When walking through Emeritus Vineyards’ Hallberg Ranch, a 110 acre Pinot Noir vineyard near Sebastopol, the quote from famed Italian Astronomer/Philosopher Galileo Galilei instantly flashed through my mind. “Wine is sunlight, held together by water”. Of course, what else could wine possibly be? And this renown Pinot Noir vineyard was certainly living proof!
The vines danced in the wind. And, as if on key, tiny clusters of flowers were forming to signal the start of the grape growing season. Interestingly, Vinifera grapes are self-pollinating and due to the close proximity of the flower clusters, there is no need for bees or other insects to aid with fertilization.
Within a few short weeks, small berries are formed which is referred to as fruit set. The entire growing process from bud break to verasion (a french word for the onset of ripening or color change) is approximately 100 days, depending on the grape varietal and the wine region.
Hallberg Ranch vineyards are planted on the coveted Goldridge soil, composed of one to four feet of sandy loam underlain by Los Osos clay.
All three Emeritus vineyards, are sustainably and organically dry-farmed, which helps the grapes to achieve full ripeness without excess sugars and extracted flavors. Additionally, a cover crop of mustard is planted between the vines to aid in moisture retention from the morning fog and to harbor beneficial insects.