Wild Horse Valley AVA

Great Terroir for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

The carved sign on our bottled wine storage building reads, “VITIS AMAT COLLES”– “the vine loves the windy hill”. This ancient wisdom suits our vineyard perfectly. The winds that cool our vines come from that vast refrigerator 40 miles to the west, the Pacific Ocean– the same that inspired Mark Twain’s bon mot, “The coldest winter of my life was one summer in San Francisco”. Although some of our fog comes through the Golden Gate, most comes from Bodega Bay, cooling further as it comes up the mountain to Wild Horse Valley.

How fortunate our site! Warm enough to ripen the grapes, yet cool enough to retain acids and develop nuanced flavors over a long autumnal “hang time”.

“The vine loves a windy hill”...how true it is!

“The vine loves a windy hill”
...how true it is!

Blue rocks and cold wind are key to our wine’s subtle pleasures

Blue rocks and cold wind are key to our wine’s subtle pleasures

The other half of the terroir equation is, of course, the dirt– its texture, its depth and its constituent minerals. Our soil in Wild Horse Valley is unique in the region —part of the “Trimmer” soil series that once blew out of a volcano. The rocks are rich in minerals, as I can demonstrate by cleaving one so that its constituents glisten like an oil spot on wet pavement. Being very rocky, the soil is well drained, but does not retain moisture well– thus the vines have to struggle to become established and simply are not able to ripen a large crop. Fortunately, low yield (as low as one ton per acre) correlates with intensity of flavor, especially with Pinot Noir. I can almost taste the blue rocks and the white fog in our wine!