We would like to think that our vineyard blocks were developed in a manner akin to the various tiny appellations within Burgundy, which were painstakingly identified by Cistercian monks over two millennia of trial and error.
The result is a patchwork of irregularly shaped blocks of varying size and orientation. Each block was given a unique prescription for soil preparation (ripping and amendments), assigned a preferred rootstock (low vigor and water tolerance), and received a suggestion of appropriate clonal selections that would be optimum for its distinct terroir. These suggestions were then evaluated from the winemaker’s perspective, within the context of an estate program that would provide a variety of flavor profiles, and a mandate that both Heritage and Dijon clones be represented in the final wines.
All of our blocks are planted in high density configurations that maximize wine quality by limiting the fruit zone of each cordon and creating competition among root systems. Each vine has its own emitter and each block is irrigated by a separate zone that is controlled at the primary well. With ample water capacity from four wells, the entire vineyard is sprinklered to establish annual cover crops and provide frost protection. A weather station stores historical data and uses algorithms to predict frost and mildew potential.
Within the 200-acre working ranch is the Pence Vineyard. Seen from above, the vineyard itself appears as an island within a larger land mass that has been slowly eroded over time on all sides.
The most complex wines are created from vines grown on slopes and challenged by their environments. Though more expensive to plant and difficult to farm than lowland fruit, the qualitative difference is palpable.
Ranging in size from one to four acres each, our blocks are organized according to their geographic locations within the vineyard. They are split into two groups: east and west of the main ranch road; and ascend numerically to the north from the ranch’s southerly border and entrance along Highway 246.