|Red Car Vineyard
The vineyard is located near the corner of King Ridge and Tin Barn Road, 3.5 miles from the Pacific at 1050' elevation. The vineyard was ripped with a winged ripper on the vine row to 24".
The areas planted are Goldridge soils with acidic soil pH, high levels of soluble aluminum, very low in nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and several micro-nutrients. We understand how to work with these soils and avoid the usual nutrient deficiencies. Petioles are taken at 50% bloom and veraison; tissue nutrient levels are compared to standards developed in-house that are specific as to climate, rootstock variety, clone and desired cropping level.
The vineyard is coastal and cool, but above the fog level. There is enough heat (figure 1) to easily ripen Pinot noir and, under careful viticultural management (clones, block size, rootstock, and irrigation), ripen Syrah.
The vineyard was planted to Pinot noir and Syrah at 6x3 spacing in 2006. The property is long and narrow which meant that quite a few short rows had to be planted in order to use the appropriate row direction.
Row direction is important in terms of the amount of light and heat on all aspects of the canopy. Red fruit can be 10 to 15° warmer than ambient temperature which can damage the grape skins, cause dehydration and interfere in seed ripening. Pinot noir and Syrah are especially sensitive to this type of damage, so we seek out cooler sites.
In such a site where temperatures rarely get into the high 90's, a north to south row direction gives fairly equal light to both sides of the canopy with the sun passing directly over the row at ~ 1pm.