With its wild redwoods, firs and madrones poking out above a blanket of sea fog, Doc’s Ranch Vineyard is one of the most visually dramatic sites in all of California. And yet despite being only four miles from the Pacific Ocean, its elevation allows it to attain warm enough temperatures to ripen and flavor its fruit. Starting at nearly 650 feet and rising to over 1,000 feet, the site contains slopes that range from zero to over 30 degrees. This makes for interesting fruit positioning and climactic exposures that foster intense flavor developments.
Being so close to the ocean (see map) means that the vineyard gets 60 to 80 inches of rain a season. The grapevines are vulnerable to wind and weather, which is particularly true from late spring to early summer as the vines progress through bud break and flowering. Bad weather this time of year can limit or destroy newborn clusters just as they’re springing forth. But it is these rare, eclectic elements –close to the ocean, steep, and exposed – that make exceptional fruit, which in turn makes for extraordinary wines. We would rather be unsafe than make uninteresting wine.
The flavor profiles at Doc’s Ranch Vineyard are further helped by careful vine spacing and clonal selections. The spacing is dense at 7 x 3 and 7 x 4, with approximately 2,000 vines per acre to ensure that they compete for nutrients.
Four different clones of Pinot Noir are farmed, including Swan, Calera, Pommard 5 and Dijon 114. We also work with a single clone of Chardonnay 5. These clones provide an exciting mix for our winemaking partners, and are highly expressive in cool, coastal sites. The vineyard is cane pruned exclusively to give us maximum flexibility in the vineyard, and we use cover crops throughout the winter and spring months to control erosion and enhance our living soils with organic nourishment.
Finally, Doc’s Ranch Vineyard is a family-owned enterprise with a long-term commitment to good stewardship. We want to preserve this beautiful land for future generations. Therefore, we farm organically and sustainably, following the criteria set forth in the California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance. Additionally, we employ fish-friendly farming through an active conservation plan that creates and maintains beneficial habitat and management practices in and around the vineyard and all its waterways. We choose to be a leader in the organic and sustainable agriculture movement, now and for future generations.