Saturday morning Stefania and I headed to a new site where we will help install a vineyard this winter. The site is actually close to our home, just about 1 1/2 miles away. There's a range of hills in the way though so no direct road and we end up driving about 8 miles to get to the site.
This site is in the Santa Teresa Foothills above Almaden Valley. I think this little range of hills is very exciting for grape growing. The Santa Teresa Foothills are the same small chain of volcanic hills that extends down to Morgan Hill where our Crimson clover vineyard is located. All along the chain there are a series of valleys that divide the volcanic soils of the Santa Teresa Foothills from the lift-thrust soils created by the San Andreas fault that forms the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The result is really complex and layered soils with a mix of shattered Franciscan limestone based soils and volcanic based soils often layered in the same location. That's the case at Crimson Clover. This location is more like the Uvas Creek vineyard which is also located on a south-west slope of the Santa Teresa Foothills. The volcanic soils dominate here, and there's a great band of Terra Rosa soil through the site.
If you look closely behind Stef and Joan you can see a volcanic formation of rocks. This hill was once an active vent of a volcanic system.
This picture should look a little like our label. That's Mount Uhmunum in the background with the old radar tower. The site is at about 350 feet with a southern exposure and a slope of about 10 degrees. The homeowner is going to plant Mourvedre, which we think is an exceptional grape in this location. Eventual production should be about 1 to 1 1/2 tons.
This was a very difficult site to lay out. The vineyard area is about a 1/4 acre bounded on all four sides by fencing. The problem was none of the fences run parallel or at right angles to each other. Visually as your in the vineyard this creates an effect of having the vineyard layout look off kilter. It took us a little time to settle on a layout design. Eventually we went with something that will look very nice from the patio above the vineyard. When you're down in the vineyard it will still look a little odd with end posts seemingly scattered about, but from the house it will look like straight rows running across the hill.
The drip system will be installed in a couple weeks, then Jerry will put in the end posts. We will plant in March and run wires later in the spring. I'm sure there will be more pictures to follow.