Santa Ynez Valley
Sta. Rita Hills
John Hilliard & Christine Bruce
John Hilliard, Christine Bruce
About The Estate:
Christine and John met in their native Houston where they discovered their shared love of wine. They moved to what is now their home at the 101 acre Hilliard Bruce estate in the north west of the Santa Rita Hills AVA, nestled in the coastal portion of Santa Barbara County.
Their hillside, cool climate vineyards produce a small yet exceptionally high quality range of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that are among the purest expression of their respective grape varieties. Regional legend Greg Brewer was appointed as the Winery Director in 2015, with John and Christine at the helm.
The most recent addition to the stellar team is new Production Manager, Sonja Magdevski. Sonja joined Hilliard Bruce in August 2017 as winery production manager, carrying out John and Christine’s vision and winemaking directives for their inimitable Sta. Rita Hills estate. Their keen responsibility for the overall environment is a core value for Sonja, as it further accentuates a vital sense of place. This carries through to Sonja’s own winery under her Casa Dumetz and Clementine Carter brands, with her commitment of working with the finest vineyards to produce Rhône varietals in Santa Barbara County.
Sonja’s original academic career trajectory was thwarted by her love of the grapevine. She studied Political Science at the University of Michigan and received her graduate work in Journalism from Michigan State University. She received a Fulbright Scholarship to Macedonia in 1998-1999 to study ethnic conflict in her parents’ homeland with the intention of creating a sustainable framework for tolerance and stability in the Balkans, but came to her senses over a glass of California Pinot Noir. Today she creates world peace one vintage at a time.
The maritime climate in Sta. Rita Hills helps to produce beautiful wines reminiscent of the great Crus of Burgundy where Greg first learnt his trade. They have become favourites of the major critics and can only continue to go from strength-to-strength.
Greg has been making wines in Sta. Rita Hills for 25 years with a CV that includes the award winning and critically acclaimed Melville and Brewer-Clifton vineyards
He was charged with producing the official delineation for the AVA in 1997, such is his expertise and standing globally
Christine has a stud farm at the Hilliard Bruce Estate where she breeds Arabian horses, their manure is used on the estate!
John, a fine artist in his own right, was a committee member of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston before managing his family’s shipyard business
Four Corners' own Matt met Greg back in 2007 through an unlikely family connection – Greg’s Aunt was Matt’s Mum’s roommate at college (an undisclosed number of years ago!)
Sta. Rita Hills was the setting for the film Sideways which firmly established the region as California’s top spot for Pinot Noir
John Hilliard, Christine Bruce & Greg Brewer