We have built an integrated, organic farming system, certified by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), that is centered around grape growing and winemaking, estate-grown olive oils, fruit & vegetable production, hand-tended bee hives, a large herd of grass-fed Highland cattle, and a flock of Hampshire-Suffolk crossbred sheep. We now have multiple locations in our consistently-managed, organic farming system.
Today all of our vineyards are ably managed by Joseph Hardin, Director of Agricultural Opertations, and Garrett Buckland, Viticulturist with Premiere Viticultural Services, and, in Anderson Valley, they are assisted on-the-ground by Paul Ardzrooni, Vineyard Manager of Ardzrooni Vineyard Management.
On our Mayacamas Estate, we farm 16-acres of mountain-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese vineyards. On our valley floor Rutherford Estate, we farm 74-acres of Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvingon vineyards. On our Anderson Valley Estate, we farm 70-acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.
At our 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.
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.
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 a 1,300-foot 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.
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-foot 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."
Nestled behind our winery at a 900-foot 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.