Above the eastern branch of the Eel River is where one will find the Ryan Vineyard, from which we have already created a single-vineyard pinot noir and a rosé of pinot noir, with even more fruit from this site adding to the outstanding Emerald and Humboldt County pinot noirs. This site features soils short on nutrients, thereby forcing the vines to struggle and delivering low yields of smaller grapes in smaller clusters with plenty of intensity and distinction.
Perhaps our most unique vineyard site is Elk Prairie Vineyard. Resting on a ridge top at an elevation of 1200 feet, this vineyard site features own-rooted Martini clone pinot noir vines planted on a steep hillside slope with tight spacing. The resulting fruit from Elk Prairie is the last of harvest vintage after vintage, with our typical pick dates falling in late October. These grapes are the source of our coolest climate pinot noir, highlighted by lively acidity, delicate red fruits, and generous spice and mineral character.
Yet another vineyard that features the Martini clone of pinot noir, Alderpoint was planted in 1992 and has become a key vineyard source for Joseph Jewell Wines, beginning with the 2013 vintage. With shale-like soils and positioned 500 feet above the middle fork of the Eel River, this vineyard also has extremely low yields, often registering at less than 2 tons per acre. The cooling influence of the river and the stony soils are essential in the development of flavors and textures that have become the signature of the wines from Alderpoint.
We first became familiar with the fruit of Hallberg through our work at Gary Farrell. When the opportunity presented itself for us to source grapes from this highly enviable site in 2010, we jumped at the chance to interpret this gorgeous terroir through the lens of Joseph Jewell Wines. With Goldridge soil and a consistent, gentle slope with prime exposure on the cusp of Green Valley, Hallberg is farmed impeccably by Kirk Lokka. Of special note, the vineyard is dry farmed, meaning that Lokka foregoes irrigation in favor of encouraging the vines to drive their roots deep into the earth in search of precious nourishment, which enhances the vigor of the plants and translates to bolder, more complex fruit.
John Bucher has made quite a name for himself as a winegrower in the Russian River Valley, with the likes of Williams Selyem lobbying for fruit annually from his Westside Road estate that overlooks the Russian River. With neighbors the likes of Rochioli, it is easy to understand why the grapes from Bucher Vineyard are held in such high regard. We began sourcing fruit from this estate in 2014 from a steep hillside block rich in Arbuckle gravel loam soil, providing for excellent drainage and exposure–both of which are vital to the crafting of elegant and nuanced pinot noir.
If Joseph Jewell Wines has a “home” vineyard, it would be the incredibly diverse and beautiful Starscape Vineyard, which is just down the road from our tasting room in Forestville. Located in the Middle Reach neighborhood of the Russian River Valley AVA, Starscape enjoys the close company of legendary vineyards such as Kistler and Ritchie. From Starscape, we source both chardonnay and pinot noir, which both thrive in this vineyard that rests in a crook where the Russian River turns west towards the Pacific Ocean. This special topography creates a perfect pathway for the coastal fog to funnel into the vineyard, providing cooler evening and early morning temperatures that shape the vibrant acidity of the wines from Starscape. With 13 different clones of pinot noir and five clones of chardonnay, Starscape provides us with all the tools we need to craft singular wines of place. While we have worked with the grapes of Starscape since 2008 (when it was known as Floodgate), it was in 2014 when we started crafting our Old Girls Martini Clone Pinot Noir from a block of vines that were among the first pinot noir planted in the Russian River Valley (1971).
This steeply terraced, west-facing hillside vineyard is located at the eastern perimeter of the Russian River Valley in the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains. Rocky volcanic soils, cool morning fog, and warm sunny afternoons make this site one of the most extreme chardonnay sites in the region, with the resulting fruit displaying bright acidity and enchanting minerality. Owned by Les and Jo Lesniak and farmed in collaboration with Marcelo Chavez, the vineyard was planted in 1990 to UC Davis clones 4 and 5. The fully mature vines are producing elegant, nuanced fruit with a classic range of aromatics and flavors that are bridge the gap between the Old World and New World stylings of chardonnay.
Resting majestically 1000 feet above sea level at the top of Bradford Mountain, the Grist Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley is where we source our award-winning zinfandel. The vineyard, planted in 1974, consists of red volcanic soils and receives lots of direct sunlight, which gives the grapes grown here mineral complexity and deceptive intensity. The property is owned and farmed by the Hambrecht. In order to ensure even ripening, which is difficult with zinfandel, Warren regularly drops unripe clusters and maintains the crop production to a miserly two tons per acre, which ensures overall quality.
Someone once said that “good fences make good neighbors,” but we have found that great vines make better neighbors! The 800 Vines Vineyard sits just feet from Adrian’s backdoor and is our newest Russian River Valley site. With Goldridge soil and low-yielding vines, this tiny plot produces fruit that packs a lively punch.