Santa Barbara County, California


HIstory and origins

Ernst Storm grew up in South Africa, completing his studies in the Western Cape, working as a winemaker in the Stellenbosch & cooler Walker Bay region while consulting on a few smaller projects with his brother Hannes. Ernst took a job in the Sierra Foothills of California, longing to make wines of balance.

Philosophy and methods

Ernst found Santa Barbara County and immediately recognised its potential. The Mediterranean climate shares many similarities with that of the Western Cape. Diverse soils and microclimates, a region of endless possibilities. Ernst worked at Firestone Winery & Curtis, with Storm being established with just 6 barrels in 2006. Focused on making classically styled wines from proven vineyards; wines with personality of vintage and site, where elegance is favoured. His brother, Hannes, launched Storm Wines-South Africa in 2012. His focus is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

intention and production

Ernst’s wines are truly handcrafted using a combination of Old and New World winemaking techniques. From being present while picking the grapes in the early morning hours, to basket pressing, to only using gravity on the red wines. Fining and filtration is only done when necessary and on white wines. Thus, making sure his wines express the unique qualities the fruit embodies due to its local environment.

Ernst’s single vineyard Pinot Noir’s are a true labour of love. Choosing to work with top sites; Duvartia, Presqu’ile & John Sebastiano, finding truly unique personalities, depth and complexities to be harnessed for his wines. Picking early, Ernst’s wines strike a personal cord, true balance of old and new world. Depth of flavours that open in the glass, subtle lines, finess, elegance and harmony. Downright delicious and capable of ageing with grace. Unquestionably Californian, crafted in his own personal style.

Ernst works alone, tirelessly, focused and with real dedication. Unimpinged on what others are doing, his confidence in full flow, to nurture a bright and joyous future for his family in Calfironia.