Chris and Kathleen (Barnato) Whitcraft started Whitcraft Winery in 1985. Prior to this and during the winery’s early years, Chris hosted a local wine radio program in Santa Barbara County for more than ten years, and in the process met and learned his craft from some of the best winemakers in California – Joe Heitz (Heitz Cellars), Dick Graff (founded Chalone Winery and its AVA), and Burt Williams (Williams Selyem & Morning Dew Ranch) to name a few. Burt is still an influence as he was one of Chris’s best friends, and like an Uncle to Drake. What began in the 70’s as a hobby in the basement of Chris’s wine shop Mayfair Cellars grew into both a passion and a commitment to natural winemaking.
Chris Whitcraft passed in 2014, but since 2008, his son, Drake has continued to carry on the tradition of natural winemaking within the Whitcraft family, making the winery one of Santa Barbara County’s only multi-generational wineries. He is a believer that man cannot improve on what Mother Nature gives us, and that in the cellar you should be more of a Wine Shepherd than a Winemaker.