Dry-Farmed Vineyards

 

Dry-farmed vineyards do not receive any irrigation. Water held in the soils from winter precipitation provides the necessary water for vine growth. Many dry-farm growers do minimally irrigate new vines for the first 1 to 3 years of production to help establish the rootstock and the vine.

Included in this list are a few vineyards that may receive supplemental winter irrigation. In some dryer areas of CA, there are years when winter rains are insufficient to fill the soils with the necessary water to support dry-farmed vines. CAFF has spoken with growers who, depending on the year, will irrigate vines in the winter dormant period to help fill the soils.  Although these vineyards are not technically dry-farmed every year, CAFF has included them because there is no irrigation during the growing season, and growers are using valuable dry-farming techniques. If a vineyard may receive winter irrigation, it is clearly stated in the description of the vineyard.

Read our Dry Farming Fact Sheet

 

 Deaver Vineyards, Plymouth

Dry-farmed vineyards can be found throughout California. Below is a list of vineyards by area. Click the headings to link to the vineyard’s website. To learn more about wines produced from these vineyards, read our Dry-Farmed Wines list or click on the links below. If you know of additional dry-farmed vineyards, call 510-832-4625 x13 or email kendall@caff.org.

Vineyards are listed by region:

 

Mendocino County / Sonoma County / Napa County / LodiSierra Foothills Region / Contra CostaSan Benito County / San Luis Obispo County / Santa Barbara

 

 

Mendocino County

 

Mazzoni Home Ranch, Alexander Valley

This dry farmed vineyard is comprised of 8-acres  planted around 1900 and 2-acres planted in the 1990s. The vines are head trained and planted on gravely clay-loam soils. Varietals include Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Carignane. Ridge Vineyards produces a dry-farmed wine from this vineyard. Read about other dry-farmed wines from Ridge Vineyards.

 

Tollini Vineyard, Redwood Valley

Tollini Vineyard was planted just after World War II and is a head-trained and dry-farmed  Carignane  vineyard. Currently Peterson Winery makes wine from these dry farmed grapes. The vineyard is currently farmed by Alvin Tollini.

 

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Sonoma County

 

Bucklin Old Hill Ranch, Sonoma Valley

The oldest vineyard in Sonoma, Will Bucklin’s 14 acres of vines date back to the 1880’s. The vineyard is dry-farmed, head pruned, spaced 5 X 10 feet, and on St. George rootstock. Primarily Zinfandel, the other 1/3 of the vineyard is comprised of red varieties such as Petite Sirah, Grenache, Alicante Bouschet, Tempranillo, and others. Replacement vines receive water for the first year of growth. Bucklin also has 16 acres of newer vines, including a mixed red field blend and a Cabernet Sauvignon block, some of which receive irrigation. The vineyard is certified organic. His goal is to have his vineyard entirely dry-farmed. To learn more about his vineyard practices, read our Bucklin Old Hill Ranch case study. Learn about Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Zinfandel.

 

Beeson Ranch Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma

This 5-acre dry-farmed vineyard was started in the early 1800s and is one of the oldest vineyards in Sonoma. It is a field blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Alicante Bouchet, and Mouvedre, and the vines are head trained and dry farmed. For 80 years the vineyard remained in the Beeson Family, until 2004, when Perry Beeson passed away. The vineyard is currently managed by Paul Bernier. Dry Creek Vineyard produces a Beeson Ranch Zinfandel.

 

Bernier Zinyard, Dry Creek Valley

Paul Bernier is a dry-farmed grape grower in Sonoma. He currently owns or manages multiple ranches throughout Sonoma County with a total of 45 acres of vines. His home vineyard, Bernier Zinyard, consists of  Zinfandel as well as Petite Sirah planted in 1990. Vines are planted on St. George rootstock and spaced 8 X 8 feet. To learn more about his dry-farming practices, read our case study on Bernier Vineyards. Find wine produced with Bernier Zinyard fruit from Peterson Winery.  Paul Bernier also makes his own compost. Watch this video to learn about his composting system.

 

Compagni Portis, Sonoma Valley

This vineyard is 6 -acres of Gewurtzraminer, Trousseau Gris, Riesling, and other unidentified white varieties. Planted in 1954, this vineyard is dry farmed, with 8×10 spacing between vines, on Huichica Loam soils. The vineyard is certified organic and currently farmed by Phil Coturri. Bedrock Wine Co. currently produces wine from this vineyard.

 

Emeritus Vineyards, Sebastopol & Annapolis

Emeritus Vineyards is comprised of two vineyards, Hallberg Ranch in Sebastopol and William Wesley Vineyard in Annapolis. Both vineyards are dry farmed Pinot Noir planted on Goldridge Sandy Loam soils. The William Wesley Vineyard, 26 acres planted on the Sonoma Coast, receives cold night temperatures and fog coupled with warm days- this produces intense fruit. The Hallberg Ranch vineyard is 107.76 acres and was the first vineyard to be dry farmed. All the vines were originally irrigated and slowly converted over to dry farming; irrigation was used to establish the vines. Learn about the wines of Emeritus Vineyards.

 

Fredricks Vineyard, Sonoma Valley

This vineyard was planted in three periods: 1937, 1943, and 2008. The vineyard is dry farmed, certified organic, and is located 900 feet up on hillside terraces. Turley Wine Cellars produces Zinfandel wines from these grapes. Please visit the Turley Wine Cellars webpage for more information on their dry-farmed wines.

 

Pagani Ranch, Sonoma Valley 

Purchased by Felice Pagani in the 1880s, this ranch is located in Sonoma Valley. The vineyard was planted in two stages, one in the 1890s and then in 1914. The ranch has 30-acres of dry-farmed vines planted on gravelly clay loam, mainly Zinfandel and Petit Sirah. The ranch is still farmed by the Pagani family, and Ridge Vineyards has been making wine from these grapes since 1991. Read about other dry-farmed wines from Ridge Vineyards. Bedrock Wine Co. also produces wines from these grapes.

 

Sibary Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma

This 17-year old vineyard is dry farmed on a hillside and farmed by the Sibary Family and vineyard manager Paul Bernier. This vineyard is organically farmed and is a field blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignane, and Mataro. Currently Dutcher Crossing Winery and Nalle Winery produce wines from these grapes.

 

Sodini Vineyard, Russian River Valley

This vineyard was planted in 1905 and is a head trained and low cropped vineyard. This vineyard is owned by Steve Sodini but currently leased by Bedrock Wine Co. The vineyard is 17-acres of Zinfandel planted on an 8×8 foot spacing.

 

Stony Hill Vineyard, St. Helena

Fred and Eleanor McCrea purchased the 160-acre ranch in 1943 and began planting grapes, producing their first wine vintage in 1952. The ranch has northeast-facing slopes, is 700 to 1200 feet in elevation above the valley floor, and has a mild micro-climate is perfect for growing Chardonnay grapes. This dry farmed vineyard is comprised of 25-acres of Chardonnay, 10-acres of White Riesling, 3-acres of Gewürztraminer, and 1-acre of Semillon. Learn about the wines of Stony Hill Vineyard.

 

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 Rossi Ranch copy

Dry Farmed Vineyard in Rutherford, farmed by Frog’s Leap

 

Napa County

 

Dominus Estate, Historic Napanook Vineyard, Yountville

Christian Moueix  became the sole owner of this historic Napanook Vineyard in 1995, renaming it Dominus Estate. Originally from Bordeaux, France, Moueix’s father was a wine merchant and producer from Libourne, France. Moueix came to California in the 1960 to study at UC Davis, and returned in the 1980s. Currently, Dominus Estate has 103 acres of dry farmed Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. The vineyard is planted on gravelly and clay loam soils, and the vines are spaced at 9 by 4 feet. In addition to dry-farming, Dominus Estate is committed to sustainable practices such as cover cropping and erosion control to protect Hopper Creek. Click here to learn about their dry farmed wines.

 

Frog’s Leap Vineyard, Rutherford

Frank Leeds and John Williams farm and produce wine from over 200 acres of vines located in Rutherford and St. Helena. All the varieties they farm, including Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc, are dry farmed. New vines receive minimal irrigation during the first year or two of establishment. Most of their vines are on St. George rootstock, and vine spacing varies between vineyard and variety. To learn more specifics, read our Frog’s Leap Case Study or read about about Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc.

 

Hayne Vineyard, St. Helena

This vineyard is comprised of dry-farmed Zinfandel and Petit Sirah and is head trained and dry farmed. The Zinfandel vines were planted in 1902 and 1903, and the Petit Sirah in 1953. Turley Wine Cellars produces wine from these grapes, please visit the Turley Wine Cellars webpage for more information. Chase Family Cellars also produces wine from the Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel.

 

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Lodi

 

Bechtoldt Vineyard, Lodi

This vineyard was planted in 1886 and is 25-acres of Cinsault. This vineyard is head trained and the vines are planted on their own roots. The vineyard is managed by Tegan Passalacqua of Turley Wines Cellars. Please visit the Turley Wine Cellar webpage to find their dry-farmed wines or contact their tasting room.

 

Kirschenmann Vineyard, Lodi

This vineyard is owned by Tegan Passalacqua, Vineyard Manager at Turley Wine Cellars. The Zinfandel vines were planted in 1915 on the east side of the Mokelumne River AVA. The vines are head trained and dry farmed. Turley Wine Cellars produces wine from these grapes, please visit the Turley Wine Cellar webpage for more information. Carlisle Winery and Bedrock Wine Co. also produce Zinfandel wine from this vineyard.

 

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Deaver Ranch, Plymouth, CA

Sierra Foothills Region

 

Deaver Ranch and Vineyards, Plymouth

Ken Deaver farms over 250 acres of vines in the Shenandoah Valley.  All except about 10 acres of his vines are dry farmed. The age of the vines vary; the oldest vines date back to the 1860s, and the youngest were planted only 3 years ago. Vine spacing varies depending on the age of the vine, but all new vines are planted on a 8.5 X 9 spacing.  The majority of the vines are head trained Zinfandel, with smaller blocks of Petite Sirah, Mission, Alicante, Primitivo, and Sangiovese. During years of drought, vines may receive winter sprinkler irrigation, but do not receive summer irrigation. Deaver Vineyards sells the majority of the fruit to wineries, but also makes small batches of wine. Learn more about the wines at Deaver Vineyard.

 

Picnic Hill, Story Vineyard, Shenandoah Valley

The Picnic Hill block of Story Vineyard is comprised of dry-farmed and head trained Zinfandel planted in 1907. The vines are own rooted. Turley Wine Cellars currently produces wine from this block, please check their website for additional information on their dry farmed wines.

 

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Contra Costa

 

Evangelho Vineyard, Antioch

This vineyard is planted on sandy soils along the Sacramento River Delta. These vines were planted in the 1890s, are head trained and dry farmed. This vineyard is a field blend of Zinfandel, Carignane, Mourvedre, and others. Turley Wine Cellars produces wine from this vineyard, please visit their webpage for more information. Bedrock Wine Co. also produces wine from these grapes.

 

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San Benito County

 

 

DeRose Vineyards, Hollister

Pat Derose farms 100 acres of vines, 40 of which were planted before 1900. The vineyards, located in the Gabilan Mountains near Hollister, are completely dry farmed. Prior to 1990, half of the vineyard was dry farmed, since then, all the blocks have been converted. Many of the vines are trellised and planted on hillsides with deep sandy-loam soils. Older vines are on their own rootstocks. Grape varieties include: Zinfandel, Negrette, Viognier, and Cabernet Franc. The winery is also solar powered. Learn about DeRose’s wines.

 

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2014-03-11 11.29.04 copyOsgood Vineyard in March, Paso Robles

San Luis Obispo County

 

AmByth Estate, Templeton

Originally planted in 2004, this vineyard is comprised of 20 acres of dry-farmed vines and olive trees. Phillip and Mary Morwood Hart grow Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Counoise, Viogner, Marsanne, Rousanne, Grenache Blanc, Sangiovese, and Tempranillo. The vines are head pruned, planted predominately on 110R or their own rootstock, and spaced at either 10 X 10 or 12 X 12 feet. The soils at AmByth Estate are Calcareous Clay, with excellent water holding capacity. The vineyard is certified organic and Biodynamic. Learn more about AmByth Estate’s Wine or read our case study on AmByth Estate.

 

Bailey Ranch, Paso Robles

Pat and Barney Bailey planted 10 acres of dry-farmed Chenin Blanc in 1968, with additional plantings on Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon in 1970 and 1971. Later, Pat and her son David further expanded the vineyard with 9 additional acres of Zinfandel after Barney passed away. The farm also has 25 acres of organic and dry-farmed walnuts. Bailey Ranch sells fruit to Lone Madrone. for the Chenin Blanc and Bailey Ranch Zinfandel.

 

Benito Dusi Ranch, Paso Robles

Benito Dusi dry farms 40 acres of head-pruned Zinfandel. The vines vary in age, some as old at 80 years, others between 30 and 40 years old. To successfully dry farm, Dusi requires 14” of rain a year; in some years, he only receives 9 or 10” a year. In this case, he will supplement rainfall by using overhead sprinklers in the winter. His vines are spaced at 10 X 10 or 12 X 12 feet and planted on St. George rootstock. Dusi sells his grapes to Ridge Vineyards, who produce a vineyard designated Paso Robles Zinfandel.

 

Heaton Vineyards, Will’s Hill, Paso Robles

The Heaton family has farmed this 130 acre ranch since the 1880s, growing dry-land barley, hay, wheat, fruit, and walnuts. In 2004, Neil and Ginny Heaton converted a retired grain pasture into 23 acres of dry-farmed wine grapes. The Heatons grow Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Grenache Blanc, and Viognier. The vines are spaced 12 x 12 feet and are head trained. The Heatons sell wine grapes to Lone Madrone.

 

Klau Mine Vineyard, Paso Robles

In 2006, Skip Dodd and his son converted 15 acres of the Dodd Family Ranch into a dry-farmed vineyard. The ranch has been in the family since 1871. They currently grow dry-farmed Tannat, Zinfandel, Petite Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines are head trained and spaced at 12 X 12 feet. Klau Mine has sold fruit to Lone Madrone for their Dodd wine.

 

Martinelli Vineyard, Templeton 

The historic Martinelli vineyard was planted in 1921 by Amadeo Martinelli. The 9.5 acre vineyard is dry-farmed, and the vines are head trained and spaced at 10 X 10 ft. The vineyard is about 92% Zinfandel, with additional acres of Mourvede and Grenache. Within the vineyard there are cherry trees, pistachios, pears, nuts, and other wild berries. Among others, Martinelli sells grapes to Lone Madrone.

 

Osgood Vineyards, Paso Robles 

Brothers David and Toby Osgood moved onto this property in 1982 and began farming Barley. In 2001, David converted part of the land to wine grapes, planting Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines are dry-farmed and head trained. The Osgoods sell fruit to Lone Madrone, which produces and Old Hat Zinfandel and Barfandel from these grapes.

 

Pesenti Vineyard, Paso Robles

Pesenti Vineyard was planted in the 1920s and is a certified organic, head-trained, and dry-farmed vineyard. The soils are primarily limestone, and the vineyard is located on the west side of Paso Robles, giving distinctive characteristics to the Zinfandel and Petite Sirah grapes and wine. Turley Wine Cellar currently owns and produces wine from this vineyard. Please visit the Turley Wine Cellar webpage for information on their dry farmed wines.

 

Tablas Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles

Tablas Creek Vineyard is located on the west side of Paso Robles. They have 105 acres under vine, 1/4 of which is dry farmed and head pruned. These vines are space at 10 X 10 or 12 X 12 feet. Dry farmed varieties include Tannat, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Counoise, and Roussanne. The rest of the vineyard has not been irrigated during the growing season since 2009 and is trellised with a tight spacing of 8 X 3 feet. This spacing has made dry farming these blocks more difficult. To learn more about their management practices read our Tablas Creek Vineyard case study or read about their wines.

 

Wolff Vineyard, Edna Valley

Jean-Pierre Wolff dry farms 35 year old Chardonnay Vines. The vines are trellised and cane pruned, spaced 12 X 8 feet, on their own rootstocks. The vines were conventionally irrigated when he purchased the land, and it took him three years to convert to a dry farmed vineyard. He did this by deep ripping the top roots of the vines, harvesting the water from his land, and retraining the vines. His chardonnay block may receive fertigation during the growing season, which is fertilizer mixed with water, or supplemental winter irrigation if needed. The vineyard is SIP Certified. To learn more about his vineyard practices, read our Wolff Vineyard Case Study. Wolff makes an estate dry-farmed Chardonnay, but also sells his grapes to Mt. Eden, who produces a Wolff Vineyard Edna Valley Chardonnay.

 

ZinAlley, Templeton 

The 4 acre dry-farmed vineyard located in Templeton was planted in 1996 by Frank Nerelli. The vineyard is comprised entirely of head trained Zinfandel on 8 X 12 foot spacing. The vines are planted on St. George rootstock. There are no sprays, pesticides, or fertilizers used in the vineyards. The rows are mowed and cultivated with a harrow tool to remove native grasses and weeds to reduce competition for water and to seal in the moisture. The vineyard yields on average, around 4 tons per acre. Nerelli makes estate Zinfandel and Zinfandel Port. To read about his wines, click here

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 Harvest at Condor's Hope

 Harvest at Condor’s Hope, New Cuyama

Santa Barbara County

 

Condor’s Hope, New Cuyama

Condor’s Hope vineyard is comprised of 4 acres of dry farmed Zinfandel, Shiraz, Mission, Mourvedre, and Pedro Ximenez. Steve Gliessman and his family also dry-farm olives. The vines are spaced 10 X 10 feet and head pruned. The soils of Condor’s Hope are sandy clay-loam alluvium. During the first 3 or 4 years, vines receive infrequent water to help establish healthy and vigorous root systems. Read a description of Condor’s Hope dry farming practices or learn about the wines of Condor’s Hope.

 

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Updated 09-19-2014

Funding for this project is provided by the CA Department of Water Resources