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Eliza Frey & Derek Dahlen
 
October 28, 2020 | Eliza Frey & Derek Dahlen

Planting Pinot Noir

Old apple tree by new vineyard
An old apple tree and newly planted Frey organic Pinot Noir vineyard, Redwood Valley, California.

After three years of planning and preparation, the vineyard crew was busy this summer rehabilitating a historic Redwood Valley vineyard, Colony Ranch.  This land had been farmed previously by the Lolonis and Graziano families and was part of the Finnish Colony established by early immigrants to Redwood Valley in the 1800s. 

After many conversations and much thinking, we decided to plant 20 acres of Pinot Noir on this prime vineyard land.  We chose a blend of 4 clones of Pinot Noir for their variety of flavor profiles and fruit quality.Three of the clones were classic European Pinot clones: Pommard, Mariafeld and Wadenswil. These have been planted in California since the 1970’s.  The remaining quarter of the vineyard is planted to the 828 clone, an up and coming Pinot clone gaining popularity in California over the past two decades.  The blend of these four clones will yield a well balanced, nuanced field blend to make great wine

Pinot Noir is one of the longest cultivated Vitis Vinifera European winegrape varietals and has more clonal variation than any other wine grape variety, coming from selections chosen by farmers over time.  It is a versatile red wine grape that is grown in many regions in the world.  It is one of the few red grape varietals that will ripen in cool regions such as Germany and Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley.  In the Redwood Valley and Potter Valley appellations where we grow and source our Pinot Noir we get a fuller bodied, fruit forward wine with notes of blueberry, dark blue plum and spice.

Our hot summer climate allows Pinot Noir to ripen to sugar levels that cooler climates can’t attain most years.  At the same time our cool nights and large day and night temperature swings maintain good acidity and intense ripe fruit flavors to make wonderful, balanced wines.

Young Pinot Noir vine up close
Milk cartons protect the young vine from hungry rabbits for the first year. The uppermost leaves have been eaten on this one.

Rows of young Pinot Noir vines

Pinot Noir vines

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