Vineyards

We own and lovingly farm four rather different Estate vineyards. All have different soils and micro-climates, but all share farming practices that are gentle, hands-on, natural (although we are not certified, we are essentially organic) and consistent. We believe these to be the four cornerstones of great fruit and subsequently great wine.

cumulus is 33 acres located in the cool Santa Rita Hills appellation. We planted 22 acres in 2001, primarily Syrah and Grenache, but also some Roussanne and a tiny bit of Viognier and Petite Sirah. The other 11 acres were Pinot Noir, planted by the previous ranch owners. About half of this has been grafted to three different clones of Chardonnay and a touch of Muscat. Because the climate is rather cool, we regularly experience very late harvests; seldom before the end of October and frequently well into November. This means very long “hang time” and thus full flavored, but never over-ripe or raisined fruit. Although the vineyard is densely planted with 2,420 vines per acre, we typically have very low yields of less than 1.5 tons per acre or more importantly around 1 ¼lb. of fruit per vine. This is one of the many criteria toward great wine quality.

cumulus is our “home” vineyard. It is located in the rather little known area of Oak View (south of Santa Barbara) where we live and where we also have our winery. The area is relatively warm and therefore it typically is the first of our vineyards to be harvested. Here we have numerous small blocks of varying vine training styles. The first block was planted in 2004 and is comprised of Syrah, Grenache and Roussanne. In 2008 we planted two more blocks. These house the rare white grape Petite Manseng, the equally rare Portugese Touriga Nacional, as well as small amounts of Mourvedre, Petite Sirah and two more small Syrah sections. One of these blocks is trained in a sort of Cote Rotie style. It is a super dense planting at 4,350 vines per acre and also own-rooted (no foreign rootstocks grafted onto the scions).

This CUMULUS Vineyard is also the fruit source for a newer brand that was launched with the 2007 vintage. It is called NEXT OF KYN. A young sister to SINE QUA NON if you will.

THE THIRD TWINis a vineyard property that we purchased in the spring of 2010. It is located near the quaint town of Los Alamos in the central coast. A small vineyard of mostly Syrah and a bit of Petite Sirah had been planted there in the year 2000 and, much to our surprise and delight, it was all own-rooted… our favorite, albeit a somewhat risky proposition because of the exposure to the dreaded phylloxera. This vineyard has rather sandy soils and the micro-climate could be called moderate. Staggeringly beautiful fruit has come from this site. In fact, we were so impressed that in the early spring of 2011 we planted another block, in even sandier soils. In fact, almost pure sand and very deep. The first delightful fruit from that vineyard block came with the amazingly great 2014 harvest. What a treat this site is. Hard to put into words.

cumulus is a place tucked away in the remote Tepusquet Canyon. It is a Hermit’s paradise. Hard to find, hard to access, way up at some 1800 feet elevation. There, in that hidden paradise, we planted a little bucolic 2 acre vineyard in a Chateauneuf-du-Pape like bush vine style, but all Mourvedre for now. We picked the first tiny bit of fruit nuggets there in the stingy 2015 vintage. The effort is a bit disproportionate to the quantity received, but heck it is worth the struggle at times.

At this time, we only have one more fruit source that is not grown and owned by us. And that is the heart warming Bien Nacido Vineyard in the very cool area of Santa Maria. Syrah from that vineyard was our very first fruit source and our first SQN wine… “Queen of Spades”… came from that fruit. We no longer contract Syrah, but we still have a small section of delightful Chardonnay for our white wine program and a tiny little “laboratory” block for Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussanne and Marsanne.

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