We own 90 acres of organically farmed vineyards in the heart of the Napa Valley.
On the valley floor, on the Rutherford Estate, we farm a total of 74 acres of Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvingon vineyards. On the Mayacamas Estate, we have 16 acres of mountain vineyards.
Mayacamas Estate vineyards are carved from a second growth forest at about 1,100 feet elevation. Our southwest facing vineyards in the Mayacamas Mountains provide a distinctive "terroir" for our wines. In total, we have about 16 acres of mountain vineyards.
On the Mayacamas Estate we began vineyard development in 1990 under the guiding hand of Napa Valley vineyard management legend, Laurie Wood. From 1998 to 2011, our vineyards were managed by Frank Leeds of Leeds-Pesch Organic Vineyard Consulting, a true pioneer in organic farming in the Napa Valley.
Today all of our vineyards are ably managed by Tony Fernandez, our director of agricultural operations, and he is advised by Garrett Buckland of Premiere Viticultural Services. All of our vineyards are farmed using organic practices certified by California Certified Organic Farmers.
Cabernet Sauvignon: "Bear Canyon Vineyard." Our first developed vineyard (about 7 acres) is on a south-facing plateau on the edge of Bear Canyon at 1100 feet elevation. Planted in 1991 on 110R rootstock, we selected our budwood from the Bella Oaks Vineyard in Rutherford and the Jordan Vineyard in Alexander Valley. Planted at 9 by 5 spacing and using contoured terraces we established the first vineyard on Long Meadow Ranch since before Prohibition. This Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard produced its first wines in 1994.
Our yields are modest (between three and four tons to the acre), but the clusters of small berries produce beautifully concentrated wine. From the very beginning, the wine has expressed a distinctive character with concentrated deep black cherry and blackberry flavors.
Cabernet Franc: Adjacent to the Cabernet Sauvignon, we have planted a tiny (.4 acre) Cabernet Franc vineyard. This small vineyard faces due south on very steep terraces. Planted in European style, the vine rows are on both sides of each terraced bench. Highly stressful with rocky soil, this magnificent site provides richly flavorful grapes. The minute quantities of Cabernet Franc wine from this site have been blended by winemaker, Cathy Corison, with our Cabernet Sauvignon beginning with our 1997 vintage.
Sangiovese: "Peter's Vineyard." In 1994 we began developing a new Sangiovese vineyard. Inspired by our family friend, Peter Kraljic, who spent many seasons in the hills of Tuscany, "Peter's Vineyard" is located at a 1000 elevation on a southwest-facing slope. Aspiring to make a truly great Sangiovese in the tradition of Brunello, we believe that we are the first to plant on a site in the Mayacamas Mountains. Employing 3309 rootstock to reduce vigor and using the small-cluster, small-berry clone known as "Rodeno," we strive to produce a rich, full-bodied wine. The wine from this vineyard has often described as "California's Best Sangiovese".
Merlot. Nestled behind our winery at 900 feet elevation, we have re-created a two-acre vineyard on one of the original pre-prohibition sites. Planted to Merlot in 1998, we look forward to discovering the lost secrets of this site.
Cabernet Sauvignon: "Church Vineyard." We have developed two additional Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards on sites originally planted in the 1870s by pioneer, E. J. Church. These sites are located at about 1,300 feet elevation with south-easterly facing slopes. Wines from these sites were probably made in the Hassenmeier Winery located on the western portion of our Ranch. Abandoned at the time of prohibition, the terraces from these vineyards are still visible and vines can be seen in aerial photographs from the 1960s. Although the Hassenmeier Winery is mentioned in the St. Helena Star as late as 1892, very little is known of the wines made from vineyards. Planted in 2000, we released our inaugural E.J. Church Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve with the 2005 vintage. We will have to wait a few more years to learn the true potential of these historic sites. However, the early results are very promising.
We have 74 acres of vineyards on our newly assembled Rutherford Estate. A description of these vineyards, which include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals, will be provided shortly.