2014 was an exceptional growing season along the far west Sonoma Coast. The winter was mild in Northern California, and the extreme coastal regions received significant rainfall in the latter part of winter and early spring. This precipitation fully saturated the soil and provided enough moisture to support our vineyards through the growing season. Signs of bud break first showed in early March and the onset of flowering commenced the last week of April. Summer was dominated by cool, sunny days with omnipresent fog just offshore. The onset of veraison was fairly widespread by the third week of July, and the continuation of moderate and sunny weather interspersed with cool fog prevailed through the end of the growing season, allowing us to bring in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of exceptional depth of flavor and finesse.
To provide more flexibility and opportunity to micro-pick each block at its optimal time, we doubled the size of our vineyard team in 2014. This allowed us to pay special attention to block variation, in terms of aspect, soil type, microclimate, cluster sizes, and clonal type, which drive fruit ripening timetables. A heat wave in August caused accelerated ripening in a shortened window, leading us to bring in over 70% of our estate fruit in a 13-day period. With more people in the vineyard, we were able to stay true to our growing and winemaking philosophy of picking at optimal ripeness and not compromising despite what Mother Nature might throw at us.
The result is an exciting vintage that reflects the best of these incredible estate vineyards.