Richard Longoria Wines, established in 1982, is a family operated wine business owned by Rick and Diana Longoria. Rick Longoria, who arrived on the local wine scene in 1976, enjoys a long history of involvement in the Santa Barbara county wine industry.
Beginning in 1976 he became the first cellar foreman for The Firestone Vineyard. By 1982 he felt confident in his skills and in the quality of some of the county’s best vineyards to venture into the wine business for himself, and with financial help from his father he produced 500 cases of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Santa Maria valley vineyards.
In 1985, The Gainey Vineyard lured Rick away from J.Carey Cellars to produce wines for their ambitious and exciting new winery project. During his twelve years as winemaker, Rick’s winemaking skills established Gainey as one of the top quality wineries in the area. He also continued to produce very small quantities of Longoria wines, just enough to keep the label active. See video at VineStories.
In December, 1997, twenty-three years after his first job at a winery and fifteen years after starting his own business, Rick gave up steady employment to devote his full energies to his winery business. On May 1, 1998 Rick and Diana opened the doors to their own tasting room in one of the oldest buildings in downtown Los Olivos. In December 1998 Rick moved his winery operation into his own 5,400 sq. foot building in Lompoc.
"My belief that the Santa Barbara wine region would someday produce world class wines has come true," Rick states, "and my dream of having my own winery has also come true."
The long narrow Longoria tasting room has a mix of oriental carpets, artwork, maps of Burgundian vineyards, wine barrels, an antique wine press, and a small selection of wine accessories, books and music CDs. French doors lead outside to a charming country garden fringed with tall rose bushes, fruit trees and climbing jasmine. A few tables and chairs are intermixed with fountains and a small grassy lawn.
Longoria wines are handcrafted in very small quantities ranging from 50 cases to 500 cases. Total production at this time is about 3,500 cases.
My Apprenticeship With Andre
Andre Tchelistcheff was a legendary winemaker and is considered to be the Father of modern California winemaking. He passed away in 1994, at the age of 92 years old. I had the good fortune to meet and work with Andre Tchelistcheff at my very first job at the Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma in 1974. We remained close friends throughout my career and he would often visit me during his stay in the Valley.
- Richard Longoria