Coming to Napa?
This part of Napa Valley is well known as Cabernet country. Starting in 1979, we planted 16 acres in Cabernet Sauvignon and five acres in Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, on three terraced hillsides with northern and western exposures.
Our Chardonnay vineyard is planted in the lowest sector of our valley where Cabernet is less suitable. We planted three types of Chardonnay -- an old California vineyard selection and two "Dijon" French clones.
In its protected position in the Napa foothills, our 36-acre vineyard enjoys a micro-climate cooler than the valley floor. From the beginning we watered and fertilized our plants sparingly, and we have never used pesticides. To avoid the use of herbicides, we cultivate our vineyard terraces and hand-hoe each vine.
With the help of our son Michael as vineyard manager we have sought to improve on the quality of our grapes by replanting vines closer together, by vertical trellising and by the judicious choice of rootstocks and clones tailored to each spot. This means that the clusters now hang free and uncrowded, are much less susceptible to molds and diseases, and produce wines with more fruit and softer tannins. Michael and Christopher regularly walk the vineyards together discussing how to integrate grape growing and winemaking to make the highest quality wines.
This combination of soils, growing conditions and integrated vineyard practices results in loose bunches of tiny grape berries whose flavors are concentrated, yielding wines of great intensity of fruit and color and smooth rich tannins.