The Ventana Vineyard is located in the Arroyo Seco terrior of Monterey County.
About our Terrior:
“Terroir” is the French word literally meaning “territory.” In winemaking today, the term refers to the exact conditions of a vineyard, including weather, soil, and vines.
Today the Salinas Valley and surrounding area are considered ideal for growing wine grapes full of flavor. Arroyo Seco AVA (American Viticultural Area) is one of the prime AVAs in the Salinas Valley. The very cool water temperatures found year round in the Monterey Bay have a vast effect on the weather patterns in the Salinas Valley. As the valley heats up during the day, the cool air is drawn in from the bay, causing afternoon temperatures to drop and wind speeds to increase. Arroyo Seco is in the middle of a summer fog pattern that cools the vineyard and shrouds it from about 4PM until 10AM the following day. These lower temperatures allow grapes to store the sugars at a much slower rate, creating an intensity and “purity” of the flavors. Red wines from this region demonstrate elegance and grace as opposed to the “power” and higher alcohol found in warmer regions.
Long ago the Arroyo Seco River cut a deep groove in its travels to join the Salinas River. Subsequently, it began to fill up its previous cut with alluvial gravel, rock, sand, and some silt. The Ventana Vineyard is planted on that alluvial deposit, enjoying drainage to, nominally, ninety feet or so, low nutritional characteristics, pure water, and the benefits of sun reflecting benefits of stones. The rocky “soil” creates very difficult farming situations and is very abusive to equipment. The soil has a very low moisture holding capacity. These tough farming conditions and rough looking soil actually help aid in the development of superior flavors in the fruit and thus in the wine. It slows the vigor of the wines and allows the fruit to develop more slowly which intensifies the flavor.
Our Vineyard rows are very close together, 6 feet apart and our vines are very close to each other within the row. The distance between the vines within the row varies a small amount by variety and location. The majority are 3 1/2 feet apart between vines resulting in 2074 vines per acre. Larger-cluster and /or more vigorous varieties are at 4 to 4 1/2 feet between vines resulting in a range of 1815 to 1613 per acre. This allows the vineyard to grow more tons of fruit per acre, but more importantly, the proximity of vines ensures that the expectation of production from each vine is less. This lesser expectation allows each vine to “concentrate” on its manageable load and to have fully ripe, intense flavors that are found in the best wines.