Wines from the Rhône Valley and Burgundy, France were Proprietor John Sweazey's favorites during his travels in the early 70s, and are the inspiration for the wines we produce today. John’s son, John Michael, visited those same regions many years later and was also inspired. As it turns out, Sonoma's microclimates are ideal for these grape varieties. Wine's journey from grape to glass always begins in the vineyard, where soil, wind, rain, sun and all the elements of nature combine to weave a rich tapestry called "terroir" or sense of place.
We source our grapes from our preferred and, in many cases, exclusive, vineyards—farmed meticulously—yielding exceptional fruit grown to our winemakers’ exact standards. Rootstocks and grape clones are carefully selected based on each vineyard's soil to assure each variety is suited to its environment. We employ canopy management techniques to optimize fruit maturation and color preservation. To enhance each variety's flavor profile, we thin the clusters, allowing the grapevine to focus all its energy on only the best berries. Above all, we adhere to sustainable viticulture practices in the vineyard and the cellar, making sure that the environment is paramount in our efforts.
These are some of the vineyards we work with to create our Vineyard Designate series wines.
J McK Estate Vineyard
The J McK Estate Vineyard is located on our winery property in Carneros. The vineyard name is derived from Proprietor John Sweazey’s children, John Michael and McKenna. The climate on the estate is influenced by its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. The cooling influence of the anabatic winds allows the grapes a longer hang time prior to harvest, to slowly develop intense flavors while adding brightness and acidity to the final wine.
We source chardonnay grapes from the acclaimed Dutton Ranch (usually from the Mills Station Vineyard and Shop Block). Located in the Green Valley sub-AVA of Russian River Valley, which lies within Sonoma Coast, the notably cool, foggy climate of this region delivers nice acidity and citrus flavors to the wine while the Goldridge and Sebastopol Clay Loam soils add to its complexity.
Sangiacomo Roberts Road Vineyard
From Sonoma’s long respected family growers comes the fruit for our Sangiacomo — Roberts Road Vineyard Pinot Noir. Planted in 1999, Roberts Road Vineyard lies in the newly designated (December 2017) but long revered Petaluma Gap AVA. For nearly half the day the vineyard is shrouded in fog and also influenced by coastal breezes, lending itself to slow, even growing and fruit development.
Wildcat Mountain Vineyard
Planted in 1998 by vintner Steve MacRostie and partners, Wildcat Mountain is a hilltop vineyard (700 feet above sea level) often in the middle of the fog and vigorously challenged by the wind. The soils are rocky and well-draining. The nearby San Pablo Bay contributes to the overall terroir and climate. All together these elements make the vines struggle and produce distinct flavors in the finished wine.
Las Brisas Vineyard
The Carneros AVA was an early pioneer in the production of Pinot Noir in California, with Francis Mahoney, proprietor of Mahoney Vineyards, an influential contributor to the study of Pinot Noir clones in the appellation. Mahoney’s 30 years of clonal trials, and work with UC Davis, has helped him to understand some of the hundreds of clonal variations, as well as develop his own stellar vineyards. Las Brisas Vineyard, part of the Mahoney Estate, translates to “the breezes” and sits on the Sonoma side of the appellation. It is named for the winds that drive morning fog from the vineyards and bring in cooling breezes in the late afternoon. The predominantly clay soils of Carneros are shallow, this combined with the influences of the nearby San Pablo Bay, yield remarkable fruit year after year.
The Soberanes Vineyard, located in the heart of the Santa Lucia Highlands, builds upon a tradition of high quality growing practices. Working together, the Pisoni and Franscioni families, whose friendship spans three generations and are known for the Pisoni, Garys', Rosella’s and Sierra Mar Vineyards, added Soberanes Vineyard to their portfolio. Pinot Noir is often referred to as the Holy Grail of wines and one of the most challenging grapes to grow. A perfect fit for the cold pockets of California's coastline, the variety produces beautiful wines in the Santa Lucia Highlands. The Salinas Valley fog and wind allow for slow ripening — a requirement for producing intense, yet elegant Pinot Noir.
Bismark Vineyard is located in the Mayacamas Mountains high above the city of Sonoma, in the sub-appellation of Moon Mountain District. The soils in this vineyard are rocky and well-draining. Sitting at an elevation high above the fog line at 2100 feet, this steeply sloped vineyard benefits from cooler air temperatures, yet intense sun light, adding to the depth of this wine.
Teldeschi Vineyard Home Ranch
Nestled in the heart of Dry Creek Valley, Ray Teldeschi's meticulous vineyard grows highly sought after grapes. His reputation as a remarkable farmer shows in the fruit quality. The vineyard follows an easterly slope up to the bench land, one level above the valley floor, with volcanic boomer series soil that contributes a signature spice to much of Ray's fruit. Southern exposure guarantees plenty of sunlight and the valley's warm days followed by cool nights result in perfect conditions for red varietals such as Petite Sirah.
Many of our Rhône varieties are sourced from Landa Vineyard, located in the low eastern foothills of the Mayacamas, tucked away just one mile from the town square in Sonoma. This site experiences warm days, and is protected from winds. This, combined with the cool valley nights, makes the vineyard ideal for slow, even ripening.
The Snow Vineyard is a small, well-manicured vineyard nestled on the east side of Sonoma, just a couple miles from the Sonoma Plaza. The Sonoma Valley warm days and cool evenings create ideal conditions for Picpoul Blanc and Grenache Blanc—showcasing the vibrant acids for which these varietals are known.
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