WILLOW CREEK, PASO ROBLES
We source our grapes from Russell Family Vineyard, located in the Willow Creek Appellation on the west side of Paso Robles, California. This western positioned vineyard is composed of rolling hills, highlighted by a blanket of limestone rich soils. The variable elevations and sun exposures allow the vines to soak up the warmth of the sun throughout the day then cool when the night air envelops the vineyard.
Because of its close proximity to the ocean, the vineyard is characterized by warm clear days with night time temperatures which can drop by approximately 40 to 50 degrees. This dramatic temperature variation increases the time of the grapes maturation cycle providing fruit that creates a more complex and balanced wine. With clear, sunny days typically lasting well into November, our fruit has the chance to stay on the vine longer to develop mature polyphenols, while the cool nights and heavy limestone laden soil encourage the vines to produce opulent clusters boasting remarkable natural acidity, resulting in the ideal combination of maturity and balance.
Our goal is to become sustainable on our own, and to do this we are starting to personally plant approximately 2 acres of vineyard. The first grape varietals we planted are Syrah and Mourvèdre. These are among the most common grape varietals grown in the Rhône region of France. However, unlike many grape growers in California, we want to plant our vineyard in the traditional style of the Rhône region.
Our Syrah will be head-trained on teepees as is traditional in Côte-Rôtie. This style of planting involves two wooden posts tied together to make a teepee. A vine is planted at the base of each post, and the vines on each teepee grow together. This is a more sustainable method of planting grapes, as the vines grow vertically, instead of horizontally. This proves beneficial because the leaf canopy protects the grapes, leading to less sun, frost, and animal damage. This practice produces a lower yeild of fruit, but a much higher quality grape than other common methods. Additionally, it is more drought resistant. Grapes planted in this style produce consistently low quantity, high quality fruit in both drought and non-drought years.
The Mourvèdre will be head-trained on single stakes surrounded by hand lain limestone. In Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the Mourvèdre is planted in this staked manner. The added touch of limestone is a method used to ensure full ripening of the fruit. Limestone would retain heat around the vines and cause the brix levels to always reach their peak.