Chico’s Hill is a one acre vineyard on an easterly facing slope. It has a great soil profile which is predominantly fractured rock. Fractured rock makes for great growing conditions because the rock warms the earth by the early morning sun, stimulating vine growth, and in addition, rain water penetrates the soil depth easily and drains off. The landscape is long and narrow with a 45 degree slope, and was where Julianna Martinelli’s horse, Chico, was stabled when she was a child. The rows are oriented in a north-south direction to equalize sunlight exposure on both sides of the canopy morning and afternoon. For vine training we installed a vertical trellis system with fruit wire sitting 22 inches above ground level, encouraging consistent ripening of the grape clusters. The vineyard consists solely of clone 877.
The 2019 season was overall very cool with record rainfall for Sonoma County in February. The vines however were not affected by this because they were still dormant at the time. Similar to the 2018 season, spring and summer were moderate in temperature and ripening developed gradually and under minimal stress. This year was in fact so similar to 2018 that we began harvest the same day, on September 10th. Unfortunately another wildfire hit the region at the end of October, but luckily none of our vineyards were affected. The winery and many employees were evacuated, but we were able to keep an eye on the new vintage with a skeleton crew. The quality was not impacted and we are very excited at the concentration of flavors in this vintage.