Sonoma, CA (PRWEB) October 26, 2012
Health Care entrepreneur develops a cult-like hillside vineyard growing ultra-premium Pinot Noir grapes in the Sonoma Coast Appellation. Robert Dahut and his wife Jennifer, who have been health care executives in the Bay Area, started planting their vineyard in 2006 on top of the ridge of Sonoma Mountain. The vineyard sits above the clouds at 1,600 feet of elevation in an area known for its cool winters and warm summers. The area is subject to a coastal influence that is often accompanied by fog. The inherent contradiction of long hours of sunshine coupled with the extreme cooling effect of the fog which races in from the Pacific, produces a rich, ripe Pinot Noir.
The hillside vineyard has an excessively rocky volcanic terrain with a pinch of dark rich soils which barely covers the rocks. Vines thrive in this rocky environment; however, the rocky terrain has brought many challenges to their farming practices. The hillside vineyard row spacing is 8x3 giving them 1,815 vines per acre using a VSP trellis system which is high density planting. Robert worked with Paul Sloan from Small Vines on their clone selection. They are using Calera, Swan 777, 828, 115 and 459 all of which produce amazing clusters with intense flavors which wine makers strive for in making ultra-premium Pinot Noir.
“What an amazing journey this has been.” states Robert. “When Jennifer and I first started to develop the site for our vineyard, my father had been recently diagnosed with Leukemia and soon thereafter with Lewy Body disease. The vineyard became a motivator for my father to set goals so he would be able to see the fruits of our labor. Even though due to his condition, he is no longer able to visit our vineyard, we continue to engage him by taking photos and videos of the progress we have made in the vineyard. It’s been five years of perfecting our farming practices, working on steeply terraced rows and focusing on an overall balance of the vineyard. We have been very fortunate to have Steve Bell from Growing Excellence to work with us the last couple of years as our vineyard consultant. Steve has helped us with our soil nutrients, our spray program and with the development of our sustainable farming practices.”
“Our focus has always been quality over quantity in our vineyard” says Robert. “We signed an exclusive contract with Flowers winery, which is a high end boutique winery. They bought all our fruit for their 2012 Sonoma Coast label. Jennifer and I are very excited to be working with their winery. They produce some of the best Pinot Noir.” Matt Osgood, the Viticulture Director of Flower’s winery, stated “When I first toured the vineyard I was intrigued to explore its potential. Higher elevation means more interesting soils. I seek really rocky sites, Pinot Noir has shown to grow in this terrain better than any other varietal. The higher elevation provides a lot of coastal influence and rocky soils that will express a very similar profile to our own vineyard which is located on the extreme Sonoma Coast. We are really excited to see the potential of this young but interesting vineyard site.”
Robert’s back ground is not from viticulture or farming it really started with a dream and a passion to do something great with their property for which they would be proud of. They are surrounded by world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards so they knew they had the correct soils and weather conditions to grow premium Pinot Noir. The Dahut’s treat their vines with loving care and strive to be good stewards of the land and the environment, believing what makes for a great place to live also produces the highest quality grapes.
Robert stated, “My father’s wish was to someday have the opportunity to taste our wine. That day did happen in July of this year which was great moment for the both of us! What I have learned in the vineyard is growing grapes is no different than running a great business enterprise. It always takes hard work, dedication and a lot of passion! Our plans are sighted now for future planting in our vineyard due to high demand of our fruit and farming practices.”