Van der Kamp Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain

Founded by Martin and Dixie Van Der Kamp, and lovingly managed by their son, Ulysses Van Der Kamp, following a sustainable farming philosophy, the Van der Kamp vineyard boasts some of the oldest Pinot Noir Grapes in California, and some of the greatest single vineyard clonal diversity. It is also the highest vineyard on Sonoma Mountain, being between 1400 and 1800 feet in elevation.

Manchester Ridge, Mendocino County

Mendocino Ridge AVA in Mendocino County is a non contiguous set of ridge-tops comprised of vineyards perched at least 1,200 feet or more above Anderson Valley, and within 10 miles of the Pacific Ocean. It is currently California’s only non contiguous AVA. Because of the elevation, the vineyards are above the threat of frost and cover of fog, allowing grapes to bath in the sun throughout the day. Proximity to the Pacific Ocean means cooling afternoon breezes that allow temperatures to drop fast, maintaining the grape's natural acidity. Unlike the alluvial soils of the Anderson Valley floor, these ridge tops were originally covered with timber, leaving behind well drained soils high in acid. This produces intense well structured wines, suitable for extended aging.


"Making high-elevation wines takes a lot of time and patience. Van Der Kamp Vineyard is at around 1,400 ft and Manchester Ridge is at 2,000 ft. Both vineyards have very low yields and produce highly concentrated wines with natural acidity but also very muscular tannins that can overwhelm the subtle expressiveness of Pinot Noir. Because I believe so strongly in resolving those tannins till they are silky smooth and perfectly integrated before bottling, I aged the wines a full 2 ½ years in barrel which is 18 months longer than most Pinot Noirs. This additional time in barrel has really paid off, giving the wines not only silky tannins but also greatly enhanced aromatics, intensity, character and complexity uncommon in most other wines." - Deborah Bennett