Making our clone selection of Pinot Noir for the vineyard is very important. Since we are planting 2916 vines (our 2 lucky number….29 and 16) we want to be able to make wine ourselves. In many cases people have only used one clone for a wine, but most of the good wines have a combination of clones. Given our size we thought 2 would be the right number. Greg had an idea that we should barrel taste at Lynmar Winery which is about 4 miles from the house. They have many different clones that we could taste by themselves to see what we liked. As you can see from the pictures we a lot to choose from. We tasted about 20 different barrels….Joey and I don’t know how to spit so we ended up drinking quite a bit that afternoon. We particularly liked 3 varieties: Swan, Calera and 667. We thought we were set but decided to do a little more research. I called Nova Vines, the supplier of good vines in the area, and they told us that Swan and Calera could not be certified as virus free. They suggested we pick something without virus’s, especially given the small size of our vineyard. We then went to the nearest winery that grows grapes on their land, Merry Edwards. They make a lovely Pinot made entirely from the Mt Eden clone. Also, they suggested we plant a virus free clone. Joey emailed Merry directly and she thought Mt Eden with 667 would make a very nice, dark Pinot. So…..that is what we ordered. They are growing in Sacramento this summer and will be planted next April. We hope it works out and everyone likes this combination…..we have not seen a wine with only these two clones.
We have a vision that the vineyard should be an integral part of the house. The previous owners wanted privacy so they put up fences, bushes and trees. This was all very pretty but we wanted to open up the land so all 3 acres felt part of the house. The pictures here show the side yard. We started in May by taking down trees in the front of the house, on the side and back. Next we trimmed all the oaks in the field up to about 15-20 feet off the ground. When this was done, I spent about 40 hours chipping all the wood. If you have every operated a small chipper (11 hp) you know this is a big job…..I can only do it about 2 hours per day. Out in the side field is the septic system. We had to find this before we rip the land, so we rented a metal detector and found the leach field…..I still have to dig down to find it but at least I know where it is. Lastly we rented a tractor to take out the fence and stumps and smooth the land. Good pictures of that in another post.