Our Story In A Bottle
The Epitome of the Russian River Valley
Shane Finely, Winemaker
The opportunity to work with 40-year-old Pinot Noir vines is extremely rare. The low-yielding and gnarly vines struggle each year to ripen the grapes, but in the end the Pinot Noir that arrives in the winery is impeccable.
Our Old Vines block produces wines of pure red fruit character and grace. As such, we endeavor to use fermentation techniques that highlight these qualities.
Our punch-down regime is usually more delicate during primary fermentation so we do not over-extract the wine. We do not use any whole cluster fermentation because we do not want to interfere with the bright red fruit characteristics. When choosing barrels, we match light and medium toast French oak with the Old Vines to create an integrated and complimentary oak profile. Finally, we age the Old Vines for 15 months to allow the intense core to evolve into its fullest expression.
In the end, the Old Vines cuvée is a testament to the history, as well as the future, of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
Jason Saling, Vineyard Manager
The vines have been converted to Cane pruning from the ancient cordons that were covered in moss and lichen and since so doing have been very happy to produce abundant, fertile, flowering clusters. They have large and expansive root systems that quite evidently fill the entire soil profile. While soil moisture isn’t overly abundant, the vines have little to now competition, except their neighboring vines, for water and soil nutrients. Therefore, we can still dry farm these vines 40 years later.
However, given their age, we thin aggressively and approximately 40% of the fruit is dropped each year to yield an average of 2.5 tons per acre.
In The Beginning…
Lynn Fritz, Proprietor
What is now called the ‘Old Vines Block’ was originally planted in 1974 by Stan Atkinson, the well-known CBS News Anchor who was the prior owner of Quail Hill Ranch. Since he decided to dry farm his vineyard, he used St. George rootstock which is designed for such use and was able to persuade Joseph Swan to give him some of his best Swan Clone bud wood.
The original purchasers of the fruit were Merry Edwards, when she was at Matanzas Creek, and Tony Soter at Étude.
We farmed the vineyard since we purchased the property in 1980, and after 14 years of witnessing the spectacular results that Merry and Tony were able to produce with our fruit, we decided to build Lynmar Winery and have used this block as a key part of our wine program for the past 20 years.
In essence Lynmar Estate began because of this iconic block in our vineyard that now is home to 14 clones of Pinot Noir.