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.

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 Santa Rita Hills Anderson Valley Cerise Sea Ranch San Luis Obispo Paso Robles Madonna Inn Hearst Castle Big Sur The Hitching Post 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’ The Hitching Post 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.

Our most northerly vineyards.

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

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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.

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

“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.

The coast is never far way

A rich and diverse agricultural heritage

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THE CASINO

Located right next to the church made famous by Hitchcock's “The Birds”, the Casino has been a watering hole for over 135 years. Named after an original owner - you'll not find any gambling here. You will, however, experience incredible food in modest surroundings from great local chefs focused on local, seasonal brilliance. A favorite stop along the Sonoma Coast.

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

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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.

Hillsides, wind, soils and clones

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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.

Where the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast intersect

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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.

The Russian River meanders for 110 miles

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

"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

"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

UNDERWOOD

The Underwood Bar & Bistro is a favorite detour. Located in the hamlet of Graton, the geographical center of the Russian River Valley, you'll find many local winemakers and growers taking respite and finding sustenance here. During harvest, this is the place where refreshment and rumor can be found in equal measure.

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

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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.

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

Sedimentary Goldridge soils date back 5 million years

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.

150 years of farming

La Colina, the hill

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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.

Every vine has a name

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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.

Complex soils on the edge of the appellation

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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.

East of Eden

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

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

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

SALINAS CITY BBQ

Salinas is an agricultural town known surrounded by fruit and vegetable growers. One of our favorite haunts is definitely for the carnivorous however - slow smoked barbecue courtesy of the good folks at Salinas City BBQ. We were thrilled to discover the magical brisket at this welcome stop on the road south. Truly delicious and worth any excuse for a detour.

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

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.

Meticulous farming, bordering on fanatical.

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.

Eponymous and utterly unique

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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.

1,300 feet elevation

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

THE HITCHING POST II

Just 30 miles north of Santa Barbara in the town of Buellton, the aromas of red oak flames lure guests to The Hitching Post II. Making its silver screen debut in the movie Sideways, our senses would beg to differ that the grilled artichoke and filet mignon were stars way before Jack and Miles walked through the doors. Soaked in tradition and with a respect for fine local ingredients, the Hitching Post creates a style all its own and make it a must-go spot when in the area.

Our go to spot when visiting Santa Rita Hills

Our go to spot when visiting Santa Rita Hills

Santa 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.

Limestone hillsides from an ancient ocean

Ocean air funnels through these transverse slopes