The Tilton Hill vineyard is our coldest estate vineyard located just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. Its vines are perched on a ridge top near the town of Freestone in the Sonoma Coast AVA.
During the heat of the summer, the ridgelines near the coast are cooled by ocean breezes that precede the pervasive marine layer. Tilton Hill rarely rises above 75-degrees in the summer and nighttime temperatures often slip into the low 50s. This cool environment is ideal for ripening Pinot Noir slowly -- achieving a near perfect balance between vibrant acids and ripe flavors.
After many backhoe pits and consultation of two soil scientists, we discovered Tilton Hill has an almost perfectly uniform sandy loam soil known as "Goldridge." This shallow and well-drained soil is ideal for growing Pinot Noir so close to the coastline. Once again, we chose to plant at a very high density, spacing vines four feet apart with five-foot rows. High density planting forces the vines to compete for water and nutrients, resulting in smaller-sized vines that produce a limited crop with more intense flavor.
Tilton Hill was planted with 11.7 acres of Pinot Noir in 2009. Benovia chose a very low vigor rootstock 420A and heirloom and Dijon selections of Pinot Noir which produce small clusters and encourage early ripening. We began producing a single vineyard Pinot Noir from this site in 2012 which will be released in Fall 2014.