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> Grape Growing

OUR "Terroir"

The vineyard is on a slope varying between 10-20%, with the dominant orientation facing south-east and the most inclined area facing due south.  Soils are typical of much of the Sierra Foothills soils (successive layers of sandy loam, sandy clay-loam,

     Andrea & Jacques pruning vineyard

a clay hard pan followed by more clay-loam).  Ripping was required to break up

the hard pan and improve drainage. 

The growing season heat summation is similar to Sonoma's and to the north

of Napa's, although a bit warmer in the summer and

a bit cooler at the start/end

of the growing season (April-Nov), mainly due to cooler mountain nights.  Day-night

differentials are between 40-50°F, which is very favorable to grape growing, preventing premature loss of acid as in hotter regions.  The main weather challenge can be a spring heat wave promoting bud break, followed by a late spring freeze, killing buds of early budding varieties (mainly white grapes), which can reduce crop loads appreciably (see below for frost protection measures).

Although rainfall is heavy during the winter (~ 50 in.), it is almost non-existent during the growing season, requiring drip irrigation.