I've thought a lot about making a Pinot Noir. The hard part for me has been finding fruit to buy that I like. There's not much Pinot Noir available for sale in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I'm also very very picky about the vineyards we'll use and making sure that they are farmed for the highest possible quality.
That's meant for the past two years the only vineyard I've been interested in has been the Schultze Family Vineyard in the Southern Santa Cruz Mountains. The Schultze's make what I think is the best Pinot Noir in the Santa Cruz Mountains from their vineyard under the Windy Oaks name. They also sell their fruit to Thomas Fogarty, David Bruce, Testerossa and Mark Alfaro. Jim Schultze is so dedicated to perfection to his vineyard that this is some of the most sought after fruit around.
Every year I call Jim and Judy and beg for fruit, and every year they call back and say, "Sorry". This year though, Jim said, "Maybe, I can give you 2 tons." So my fingers have been crossed, they'll let me know after fruit sets in June if I have a Pinot source. I ordered my barrels just in case, and then haven't thought much about it.
Then last week, through a series of connections another great source became available to me. The owners of one of the oldest and most sought after vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains called Bradley Brown at Big Basin Vineyards. They were looking for a new winemaker and vineyard manager for their vineyard. Bradley is busy this year planting more Syrah, so he referred them to me.
The vineyard is fantastic, but it was too far away for me to take care of well. At 10 acres it would mean I'd have to dedicate almost 100% of my weekend time to it and I couldn't see doing that with all the other vineyards we have (We're up to 5 we take care of, and 3 we consult at now). So, I started making frantic phone calls.
Yesterday I called back the owners and said, "Yes I think we can do it." Ted at Uvas Creek Vineyards is interested in partnering with us on the project. He's a fantastic farmer and he's about 30 miles closer than I am. We can split up the vineyard work, and then split the fruit. We still need to work out the details, but it looks like we'll have 1-2 tons of Chardonnay and 3-4 tons of Pinot Noir this year.