Costa De Oro Winery is the off-shoot of parent company Gold Coast Farms, located in Santa Maria, California. Founding members Ron Burk and Bob Espinola, began farming in 1978, growing a variety of crops, including strawberries, cilantro, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower and sweet corn. However, on a bluff at Fuglar’s Point, where the soil proved to be poor for vegetable growth, Ron and Bob decided to try wine grapes. It was a wise and profitable decision. The well drained, sandy loam soil, although difficult for vegetable production, was perfect for wine grapes. So, in 1989 Gold Coast Vineyard was planted with cuttings from the prestigious Sierra Madre Vineyard. Today, 20 acres of Pinot Noir and 10 acres of Chardonnay cover this beautiful and unique landscape of the Santa Maria Valley.
The vineyard began producing fruit in the early 90's and the grapes were sold to local wineries including Au Bon Climat, Foxen, Lane Tanner, and Hitching Post. During this time, Gary developed a friendship with Jim Clendenen, the “Mind Behind” Au Bon Climat. Jim ultimately offered Gary a harvest position at the famed Au Bon Climat/Qupé Winery in 1994. Gary was offered a full time position after the harvest and stayed until 2002.
While at ABC/Qupé in 1994, Gary produced the first Costa de Oro wines; 1 barrel each of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Each year Costa de Oro continued to grow, reaching 2500 cases in the year 2002. At this point, Gary left ABC/Qupé and today Costa de Oro leases space and shares production equipment with 2 other wineries. Production has increased to 6,500 cases annually and the wine is sold in 15 states across the country. Costa de Oro also produces special private labels lots for clients such as James Beard Award Winner Roy Yamaguchi of Roy’s Restaurants and the Halekulani Hotel on Waikiki Beach.
The Costa De Oro Tasting Room opened in 2006 at the location of our original strawberry stand off the 101 Freeway in Santa Maria. Visitors can enjoy our Estate wines as well as other varietals. We also offer our Gold Coast strawberries, when in season, along with locally grown produce on our farmer’s market patio. Our gift baskets and wine gift boxes are the perfect hostess gifts when traveling to visit family and friends. Come see why we’re called "the most unique tasting room on the Central Coast!"
Winemaker - Gary Burk
Though born into a farming family, Gary’s first love was music. So after earning his business degree from Cal Poly, SLO, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a musician. During his time in LA, Gary’s father Ron Burk and Bob Espinola planted their 30 acre Gold Coast Vineyard. That is when Gary’s interest in grape growing and wine took off. He began selling Gold Coast grapes to winemakers from his LA base.
In 1993 on a visit home to Santa Maria, Gary was fortunate enough to share a dinner with Au Bon Climat's Jim Clendenen and Dominique Lafon of Domaine des Comtes Lafon. After that evening, Gary was hooked ... funny what a great glass of Meursault will do! In 1994 he was invited to work harvest at the Au Bon Climat/Qupe facility and was hired full time in 1995. He worked in production and marketing for ABC/Qupe until August of 2002 when he left to devote all of his time and energy to Costa De Oro. He made one barrel each of Gold Coast Vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in 1994 and has increased production of the Costa de Oro label each year to the current level of 4,500 cases annually. He currently produces his wines at the Central Coast Wines Services facility in Santa Maria.
Gary says, "The transition from music to wine making was easy. There are a lot of similarities in the two industries; both rely on a blending of technique, artistry and feel." His goal is to produce wines with balance, elegance and texture, reflecting Old World Style and Terrior of the vineyard.
Gary has received critical acclaim, receiving 90 point scores or higher from Robert Parker, James Laube/Wine Spectator, and Wine and Spirits Magazine. He has also had wines named in the Top 100 Wines of the Year by Wines and Spirits Magazine (2000), the San Francisco Chronicle (2001), Wine Country Living (2003), and most recently Winner of Best in Show at both the Orange and Santa Barbara County Fairs.