Alberta, Stockholm, London: all major cities with Star Trek connections. The latest connection is the Santa Ynez Valley in Southern California’s Santa Barbara Wine Country.
You might be asking:
- Isn’t “Chateau Picard” in France?
- Which are the French vineyard locations in the Star Trek series?
- What does the Santa Ynez Valley have to do with Star Trek?
“Chateau Picard” - A Moveable Vineyard
- Jean-Luc Picard’s family winery first appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation, which ran from 1987-1994. During that series, the Picard family “made wine” in the La Barre commune in the Franche-Comte region of France, close to the border with Switzerland.
The episode Family showed Capital Picard and his brother discussing the family’s wine, “Chateau Picard.” They drank red wine from a 21st-century bottle, apparently sticking with traditional packaging. Some things never change!
- There is an actual wine called Chateau Picard which belongs to a French wine négociant located in Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux. The owners of this château, négociant Mähler-Besse, have a long wine-producing history, much longer than the Star Trek universe.
- With the debut of the new series, Star Trek: Picard, we see retired Admiral Picard enjoying his vineyard and his dog. But the vineyard no longer resides in the Franche-Comte region.
Burgundy is now its home. Perhaps the studio wanted to give the winery a more prestigious address. The same bottle and label appear in the new episode as before, reinforcing the traditional nature of the Picard family wines.
Though on-screen the references are to Burgundy, the location of the actual vineyard is not in France. The initial filming took place in April 2019 at Sunstone Vineyards & Winery. Sunstone is located just south of the city of Santa Ynez in the heart of the Santa Barbara Wine Country.
Santa Ynez, now part of Trekkie lore, hopes to capitalize on the massive popularity of the series as other cities have.
Star Trek: Picard & Sunstone Winery
The new series, featuring Patrick’s Stewart’s Admiral Picard, was filmed at Sunstone Vineyards because of its proximity to Hollywood. The location allowed the studio to realize significant cost and time savings versus filming in France.
The other advantage to Sunstone is the owners constructed the winery with materials shipped in from southern France. Therefore, the winery represents with some authenticity a “French-style” winery on screen.
The camera team shot many vineyard scenes at Sunstone with drones, though some of the actors participated in on-location shots.
While wine-tasting wasn’t part of the actors’ duties, Trekkies and other visitors can take advantage of their visits to sip some of the faux-Burgundy wines.
*Note: Star Trek: Picard airs on the CBS All Access channel.
The Wines of “Chateau Picard”
- The red grape of the Franche-Comte region is Trousseau. The wines made from this grape are full-bodied, aromatic, and long-lived. Trousseau is an excellent choice for Picard’s multi-generational family (estimated to be five generations.) The family made wine under two labels, “Chateau Picard” and “Château La Barre.”
- The real Château Picard Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux is made from 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and15% Merlot. This is a wine to lay down for some years drinking. Wines from Bordeaux exhibit a richness that deepens over time, a different style again from either Trousseau or Pinot Noir.
- The signature grape of Burgundy is Pinot Noir. It can be long-lived and gives a lighter-bodied, elegant and perfumed wine. Burgundy is a very different style of wine from Trousseau. Perhaps Jean-Luc’s tastes, or budget, changed over the years.
Pinot Noir is a popular grape in the Santa Barbara County, so the wines of Burgundy and Santa Barbara have something in common, at least.
In addition to the original Château Picard, Mähler-Besse produces, in partnership with CBS, a separate Star Trek: Picard Cru Bourgeois Bordeaux for fans of the show using the same blend of grapes.
Along with the above wine, fans can enjoy a Sonoma County, California, Zinfandel-based red blend called Special Reserve United Federation of Planets Old Vine Zinfandel.
So far with the new series, we have different wines from different wine regions associated with the same movable vineyard, the same family, and the same name (excluding the Zinfandel.)
On another note, considering the state of climate change in 2020, it is doubtful that Pinot Noir would still thrive in Burgundy in 2399. Consulting a few wine experts when writing the scripts might have been a good idea!
Martellotto Winery Welcomes Star Trek: Picard at Sunstone
Located a scant 8 miles from Sunstone, Martellotto Winery welcomes Hollywood to Santa Barbara Wine Country.
When asked about this Star Trek connection, owner, Greg Martellotto said:
“I think it's fantastic that the Los Angeles entertainment industry is helping our young wine region gain exposure by filming more projects in beautiful Santa Barbara wine country.”
Hoping to “live long and prosper,” Greg is sure that other wineries will join him in welcoming the film industry and its fans to the area.
“This is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world, and we love sharing our bounty with visitors. We hope fans of Star Trek will visit “Chateau Picard” and other neighboring wineries."
There are perhaps no more passionate and dedicated fans than Trekkies. The entire Santa Ynez wine region should benefit from increased exposure of all these fans.
Santa Barbara Wine Country
Santa Barbara Wine Country is a premier wine destination that promotes sharing wine, food, and good company in a beautiful setting. This is wine country lifestyle at its best.
Visiting some of the many wineries in the area should be on any Trekkies’ agenda. In the wine triangle of Buellton, Los Olivos, and Santa Ynez, visitors can spend an entire day without driving more than 30 miles
Wines include single varietal, single vineyard, and blends, with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir the most planted. However, visitors can enjoy other wines such as Bordeaux-style blends from the newest and hottest AVA, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara.
With a comfortable climate of warm days and cool nights, guests can linger outside at a winery or on the patio at a restaurant while savoring lovely wines.
With great restaurants, comfy accommodations, easy driving and parking, beautiful vistas, and delicious wine, Santa Barbara Wine Country delivers the perfect vacation.
Though only a short drive from Los Angeles, this wine region is a world away from the hustle of the big city. Anyone, including Trekkies, will be seduced by the laid-back wine lifestyle of Santa Barbara Wine Country.
Greg Martellotto encourages Trekkies making the pilgrimage to Sunstone to branch out and visit other wineries. Costumes welcome!
About Martellotto Winery
Martellotto Winery is located in Buellton. As a neighboring winery to Sunstone, Trekkies are welcome to stop by for a taste of these award-winning Bordeaux-style wines.
A boutique winery dedicated to producing world-class wines, it stands in homage to Greg’s Italian grandfather (Nonno.) He made wine in his basement during prohibition in the U.S.
Set deep in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country, Martellotto Winery creates handcrafted, beautiful, and exciting wines using selected grapes from across California’s Central Coast.
Grapes come from Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Ynez Valley, and Santa Maria Valley.
Martellotto specializes in Bordeaux varietals, and is one of the few wineries producing single varietal wines of all five of the noble Bordeaux grapes: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec.