|Platt Family Vineyard
The Platt Vineyard is near the town of Bodega, approximately 6.5 miles from the Pacific with an elevation of 600 to 800'. The areas planted are Goldridge soil series with soil pH ranging from 5.2 in the surface 12" to 4.5 at 24". The soil is very low on nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and several micro-nutrients. Soil aluminum levels exceed 200 mg/kg, which is high enough to inhibit root growth on most rootstocks.
The low soil pH and high aluminum levels were dealt with by applications of lime (dolomite) and gypsum prior to planting. Vines were planted at 3 to 4 feet apart, cane pruned and shoot thinned to 3 shoots/foot. The vineyard was planted to Chardonnay and Pinot noir on 420A and 3309C rootstocks as bench-grafts in 2003 and 2004. The vineyard was ripped with a winged ripper on the vine row to 24". By keeping the vines small and restricting crop/vine, the nutrient demands are controlled and deficiencies avoided through judicious use of fertigation.
Four years of weather data (figure 1) shows a range of degree days from 1688 (2005) to 2274 (2003) indicating a very cool climate. According to common held theories Pinot noir requires a minimum of 1800 degree days, while Chardonnay requires 2250 degree days to ripen.
By using smaller, earlier ripening, clones of Pinot noir and Chardonnay, restricting fruit load and planting small blocks, fruit can be harvested at lower degree days.
Planting in cooler climates where heat spikes do not occur and designing blocks that fit changes in soil, slope and aspect allows fruit to be harvested at uniform ripeness, often at lower Brix, thus producing lower alcohol wines.
The row direction is north to south.