After four decades of winegrowing on the Central Coast, industry legend Ken Volk announced he will be retiring, and plans to offer his eponymously named winery and wine brand up for sale.
Kenneth Volk Vineyards is located in the original Byron Winery. Founded by Dale Hampton, John Donovan, and partner Ken Brown, the property and brand were acquired by Robert Mondavi in 1990. This landmark 25,000+ case winery and tasting room is nestled along Tepusquet Creek in Santa Barbara’s bucolic Santa Maria Valley American Viticultural Area. The facility has been extensively upgraded and equipped for high-end, modern winemaking.
Volk, most notably the founder of Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards in Templeton, purchased the Byron Winery 12 years ago after selling the Wild Horse property and brand to Peak Wines International (a subsidiary of Jim Beam Brands Worldwide, Inc). Dedicated to the Central Coast growing region, Volk has been instrumental in putting the region on the world’s viticulture map, and bringing international awareness to the unique grape growing climates hidden within Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and San Benito Counties.
Volk’s legacy in the wine industry is far-reaching, having been the first President of the Paso Robles Grape Growers Association in 1982. He also served as Chairman of the Board of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, 1997-2001. Upon establishing Kenneth Volk Vineyards, Ken served two terms on the Board of Directors of the Santa Barbara County Vintners Association.
A wine and viticulture education advocate, Ken helped fund the pilot winery at his alma mater, California Polytechnic State University, and served as the Chairman of the Industry Advisory Council for 10 years. He has trained and mentored countless successful winemakers and industry professionals over the past four decades. The family tree of alumni is both extensive and global.
When asked about retirement, Volk explained, “It’s really two-fold. After suffering a stroke three years ago, I continue to face some on-going challenges with my health that prevent me from going to the winery on a daily basis. Additionally, like many of my colleagues who started family-owned wineries, my children have their own successful careers outside of this industry. I look forward to seeing a buyer take the brand to the next level.”
In addition to the winery and tasting room, the Kenneth Volk Vineyards property includes native gardens, a tranquil creek, event areas, a commercial kitchen and extensive office space. There are over four acres of fallow vineyard land which is ideally suited for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Heralded for his flagship Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Volk attributes their exceptional quality to the coastal maritime climate of the Santa Maria Valley, the resulting longer hangtimes, and the region’s well-draining soils.
Real Estate Broker Jenny Heinzen is representing Kenneth Volk Vineyards. Offering details are available at wineryrealtor.com. Heinzen commented, “It was a privilege to be a project manager for the Wild Horse Winery sale 15 years ago. Now, I look forward to facilitating Volk’s transition to retirement.”