A brief history
Our vineyard is at nearly 2200 feet above sea level at the top of the eastern edge of Howell Mountain. We farm 1.93 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon on a non-drought tolerant rootstock planted in rocky volcanic soil. Our philosophy is to farm with respect for the land and the forest, growing exceptional fruit that leads to long-lived wines with an intoxicating complexity that speaks to the care taken in their growth and production.
In 2002 we planted 1.93 acres of vines on our 49 acre parcel near the top of Howell Mountain. We chose ENTAV clone 169 for its small berries, intense flavor, and intoxicating complexity. Our rootstock is 101-14, which is less vigorous and not as drought tolerant as other choices. This has made vine establishment and water management more challenging but we have been very happy with the ability of this combination to produce fruit that expresses a sense of place and lends itself to classic, simple winemaking. We are in the process of running trials in a search for additional rootstocks.
We farm with a profound respect for the complex relationship between the vine, the soil, and the forest beyond the setback. This leads us to build our soil with composted pressings, manure, and varying cover crops ensuring biodiversity in the soil and canopy that leads to easier pest management. To ensure the presence of beneficial insects, we plant wildflowers and other plants on the set back and near the vineyard to ensure that a wide variety of insects and arachnids can find a niche year round. Each year we add ladybugs, lacewings, minute pirate bugs, and other beneficial insects to the cover crop and canopy, ensuring that undesirable insects are naturally suppressed. We do not spray insecticides, so careful observation to ensure our beneficial insect program is working is a necessity!
Early aggressive canopy management leads to ideal light and air exposure, minimizing disease pressure and ensuring that each cluster gets the optimum mix of direct and dappled light. Balanced light exposure ensures uniform ripening with adequate anthocyanin for tannin integration. This process continues from before bloom until harvest, ensuring that optimum exposure is maintained as the sun angle and temperature change during the growing season.
We farm to balance the vigor of the vine with its crop load, dropping fruit each year to ensure intensity of flavor. This fastidious farming program pays off in the cellar, where minimalist winemaking is the norm.