Cohn is one of the few heritage vineyards remaining in Sonoma County, initially planted in 1970. Hemmed in by forest and affording sweeping views of the Russian River Valley, Cohn is notable for its ruddy, iron-rich soil, sometimes called “Terra Rossa.” A top layer of quartz and old riverbed stones make for excellent drainage and wines that are redolent with minerality. Farmed sustainably and with minimal irrigation, these gnarled vines produce small and compact clusters with yields of just over 1 ton per acre.
This 58-acre property is planted to 42 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the heart of the Russian River Valley in an area known as the Laguna de Santa Rosa. It sits atop a knoll that is populated by wild turkeys, jackrabbits, and hawks. Mount Saint Helena is visible to the east and the climate is influenced primarily by the regular intrusion of cooling fog from the Pacific Ocean a few miles to the west.
The combined volcanic and marine sedimentary soils and temperate climate here make for generous, approachable Pinot Noirs with aromatics of blackberries and baking spices. Chardonnays are incredibly alluring, with notes of orange blossom and nectarine. The European-style high-density planting helps achieve smaller yields from each vine, creating more intense fruit that will be vibrant and expressive.
Just three ridges inland from the Pacific Ocean, Tilton Hill pushes the boundaries of cool-climate viticulture. Due to maritime breezes and abundant fog, this site rarely reaches 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the summertime. We wait patiently for these grapes to ripen; we know they’re ready when we’re picking the last of the Gravenstein apples from the property’s ancient trees.
It’s fitting that we see bobcats at Tilton Hill because the wines from this vineyard have a wild quality to them. The marine sedimentary soil and bracing weather make for Pinot Noir redolent with sous bois (forest floor) notes of pine needles, alpine strawberries, and spice.
Owned by the Martinelli family since the 1860s and maintained by family members Carolyn Charles and her two sisters, Charlotte and Donna, Three Sisters was planted to Chardonnay back in 1980. Formerly part of the largest sheep ranch in Sonoma County. The fruit benefits from the maritime influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean which provides cool daytime breezes during bright sunny days to ensure optimal ripening and chilly evening fogs that encourage lively acidity and verve.
Winemaker Mike Sullivan grew up practicing viticulture in his family’s vineyard. Today, life has come full-circle: He can see Four Brothers from the crushpad of our winery, and he vinifies Four Brothers Grenache for Benovia.
The Sullivan family vineyard perches on a steep Sonoma Mountain slope that is sprinkled with volcanic rock. Abundant with aromatic wild herbs and pine trees, this microclimate makes a Grenache with garrigue notes reminiscent of those of France’s Rhône River Valley.
Five generations of the Martinelli family have grown grapes in California, and we are lucky to have Martinelli Winery & Vineyards as a neighbor. This property, planted in 1990, was formerly an apple orchard belonging to Lee Martinelli Sr.’s uncle Tony Bondi—hence our name for it, “La Pommeraie.” In keeping with its past purpose, Zio Tony Ranch grows grapes that make fruit-forward Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.