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Our Yountville Estate Vineyard

by David on June 4, 2009

You can find our winery and estate vineyard in the heart of Napa Valley, here in the Yountville AVA. Our 9.5-acre vineyard is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, but we also grow a significant amount of Merlot along with some Cabernet Franc and a small amount of Petit Verdot. We hope you will visit our beautiful little corner of the valley often!

Goosecross EstateNapa Valley is a strange and wonderful place, perhaps in equal parts. Over the last 10 million years, massive collisions of the earth’s crust created our mountains and valleys. Repeated volcanic eruptions spewed forth rock, lava and ash, and created many of the small knolls you see as you drive through the valley. Changing sea levels sent flood waters washing in and out of the valley like the waves of the sea, depositing layer upon layer of sedimentary clay and sand of vastly different ages. These major events, in conjunction with countless minor ones, worked together to create an area of unsurpassed beauty and diversity. We live and farm in a small region that’s composed of 33 different soil profiles, and half of the soil orders that exist on the planet – a unique area that produces about 4% of California’s wine.

The rocky soil of our home vineyard is emblematic of Napa Valley’s diversity – a wondrous mélange of volcanic, basaltic stone, rhyolitic ash, alluvial materials, and Bale clay and loam with a high concentration of cobble and gravel. The rocks and gravel provide the all-important drainage essential for producing grapes of ÆROS and Goosecross caliber.

Many of the world’s most acclaimed wines come from surprisingly poor soils and our estate vineyard provides further evidence. From a distance, it appears we have two sites.

Goosecross Estate VineyardThe northeast portion of the property is extremely rocky with very poor water-holding capacity, conducive to low yields with high flavor concentration. In this part of the vineyard the vines struggle for water and nutrients, producing lower tonnage than they would in easier conditions. These small, tightly-spaced vines produce Cabernet Sauvignon of tremendous intensity and structure with polished tannins.

The southwestern portion mixes the gravel and stones with deeper loamy soils, much like the famous soils of the Rutherford and Oakville bench, renowned for the opulence of the Cabernet Sauvignon. These soils, with greater depth and water-holding capacity have been matched with low-vigor rootstock and slightly wider spacing, producing wines with great generosity of fruit and soft, supple tannins.

Geoff in the vineyardBut, upon closer examination, given the diversity of the site, our estate has been subdivided not into two, but ten vineyard blocks that differ by variety, clone, rootstock hybrid and spacing. Each section is managed and harvested as its own entity to ensure that it yields the finest-possible component for Geoff Gorsuch, our Winemaker, to work with as he tastes and re-tastes to create an impeccably-balanced, harmonious blend. For more on the selection of rootstocks and clones on our estate, please click here.

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