Our winemaking is an expression of our desire to explore the microclimates and subzones of Sonoma County. Instead of working with a single site, we prefer to source fruit from a handful of vineyards throughout Sonoma County. Every vintage is, for us, a journey of discovery. Every bottling is an exploration of place.
Formerly an apple orchard, the Vineyard is located in the Green Valley subappellation of the Russian River Valley. The chilly nights and cooling afternoon fogs that characterize this subzone just north of Sebastopol make for wines with mouthwatering acidity.
Hallberg Vineyard has been a California leader in its commitment to dry farming, which not only conserves water but also results in more complex, balanced wines. Without irrigation, the vines develop deeper roots, which allow the fruit to achieve full ripeness at lower sugar levels. We find that the Pinot Noir from Hallberg Vineyard is a bright and elegant expression of the ranch’s fine, sandy, yellow loam, known as Goldridge soil.
When Fred Nunes retired from a career of piloting firefighting helicopters, he took over farming duties at his grandparents’ Russian River Valley ranch, eight miles south of Healdsburg. We are very grateful that Fred and his wife, Wendy, decided to plant Pinot Noir vines in the property’s promising silty clay loam soil.
Fred and Wendy have developed an unusual and highly effective trellis system. With its eight-foot canopy height and eight-foot-wide aisle, it maximizes sun exposure and airflow, eliminating the need for hedging. The temperate microclimate at Nunes Vineyard allows for longer hangtime, which along with the influence of the silty clay loam soil, makes for a dense, layered Pinot Noir that is also brisk with acidity.
The van der Kamp family purchased this historic 60-acre homestead on the eastern flank of Sonoma Mountain from their friends, the Cundis, in 1989 and have been farming it ever since. At 1,400 feet, this high-elevation, north-facing site on the eastern slope of Sonoma Mountain enjoys a combination of cool temperatures and bright light, making for dark, structured, intensely perfumed fruit.
The farm includes gardens, an orchard, and hens and chickens, but the star here is the old-vine Pinot Noir plantings in thin loam and volcanic tuff soils that date as far back as the early 1950s. The van der Kamps employ organic and biodynamic practices to grow Pinot Noir that speaks of place.
Originally part of the 1843 Tzabaco Rancho Mexican land grant, this property just west of Geyserville has been farmed by the Phillips-Schmidt family for more than 160 years. We have chosen to source our Sauvignon Blanc from this iconic Dry Creek Valley site because we love the juicy and aromatic character of the fruit. It makes an irresistibly thirst-quenching white wine that takes on a soft plushness when partially aged in neutral French oak.
We are very lucky to also have access to Chardonnay grapes grown on the adjoining home vineyard of Tzabaco Rancho owners, Brian and Janice Schmidt. Lifelong farmer Brian was a founding member of WineGrowers of the Dry Creek Valley, and Janice spent two decades working as Senior Enologist at Jordan Winery. Since 2006, Tzabaco Rancho Vineyards has been a member of the California Sustainable Winegrowing Program.
Image ©2014 Janice Schmidt
A few minutes south of Tzabaco Rancho, Mounts Vineyard sits on a knoll on the western slope of the Dry Creek Valley. It’s a simple, bare-bones, 140-acre property offering not much more than a rustic barn, breathtaking views and world-class wine grapes.
The Mounts family has been tending vines here for more than six decades and grows a range of grape varieties that includes California classics like Zinfandel and Petite Sirah as well as surprises from southern France such as Counoise and Picpoul Blanc. We make our Rhône-inspired Viognier from Mounts Vineyard fruit, which shines when aged partly in neutral oak, with partial malolactic fermentation. The result is a lush, ripe, creamy, glorious wine.
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