We selected Vivio Vineyards because it has such a strong marine influence. Cool air pours in from three separate directions and settles into the valley’s bowl, which in the summer months turns to heavy fog. Despite the cooling influences, the days can get quite hot. Temperatures can swing 40° to 50° from daytime highs to nighttime lows. As a result, the fruit is very late ripening—sometimes we don't pick until almost November.
|Grower||Joe & Priscilla Vivio|
|Acres Planted||12 acres|
|Soil Types||Sonoma Volcanics (Goulding, Laniger, Raynor, Spreckles)|
|Varietals / Clones||Syrah ~ Alban; Aussie, 470, 877, 174; Roussanne ~ 468|
|Winery Clients||Red Car, Carlisle, Donelan|
Stagecoach sits at the top of Atlas Peak, straddling the Vaca Mountain range, which separates Napa Valley from Solano County and its many, er, shopping malls. Dr. Jan Krupp happened upon this sprawling property back in 1991. Majestic as it was, it had never been planted because there was no water to be found. It took a water witch (a guy named Newman, if you must know) and a whole lotta dynamite to make the place plant-able. Some two million pounds of rock were blasted to make the vineyard what it is today.
There are rows of vines running in every direction, trellised and spaced every imaginable way, and planted at elevations from 1,200 to 1,800 feet. The one defining element is the soil, which is red, volcanic and loamy. Thanks to the steady breeze that flows up valley from the Bay, the fog arrives early each day and prolongs the growing season each year. Stagecoach grapes typically reach maturity 10 to 14 days after those on the valley floor have ripened. All the usual mountain characteristics are here – small berries with thick skins, big tannins and extremely complex flavors.
|Grower||Dr. Jan Krupp|
|Acres Planted||658 acres|
|Elevation||1,200 – 1,750 feet|
|Soil Types||Hambright complex with Guenoc-Rock outcrop|
|Varietals / Clones||Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Grenache, Malbec, Marsanne, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Tempranillo, Viognier|
|Winery Clients||90+ clients, including Aaron Pott, Heidi Barrett, Helen Keplinger, Kirk Venge, Mark Herold, Caymus, Chappellet and Pahlmeyer|
Spring Hill sits on a windblown ridge, seven miles from the ocean at the lowest point in the Coast Range north of the Golden Gate. Viticulturally, it sits in the Petaluma Gap, a conduit for cold air and fog from the Pacific. The berries are quite small and yield is often less than one ton per acre.
Sustainable practices include composting, natural cover crops of Lupine, crimson clover, California poppy and rye, and a parliament of owls that keep the vineyard clear of pesky rodents. While the vineyard is dedicated to Pinot Noir, it does share the ranch with herds of Wagyu and Scottish Highland cattle.
|Grower||Chris and Karen London|
|Acres Planted||20 acres|
|Soil Types||Los Osos clay loam, Steinbeck loam|
|Varietals / Clones||Pinot Noir ~ Dijon 777, 667, 115; Pommard 5, Swan; Calera; Wadenswil|
|Winery Clients||Landmark, Nickel & Nickel, Schramsberg, Talisman, Waxwing|
Cavedale Vineyard is named for the road that snakes its way 2,000 feet up Moon Mountain. To call it a road is kind; it’s a crumbling one-lane track that zig-zags its way through scrub oak and pine and crests more or less at Elliott MacKey’s cottage, well above the fog line.
The climate here is defined by near constant Bay breezes that blow across the entire AVA. Soils are largely fractured basalt and volcanic ash, which produce a gravelly loam. Bordeaux varieties do best here. Cab Sauvignon is hauntingly intense at this elevation. Cabernet Franc loses its tooty fruity valley floor profile and becomes much more complex. Petit Verdot turns into the kind of pixie dust every vintner seeks.
|Appellation||Moon Mountain / Sonoma Valley|
|Acres Planted||7.5 acres|
|Soil Types||Gravelly volcanic loam|
|Varietals / Clones||Cabernet Sauvignon ~ 333, 337, Merlot 3, Cabernet Franc 1, Petit Verdot|
|Winery Clients||Sbragia, Waugh, Rousseau, Huneeus Vintners|