Guardians: The Peterson-Deininger-Kenworthy-Burney Braintrust
Bedrock Vineyard is one of the most historically and qualitatively gilded plots of land in Sonoma Valley. Taking up 152 acres of the heart of Sonoma Valley, the vineyard occupies a large section of one of the best growing climates for grapes on earth.
Founded in 1854 by Generals William “Tecumseh” Sherman and General “Fightin’ Joe” Hooker, Bedrock Vineyard has grown grapes for over 150 years. Following the first epidemic of phylloxera in the mid-1880’s, the vineyard was replanted in 1888 by Senator George Hearst—a mining magnet, an early father of California, and the father of publisher William Randolph Hearst. It is from those 120 year old vines that the Bedrock Heirloom Wine is crafted.
Hearst’s widow eventually sold the vineyard to the California Wine Association in the early 1900’s and the vineyard produced grapes for the CWA until the passage of the Volstead Act and Prohibition. In 1934 the property was purchased by the sausage-making Parducci Family and was part of the estate vineyards of early Valley of the Moon Winery. In 1953, when relations between the Parducci family and the business partner Domenici family became acrimonious, the vineyard was split. The Parducci’s took a smaller parcel of land with the winery, while the Domenici’s took 152 acres of what was then known as “Madrone Ranch.” In 2005, the Domenici’s sold the property to our family.
It is an absolute privilege to oversee such a rich piece of Californian history. To do justice to the rich heritage of the ranch we have begun a large-scale revigoration of its soil and soul. We are actively seeking sustainable solutions to farming—including the use of a range of cover crops in lieu of fertigation, gentle handling of the soil, replanting sections of the vineyard that do not meet our rather stringent understanding of quality (we are winemakers first after all), and converting our small fleet of tractors, bobtails, and RTV’s to use biodiesel.
Photo: Old Vine Zinfandel at Night. Photo Credit: Peter Griffith