A discussion with Bill Williamson.
Great farmers observe nature, they listen to the advice of their grandfathers as well as study new findings and releases from agricultural colleges. They learn as much from their mistakes as their success and they formulate a sustainable protocol for every type of plant and every piece of dirt.
Farming our own Grapes
Growers grow grapes and sell them under contract to Wineries. Traditionally Growers are paid by weight of grapes ($/ton) so it is in their interest to grow for high-yield and to harvest their grapes early, when they weigh the most. The contractual trigger for harvest is usually the sugar level (Brix).
Because Brix level can be reached before ripeness occurs, Growers often pick heavy but less than perfectly ripe grapes. This tends to produce green tannins producing an unpleasant astringency in the resulting wine and leads to the popular tasting room expression "this wine should taste great in about ten years".
We prefer to control the growing of our grapes, farming with our own protocols and with the freedom to produce lower yields with more intense flavors. We choose the exact point of ripeness for harvesting each variety and vineyard block so our wines can emerge as balanced and early-approachable, yet still ageworthy.
Grace Vineyard Management
John Grace and his team have executed our directions for the management of our Home Ranch vineyards for almost twenty years. Additionally John's team manage our J&J Vineyards and our Drumright Vineyards. A long-term farmer, John understands our objectives of sustainably farming to produce a low-yield, high-quality crop with minimum impact on our river-frontage environment. We have developed a level of trust in John and his people making him an asset to our business as well as a personal friend.
Redwood Empire Vineyard Management
UC Davis graduate with over 33 years of experience Kevin Barr and 4th generation Sonoma County farmer/winemaker, Linda Barr along with Tyler Klick , also a graduate of UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program and St. Mary’s College in Health Science, together run REVM, the first certified sustainable vineyard management company in the State of California
Clendenen Vineyard Management
John Clendenen and his team execute our farming protocols at Vésenaz Vineyard. John is a fine farmer and a good friend.
Some people were born to be farmers. Things that others have to learn about farming, Kurt Ashurst just knows. For instance knowing that Viognier needs lots of sunshine but doesn't like to be too hot, he chose to plant it in the middle of a sunlit valley between a cold river and a cool lake. Kurt manages the growing of our Rhône whites, Viognier and Roussanne, both little known but delicious varieties when grown and made with care.
Dr. Jan Krupp began developing Stagecoach Vineyard in 1995 and with over 500 acres planted, it is the largest contiguous mountain planting in the Napa Valley. Stretching from Atlas Peak to above Oakville, this 1,200 acres of rocky, volcanic, south-facing terroir entices many of Napa's most successful winemakers to compete for the Stagecoach fruit. Today we are proud to be one of 40 wineries who craft incredible wines from this vineyard where the character and complexity in these mountain grapes continues to impress.