Sarah Holt Mullins

Sarah Holt Mullins

Rancho Sisquoc Winery (Winemaker)

Sarah Holt Mullins was born and raised on Rancho Sisquoc, a combined cattle and vineyard property that has been managed by her parents for more than 40 years. Having spent her childhood among the vines on the property, it was destined for her to become involved in winemaking there. In 2003, Sarah graduated from Righetti High School in Santa Maria and moved to Atlanta after graduation to become a massage therapist. Fate intervened, however, and on a visit home, Alec Franks, Rancho Sisquoc’s winemaker at the time, mentioned that they needed help with harvest. She was intrigued by this first experience in the cellar, and this prompted her to travel to New Zealand to work a harvest. Although offered a position at a winery there, home called her back to California once again.

Sarah started working in the winery’s cellar in 2005 and subsequently filled such key roles as Operations Manager, Brand Ambassador, Cellar Master, and Enologist. This wealth of experience was augmented by completing courses in enology, viticulture, and advanced winemaking at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria.

Sarah was promoted to Assistant Winemaker at Rancho Sisquoc in 2009 and became its Winemaker in 2014 when Franks, her mentor and predecessor in the position, retired. She assumes responsibility for managing a portfolio of more than 12 estate-grown wines, which include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, among other varietals and blends. Her first vintage was in 2013.

Sarah says that “Patience is the hardest thing she has had to learn as a head winemaker.” Wine is always ‘in her head’ and she is constantly thinking about what could be done differently or better in the process of winemaking.

She and her family live on the ranch and enjoy the calmness and close relationship to Nature it provides. Time with family is equally important, and part of what they enjoy is off-road exploration of the seemingly limitless space on the ranch. Although Sarah enjoys cooking, she claims not to hold a candle to her husband in the kitchen, characterizing him as a phenomenal chef!