Occidental is the highly-lauded side project of famed winemaker, Steve Kistler and his business partner, Mark Bixler. Steve is most well-known for his eponymous label, Kistler Vineyards, which has been dedicated to making world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from California’s north coast for over 30 years. While Steve remains CEO of Kistler Vineyards and is very much in charge of day to day operations, his desire to focus solely on Pinot Noir was the impetus behind creating Occidental. Situated just 4 miles from the Ocean in western Sonoma’s Bodega Headlands, Occidental currently has 20 acres of primarily Calera clone Pinot Noir planted, with another 60 acres in development. The vineyards benefit from an ideal south-facing aspect (not shared by neighboring sites), as well as the Petaluma Gap’s cold, windy climate. In fact, the area rarely sees temperatures over 80 degrees. In short, it is a wonderland for Pinot Noir.