winery Timeline

Nielson Estate: Santa Barbara's first commercial vineyard.

Uriel J. Nielson plants Nielson Vineyard, Santa Barbara County’s first commercial vineyard 


Experimental vineyard, now Block 109 of the Nielson Vineyard, planted to 23 different clones and multitude of rootstalks

Santa Barbara winery.

New gravity-flow winery opens, combining the best of old world tradition and modern technology.


Jonathan Nagy joins Byron Winery as Winemaker


Jackson Family Wines acquires Byron Winery

Wine being drawn from a barrel.

With the 2012 vintage, Byron’s AVA wines, clonal selections and geeky cellar experiments become part of the newly minted, but deeply rooted in history, Nielson Wines

Ryan Pace, Nielson Winemaker.

Ryan Pace joins Byron Winery as Assistant Winemaker


Ryan Pace appointed Nielson Winemaker