Estate Vineyard Planted!
2007-07-27« Back to main news page...
On Wednesday, July 25th we finished placing the last vines in the ground! Thus, begins the life of our estate vineyard at Hidden Springs Ranch in Pleasant Valley. Located on the foothills of Mount Madonna in the Santa Cruz Mountains, our vineyard enjoys a perfect southern exposure where sunny days are tempered in the evenings by ocean breezes and maritime fog.
Our set up is entirely organic! This spring, we ripped and brought in several tons of compost to complement the five years of cover cropping which we had turned in each spring. Cover cropping and composting added fertility and tilth to the soil, and gave our baby vines a little boost. Research shows our vines benefited from a more sustainable one than they would have received if we had simply added petrochemical fertilizers to the vine holes. The end posts are steel, which have rusted to a beautiful oxide patina. The 12 gauge metal line posts are strung together by miles of trellis wire and drip irrigation. Our drip irrigation system is powered by a 12.8 KW solar system. Yeah, green power!
After much research, Steve and I chose five clones of Pinot Noir, which fill 6.5 acres, and two clones of Chardonnay which occupy four more. Steve and I chose these special five Pinot clones for their flavor and tannin profiles. Dijon-clone (Entav) 115 will bring bright fruit and a little mint, while 667 and the Pommard clone will contribute an elegant backbone. 2A and 828 will bring a little of both as well as that elusive earthiness that defines great Burgundies.
For our Chardonnay, we chose two clones and planted two acres of each. Clone 17 – also known as the Robert Young clone – is captured so famously in our Ben Lomond Mountain cuvées. Clone 4, a longstanding favorite here at Storrs, is the same clone farmed nearby at Christie Vineyard.
In honor of our local wildlife, we chose not to fence to the property boundaries, but instead left wildlife corridors. These locals – coyotes, long-tailed bobcats, deer and more – will one day enjoy a resource conservation pond to further enhance their habitat. Additionally, we are establishing bat boxes to help naturally decrease the coddling moth population, which prey on our 3 acre heirloom, Newtown Pippin orchard. We are also installing owl boxes and raptor perches to help everywhere with the gophers and rodents which threaten the young vines.
The vines are thriving and we hope to harvest our first crop with the vintage of 2011. We can't wait!
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