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Matt Dees: winemaking on the edge in Santa Barbara County

Winemaker for Jonata and The Hilt Estate, Matt Dees talks to Sara Schneider about his passion for shepherding these uncommon vineyards, and the terroir-driven wines he believes makes this one of the most exciting wine regions in the US.

Given a choice between monitoring fermentations in his cellar or the progress of his vines outside, Matt Dees opts for the vines– any day of the week. That’s not to say that the winemaker gives his wines short shrift- ever.


Scroll down to see Sara Schneider’s tasting notes and scores for 11 Matt Dees wines


Dees is the winemaker, for sister Santa Barbara estates Jonata and The Hilt, in Ballard Canyon and the far western reaches of the Sta. Rita Hills, respectively. As the wines are the telling result of the interaction between vine and soil, the real action, in his book, is where that happens. ‘Walking the vineyards and spending time with the vines – that’s the best part of my day,’ Matt says.


Matt Dees: tasting notes and scores for 11 top wines

Wines are listed in estate order, via style and score


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