A son of Santa Barbara, Justin Tyler Willett began Tyler in 2005 at the age of 24 with a few barrels tucked away in the corner of the Sta. Rita Hills cellar he was working in at the time. It was there, as the assistant winemaker, he honed his approach to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Justin – a champion of old vines – has since engaged the famed historic vineyards of Santa Barbara, including the region-defining Sanford & Benedict, in the Santa Rita Hills. Great effort has been made to seek out vineyards of pedigree and establish close collaboration with those growers.

More recently, Justin and his wife Amanda purchased the site that would become Tyler’s new Estate Vineyard. They quickly went to work developing the property, planting 28 acres to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah along with an extensive remodel of the existing ranch house. The Mae Vineyard, in the heart of the Santa Rita Hills, marks the next chapter for Tyler Winery.

Here, in a wine growing region defined by its transverse ranges and valleys, where hills glitter with marine sediment and harbor the ocean's winds, Justin makes wines of clarity and poise. His wines lead with structure and persistence; they evoke confidence, focus and vibrancy. Justin is the first to tell you that these are virtues of terroir: they are not created in the cellar, but delicately drawn forth. The unique combination of marine soils, a long mild growing season, and cool ocean influence make this a truly wonderful place for growing pinot noir and chardonnay.

With a firm belief that winemaking starts in the vineyard and the sincere desire to have minimal impact on the environment, grapes are farmed organically, handpicked at night, and sorted by hand at the winery. In the cellar, all lots are fermented using native yeast in large oak vats, and once dry the wines are put down to barrel for their elevage. The use of new oak varies by vineyard, vine age, and vintage and is used in a way that only complements, never overshadowing the wine. After a year or so in barrel, the wines are racked, blended, and returned to the barrel for a few additional months before being bottled, typically unfined and unfiltered.

Tyler is dedicated to producing wines of delicacy and balance, where structure and nuance are favored above all else. We believe wine should be elegant and honest, and possess aromatic purity and textural complexity. To best convey the individuality of each site, we try to be modern in our thinking and classic in our approach.