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Pinot grows well here.

Appellations

Since the very start of our winemaking journey, we’ve been obsessed with seeking out special vineyards as the sources for our wines. Our search for great Pinot Noir has taken us throughout California but we focus on three appellations—Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands. We feel that these growing regions and the farmers who work them are among the best in the world.

Map of Appellations
San Francisco Bodega Bay Boonville Monterey Sebastopol Sonoma Coast Russian River Valley Santa LuciaHighlands Kanzler Keefer Giusti Cohn Gap’s Crown Pisoni Rosella’s Garys’ Koplen Sta. Rita Hills Anderson Valley Cerise Sea Ranch San Luis Obispo Paso Robles Hearst Castle Big Sur Buellton Santa Barbara 1 1 1 San Francisco Bodega Bay Monterey Sebastopol Sonoma Coast Russian River Valley Santa LuciaHighlands Kanzler Keefer Giusti Cohn Gap’s Crown Pisoni Rosella’s Garys’ Buellton Koplen Anderson Valley Cerise

Appellations

Since the very start of our winemaking journey, we’ve been obsessed with seeking out special vineyards as the sources for our wines. Our search for great Pinot Noir has taken us throughout California but we focus on three appellations—Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands. We feel that these growing regions and the farmers who work them are among the best in the world.

Anderson Valley

Our most northerly growing region and one that is decidedly wild. Centered on the town of Boonville, the region offers steep hillsides, rocky terrain and exposures that push vines to their limits. The estate property, the Cerise Vineyard, is our focal point for the valley. We’ve been long-time fans of the region and are thrilled to now be wine growers here ourselves.

Winding road with a speed limit sign and Lemon's Market at the bend with a large American flag flying from the porch.

Our most northerly vineyards.

In the redwoods, the trunks of the redwoods surrounded by lush grounds covered in ferns.

Atop a mountain looking down into the valley through a slight fog covered with oak trees and vineyards.

Anderson Valley Grange sign, advertising a Zydeco Dance party.

Boontling, a rare local dialect, is spoken by fewer than 100 souls.

Copper eagle statue situated atop a mossy rock surrounded with dry grass.

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Anderson Valley

CERISE VINEYARD

We’re always searching for special sites and were delighted when we were finally able to begin working with the famed Cerise Vineyard in 2016. This is the first property we’ve purchased outside of Sonoma County and the location is incredible. Perched on the hills above Boonville in Mendocino County, these 26 blocks planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay cascade over elevations running from 700 to 1700ft. Steep hillsides, unforgiving terrain and a sense of the wild are all key attributes of Cerise. As we continue to pursue wines that speak of their sense of place, we look forward to learning more about this property and sharing that journey through our wines.

Cerise Vineyard sloping downward to entire Anderson Valley, with vineyards on left, golden grasses and trees on the right with the sun shining.

“The mountains are calling and I must go.” – John Muir

View of Anderson Valley in the background with Cerise Vineyard sloping up from left to right.

Starry night fading to the sunrise with two lone tractors in the forefront.

“Keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.” – Theodore Roosevelt

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Planted
1980’s, 1996, 2009
Total Acreage
386 acres of mostly native woodland, 60 planted acres
Rootstock
3309, 101-14, 110R, RG, 420A, 1616, S04
Clones
Martini, David Bruce, Pommard, Wadenswil, 114, 115, 667, 777, 828 and Wente Chardonnay
Trellising
VSP, Quad Cordon
Soils
Bearwallow-Wolfy series
Owner
Kosta Browne
Managed by
Kosta Browne & Ardzrooni Vineyard Management

Sonoma Coast

An area that overlaps with the Russian River Valley in many places and whose true qualities are similarly shaped by the ocean. Local geology can be complex here, a direct result of being located on the intersection of two tectonic plates. We find ourselves drawn to vineyards that are influenced by the ocean and consistently reflect this in the quality of the fruit they produce.

Rocky Sonoma Coast waters with beautiful backlit rocks and sky fading to orange.

Foggy day, with the Sonoma Coastline on the left and a large coastal cypress tree in the center growing toward the highway on right.

The coast is never far way

Foggy background with green pastures filled with predominantly black adult cows and one baby black cow.

A rich and diverse agricultural heritage

Blankets of fog intermittently hugging rocks and mountains around the Sonoma Coast.

Sunrise at a farm - feeding time for a herd of  black, grey and white sheep looking directly forward.

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Detour Sign

THE TOWN OF BODEGA

Made famous by Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” the town of Bodega is a picturesque location deserving of a pitstop along the Sonoma Coast. Take the time to enjoy this little town—you’ll experience incredible food from talented chefs, focused on local, seasonal brilliance.

Night in the sleepy town of Bodega. A bar & grill with American flags to the left with a red Ford truck parked in front.

A watering hole for locals and those in-the-know

Bodega Bay restaurant and bar full of men with a waitress smiling in the forefront about to pick up a pan.

Hand Painted sign nailed to a eucalyptus tree advertising BBQ oysters at the casino.

Bright white church with three stained glass windows, each reflecting a cross in the center on a clear starry night.

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Sonoma Coast

GAP’S CROWN

Located in the Sonoma Coast and heavily influenced by the Petaluma Gap, this Estate vineyard has been with us since 2006 and contributed to the 2009 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir that was Wine Spectator's #1 Wine of the Year in 2011. Steep hillsides and a variety of clones help add diversity to this vineyard whose aspects were carefully planted to encourage even sunlight exposure during the final stages of fruit ripening. The coastal influence is key at Gap’s Crown – late season fog becomes trapped and takes a little longer to burn off. The fruit is allowed to ripen a little more slowly, creating more balanced and evolved flavors.

Full view of Gap's Crown vineyard with the sun rising creating a golden glow around the hills.

Hillsides, wind, soils and clones

Downward rocky sloping view of Gap's Crown Vineyard as the sun sets.

Magnificent oak tree with Gap's Crown vineyards peeking through.

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Planted
1999, 2004, 2005
Total Acreage
144
Rootstock
3309, 101-14, 110R, RG, 420A, 1616
Clones
Swan, 667, 115, 828, 114
Trellising
VSP
Soils
Goulding Clay Loam, Raynor Clay
Owner
Price Family Vineyards
Managed by
Atlas Vineyard Management

Sonoma Coast

KANZLER

Back in 2002, Steve Kanzler believed in Kosta Browne enough to take a chance and sell us some of our first Pinot Noir. He then doubled down and became one of our early investors. At that time a largely unknown vineyard, Kanzler has gone on to become a jewel of the Sonoma Coast. A later-ripening site located just outside of Sebastopol, the vineyard holds the cool weather longer than others we work with. This brings a verve and edge to the character of the fruit, which keeps us coming back for more.

Close-up of Kanzler Vineyards located in the Sonoma Coast with coastal fir trees in the background.

Where the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast intersect

View of a clear blue sky and single birdhouse surrounded by two fir trees in Kanzler Vineyard.

Pruned oak tree pile in front Kanzler vineyard in fall.

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Planted
1996
Total Acreage
20
Rootstock
101-14
Clones
667, 115, Pommard
Trellising
VSP and Quad Cane
Soils
Gold Ridge Loam
Owner
Steve and Lynda Kanzler
Managed by
Eric Neal

Russian River Valley

There can be many differences between vineyards in this small appellation but the majority of them do share a common influence – the cooling effect that follows the Russian River inland from the Pacific coast. This fog helps keep nights cool and offers vines a respite from daytime temperatures. In turn, these diurnal temperature swings slow down ripening and promote more evolved flavors in our grapes. We work with vineyards that span a diverse and varied view into a region that many would call the heartland of California Pinot Noir.

Fog dancing over the windy Russian River surrounded by forests.

The Russian River meanders for 110 miles

A brown and yellow sign navigating toward Felta Ridge Road.

Apple tree surrounded by red apples on the ground and a full bucket of apples in front.

Slow Food USA have declared our local Gravenstein apple a heritage food and included it in the ‘Ark of Taste'

A thin dusting of fog gently lying above tree tops overlooking a vineyard in Russian River Valley.

"I firmly believe, from what I have seen, that this is the chosen spot of all this earth as far as Nature is concerned." Luther Burbank, 1875

Sun setting over the glass-like Russian River surrounded by forest.

"I firmly believe, from what I have seen, that this is the chosen spot of all this earth as far as Nature is concerned." Luther Burbank, 1875

Detour Sign

Graton

In a town tucked away from main roads, the geographical center of the Russian River Valley, you’ll find a community ranging from writer to artisan. It’s an area where local winemakers and growers take respite and enjoy some of the many popular, yet under-the-radar restaurants. During harvest, the little town is full of life and bustling.

Vintage mirror reflecting the bar of the restaurant peeking into the dining room where a couple is enjoying food.

"First we eat, then we do everything else." M.F.K. Fisher

Hands of restaurant employee stamping menus with a half-drank cup of coffee in the background.

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RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY

KEEFER

This Estate vineyard lies within Green Valley, in the southwestern corner of the Russian River Valley. Here, gently rolling hills harbor some of the coolest conditions within the appellation - fog, breezes and fresh nights help vines balance their ripening with warm afternoon sunshine. A heralded property, Keefer has been in the Kosta Browne family since 2005 and we are drawn to the terrific natural acidity and elegance we find in the grapes we farm here. Classic Goldridge soils offer Pinot Noir an ideal home.

Foggy morning sunrise amongst the vineyards and trees.

The first settlers found these soils to be perfect for apples, cherries and berries

Close up of vine trunk rising out of the dry rocky soil.

Sedimentary Goldridge soils date back 5 million years

Irrigation pond surround by foxtails, lush green vineyards in the background and densely covered mountains beyond that.

The first settlers found these soils to be perfect for apples, cherries and berries

Planted
1996
Total Acreage
20
Rootstock
5C
Clones
2A, Pom 4, 828, 115, 777
Trellising
VSP
Soils
Goldridge fine sandy loam
Owner
KB
Managed by
Sam Ausburn

RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY

GIUSTI

The Giusti family's Sonoma County roots are about as deep as you can find in California. We've made wine from their fruit since 2004 and have enjoyed a great relationship with patriarch Angelo and his kin. They farm their Forestville vineyard with uncommon attention to detail and work closely with us to fine tune their efforts in order to help us get the highest quality possible. This vineyard has slightly warmer days than others we source, developing darker fruit flavors in the grapes that grow around the old homestead.

Two tractors resting outside a barn.

150 years of farming

Worn down building sits atop the edge of a hill amongst the vineyards and redwood trees.

La Colina, the hill

Wide shot reflecting the layers of vineyards and hills of Giusti ranch.

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Planted
2000, 2007
Total Acreage
8.88
Rootstock
420A, 101-14
Clones
115, 667, 777
Trellising
VSP
Soils
Josephine Loam
Owner
Giusti Family
Managed by
Giusti Family

Russian River Valley

KOPLEN

We've been fortunate to be the only producers of Koplen Pinot Noir since its first harvest in 2001, just a few vintages into the life of Kosta Browne. This small property, tucked away in the middle reach of the appellation, is owned and farmed by ex-postmaster Dennis and his wife Lynn along with their border collies Cooper and Annie. A real character, Dennis handles almost every pass of the vineyard himself and we enjoy a truly close relationship with him and his fruit - as close as you can get to farming it yourself – but more fun.

Koplen holding a rust colored grape leaf as he looks at the vines, dog resting beside him.

Every vine has a name

Two horses in a corral next to the Koplen vineyards.

Half a dozen red handled pruning shears sit upside down in pvc pipe holder.

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Planted
1998
Total Acreage
5
Rootstock
101-14
Clones
667
Trellising
VSP
Soils
Huichica Loam
Owner
Dennis Koplen
Managed by
Dennis Koplen

RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY

COHN

One of the oldest Pinot vineyards in Sonoma County, Cohn is small but perfectly formed, tucked up near Healdsburg off West Side Road. Michael first worked with Cohn fruit in 2000, upon the recommendation of friend and mentor John Farrington. John had worked with the vineyard during his time at Williams-Selyem and we've been lucky to have some Cohn in our cellar off and on these past 15 years. Owner Joe Anderson and his team are kind enough to let us continue this relationship today.

Sun peeking through a redwood tree, illuminating the fall foliage of the vineyards in the foreground.

Complex soils on the edge of the appellation

Landscape of Cohn Vineyard located in Russian River Valley with grey-purple mountains, deep green forrest to the right side and vineayrds slowly changing color.

A family of wild turkeys wondering amongst the trees and dry brush.

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Planted
1970
Total Acreage
18
Rootstock
AXR
Clones
Masal, 828
Trellising
VSP
Soils
Josephine series loam
Owner
Joe Anderson - Benovia Winery
Managed by
Chris Kangas - Benovia Winery

Santa Lucia Highlands

Located on the eastern slopes of the coastal range that shelters the fertile Salinas Valley from Big Sur, this appellation is relatively new with the first vineyards being developed only in the 1970's. Surprisingly, this appellation is generally cooler than Russian River Valley, largely as a result of the ocean breezes and fog coming in from Monterey Bay. The vineyards are sheltered by the coastal range that limits rainfall. Pinot Noir excels on these hillsides - which is why our travels took us here.

Santa Lucia Highlands in the fall with crops changing to copper brown.

East of Eden

Large sprinklers watering the crops with light brown Santa Lucia hillside in the background.

Signs depicting two farm workers, one picking lettuce and the other is turned around surveying the land.

Monuments to agriculture by local artist John Cerney line the Salinas valley

Vigorously growing vines with the sun working ardently to break through the thick wall of clouds.

A beautifully rustic barn with a single light at night just before the sun fully goes down.

"Anything that just costs money is cheap." – John Steinbeck

"Anything that just costs money is cheap." – John Steinbeck

Detour Sign

SALINAS

Salinas is an agricultural town surrounded by fruit and vegetable growers with a comprehensive climate blended of coastal breezes and sun, that is ideal for grape-growing. There are plenty of favorite local hangouts to discover if you make the stop. The BBQ, is truly magical and worthy of a detour in and of itself.

A green and white restaurant at dusk with cars driving by.

The inside of a cluttered bar with Christmas lights around the chalk beer menu on the wall.

Plate of brisket, coleslaw, beans, Texas toast and a beer in the background.

opens every day at 11:30am – get there early

Santa Lucia Highlands

ROSELLA'S

When we first met Gary Franscioni he gave us some sage advice as a condition to buying his grapes. He said, “you've got to make good wine and pay your bills on time”. So we did as we were told and have never looked back. Gary is a farmer through and through and Rosella's, named after his wife, is testament to his commitment to quality. We only get a small portion of this vineyard, bordering lemon groves on the slopes above the fertile valley below, but what we get has an exotic, spicy quality that shines.

A beautiful fall day in Rosella's Vineyard with white birch trees on the left and golden vineyards on the right.

Meticulous farming, bordering on fanatical.

Close-up of Pinot Noir grapes hanging from the vines.

A flush lemon grove with some lemons sitting on the ground.

Meticulous farming, bordering on fanatical.

Planted
1996
Total Acreage
50
Rootstock
101-14, S04
Clones
777, 828, Pisoni
Trellising
VSP
Soils
Arroyo Seco Sandy Loam
Owner
Gary Franscioni
Managed by
Mark Pisoni

Santa Lucia Highlands

GARYS'

SLH is all about the two Garys and it is fitting they should have an eponymous vineyard. Garys' is a partnership between Gary Franscioni and Gary Pisoni. As our relationship grew, we were offered the chance to work with this unique property. Quite simply, Garys' vineyard tastes like Garys' vineyard and continues to provide us with distinctive and exceptional fruit. We only wish we could get more.

Gary Pisoni and Gary Franscioni each laughing and enjoying a glass of Pinot Noir in their eponymous vineyard.

Eponymous and utterly unique

Lush green vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands with grey-blue veiled clouds shielding the hillsides.

Oak tree with a religious alter embedded in it, with lush vineyards in the background.

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Planted
1997
Total Acreage
50
Rootstock
3309, 5C
Clones
Pisoni, 23
Trellising
VSP
Soils
Arroyo Seco Sandy Loam
Owner
Gary Pisoni & Gary Franscioni
Managed by
Mark Pisoni

Santa Lucia Highlands

PISONI

Gary Pisoni echoed his friend's guidance to us when we first met. He said, "you've got to make good wine, pay your bills on time and have a good time doing it". His energy and enthusiasm come across in the fruit he grows, you can literally taste it and we're thrilled to have access to this highly allocated vineyard. Gary farms his mountain property with a focus and intensity that is hard to match, carefully dividing the estate into small blocks that hug the contours of the hillsides. A winemaker himself, he knows what we are looking for and has become a trusted partner and friend.

Winding vineyard road, with lush vineyards in the foreground and a large mountain range in the distance.

1,300 feet elevation

Picnic table sitting on a mountain top with a view of St Lucia highlands.

View from above at dusk, yellow vineyards in the immediate view with city lights in the distance.

The floor of the Salinas Valley, between the ranges and below the foothills, is level because this used to be the bottom of a hundred-mile inlet from the sea.

The floor of the Salinas Valley, between the ranges and below the foothills, is level because this used to be the bottom of a hundred-mile inlet from the sea.

Planted
1982
Total Acreage
40
Rootstock
S04
Clones
Pisoni clone
Trellising
VSP
Soils
Decomposed Granite
Owner
Gary Pisoni
Managed by
Mark Pisoni

Detour Sign

THE TOWN OF BUELLTON

Just 30 miles north of Santa Barbara is the quaint town of Buellton, conveniently located at the junction of U.S. Route 101 and State Route 246, now famous after making its silver screen debut in the movie Sideways. You can relive the film by visiting one of the many charming eateries and must-go spots when in the area. Stretch your legs and explore the various hotels, restaurants, parks and shops.

A couple dozen mushroom skewers being brushed with olive oil as they sit atop a deep pit BBQ.

An empty restaurant is set and ready for patrons, fireplace mantel is decorated for all with pumpkins, gourds and corn.

Restaurant table with a white plate with charred artichoke on it and a fire in the background.

Our go to spot when visiting Sta. Rita Hills

Sta. Rita Hills

The quest for great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay brought us to our most southern growing region on the hillsides of Santa Rita. This appellation features one of the most defined transverse ranges on the Pacific Coast, comprised of mountains that, over time, have risen out of the ocean. Soils here limit vine vigor and crop yield and we find wines from this area have natural acidity balanced by firm structure. The unique East/West hillsides funnel ocean air to the vineyards, making this one of the world’s premium cool-climate viticulture areas for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Our adventure here is only just beginning.

View of St Rita Hills from a rocky mountain top at dusk, the sun rays beaming over the vineyards and oak trees.

Limestone hillsides from an ancient ocean

Hazy image from the setting sun over the linear vineyards with the mountains in the back as the tractor rolls in.

Wide view of the Sta. Rita Hills with a little fog hovering over distant crops that are covered in plastic.

Ocean air funnels through these transverse slopes

Winding road through the Sta.Rita Hills, clearly showing the gradient rock formation of the mountain.

Two levels of lush vineyards, one sitting on the valley floor and another at creek level with rolling mountains in the background.