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Vineyards Archive

We're grateful to have worked with some wonderful vineyards over the years, not all of which we continue to work with today. The reasons for this are myriad: some are no longer in the ground, some have succumbed to vine disease, others were rerouted to other wineries, while others still began to feel mismatched with our own farming and winemaking philosophies. All of them have taught us something, and for that we are always grateful. We wanted to keep a section of the site dedicated to them so when people taste wines made from them over the years they still have something to reference.


Pagani Ranch

Sonoma Valley

Pagani Ranch, with its oldest vines dating to the 1880s, is one of the most famous old vineyards in the state for a reason. It is an honor for Bedrock to receive fruit from these ancient, scant-yielding, mixed black vines. Farmed by the same family for generations, the vineyard lies on two different soil types. The first, which has more of the Sonoma Mountain ashen-grey to its hue, is where the ancient, mixed-black vines grow. The Tuscan Red Hill series soils are deeper, and abut Highway 12 as it lolls forth between Glen Ellen and Kenwood. The vines here, planted in the 1920s, include Alicante Bouschet, Zinfandel, Mourvedre and Muscadelle, some of which find their way into the Pagani Ranch Heritage Wine and the Cuvee Karatas white wine. Certainly one of the most photographed and storied vineyards in Sonoma Valley, this nearly completes the rostrum of ancient-vine plenitude Bedrock Wine Co. is lucky enough to receive from Sonoma Valley.

Grape clusters from Pagani Ranch The picking crew at Pagani Ranch, including Norma Amantite

Griffin’s Lair Vineyard

Sonoma Coast

I was still in graduate school when I tasted the first Syrah from Griffin’s Lair. It was back in 2005, and the wine was made by the inimitable Pax Mahle. I distinctly remember mentioning to my friend, as we tasted it, that “this is a Syrah that I would love to make.” At the time though I was still buried in graduate school, my legs were burning from climbing the stairs of the Ivory Tower and the thought of Bedrock Wine Co. was a mere zygote in my imagination.

It is funny how those seemingly irrational musings on a cold, winter night years ago manifested into something. Joan and Jim Griffin were among the very first that I asked, nay begged, for fruit when I started Bedrock in 2007. Alas, at that point, all the fruit was being taken. However, for two years I sent entreating emails, the thought of the great Griffin’s Lair Syrahs tasted in my life still besmirching my better senses, asking for fruit.

Vine rows at Griffin’s Lair Vineyard

"Joan and Jim Griffin were among the very first that I asked—nay, begged—for fruit when I started Bedrock in 2007."

The delightful ponies at Griffin’s Lair

Then, in the early part of 2009 I received an email from Joan Griffin saying that she might have some Syrah for me. Oh glory hallelujah! That year I got to enter the hallowed ground.

Bedrock receives Noir, 470, and 877 Syrah from the vineyard. Though the pressure is high at a place like Hudson to stand up to the incredible winemakers receiving fruit, in a way the stakes seem even higher at Griffin’s Lair. Though both vineyards have made archetypal Syrahs in the realm of my tasting experience, the Griffins hand-farm every vine. It is a tiny vineyard, and that the vines are so snug with those going to winemakers who garner my every respect, makes it incredibly special. Like the tiny plots of Chaillots or Reynards in Cornas, incredible diversity of winemaking style and excellence in execution can exist across a truly unique and amazing terroir.

I only hope that I can make a wine that might inspire the winemaking impulse in someone else on a cold winter night as Manhattan traffic roars by.

Alder Springs Vineyard

Laytonville, Mendocino

Alder Springs Vineyard, stretching across ridges of decomposing sandstone outside the remote town of Laytonville, is the magnum opus of founder Stuart Bewley. There is a reason that winemakers from all over California clamor to work with fruit from this site despite its distant location in Northern Mendocino.

Stu is one of the most thoughtful vineyard growers we have met and very little goes on at the vineyard that has not been deeply considered. Stu designed his own chevron shaped drainage systems that feed into multiple sediment pools to ensure minimal impact on fish populations in local streams. Knowing that the soil is naturally prone to erosion, Stu farms the entire vineyard without tillage—something unfathomable to many growers but paramount to ensuring fundamental sustainability of farming. He has formulated his own frost protection material. And beyond this, Stu is constantly experimenting with a dizzying array of rootstock, variety and clonal combinations. Want to see what the same clone of Syrah looks like on three different stocks side-by-side? You can find it here.

Most importantly of all, the wines from the vineyard are both unique and delicious. The Syrah we make from the site is always peppery and raw, infused with violets, spearmint and pig fat. The wines are always well-structured and promise to be long-lived. Hopefully they do justice to Stu’s vision.

The beautiful view of vines at Alder Springs Vineyard

Limerick Lane Vineyard

Russian River Valley

An old head-trained vine at Limerick Lane Vineyard

Kirschenmann Vineyard


Dry-farmed, own-rooted, and planted in 1915, Kirschenmann is owned and farmed by our dear friends Tegan and Olivia Passalacqua. Tegan, who is the farming and winemaking force behind the Turley wines along with his own Sandlands label, is probably the best farmer of head-trained vines in the state of California. The vineyard, which lies in a cool section of Lodi cradled by the Mokelumne River, makes wines of perfume and finesse. Though many think of Lodi as a very hot area, in reality Kirschenmann is cooler on most days than St. Helena and Calistoga. This, combined with the silica-rich soils and excellent, organic farming makes for a unique combination and equally delicious wine.

Old head-trained vine at Kirschenmann Vineyard

Gibson Ranch

McDowell Valley

Gibson Ranch is perhaps the most visually arresting vineyard we work with. Located in a high Mendocino Valley outside of Hopland, the vines are as wild and huge as the rest of the landscape. The oldest plantings date to the 1880s and are tended by our friend Scot Bilbro of Marietta Cellars.

Grapes going through veraison on a head-trained vine at Gibson Ranch

An old head-trained vine just before pruning at Gibson Ranch

Bedrock is fortunate to work with a couple of blocks from the ranch. We are the only ones to receive the unique field blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Peloursin, Trousseau Noir and Grenache that makes up our Gibson Ranch Heritage Wine. On top of this we receive the equally old mixture of Grenache Rouge and Gris for our two odes to the great wines of Bandol- Ode to Lucien and Ode to Lulu Rose.

Cole Ranch

Thanks to the intrepidness of our assistant winemaker Cody Rasmussen, we started working with this gorgeous vineyard in 2016. Planted in 1974, Cole Ranch is unique in that it is a monopole AVA—meaning the only vineyard in the appellation is Cole Ranch itself. Located on the road between Ukiah and Boonville in Mendocino, the ranch lies in relative isolation from other vineyards (not so much for all the cannabis grown in the surrounding hills).

Riesling grapes at Cole Ranch

Grower Archive

Too often in our industry the grower, perhaps the most critical link between a good vineyard site and a great wine, is forgotten. This is a damn shame as growers have some pretty great stories to tell. The menagerie of personalities that we work with on a constant basis provides, outside of folks loving the wine, the greatest joy of running a small winery. Some, like Dino Amantite and Frank Evangelho, are the current advocates in a string of generations taking care of their vines. Others have come to it after enjoying other careers. There is a Texan with a French mother who got buried in her beloved bikini, one of the groundbreaking female viticulturists in California, a contractor who saved a vineyard and house as only a man who knows construction can do, the son of a Napa cement truck driver, a couple of fellow second generation wine brothers, an organic guru with a penchant for quoting beat poets, and even the man who invented the wine cooler.

To bring to life this rather incredible group of people, we decided to turn to our old friend, David Darlington. David, who is a James Beard award winning author, met me as a five-year-old while writing Angel’s Visits—probably the best book ever written on Zinfandel. His most recent work, An Ideal Wine, offers a penetrating look at the generation of winemakers that oversaw the rise of California wine through the '80s and '90s. We are absolutely thrilled that he agreed to take on the project and even more excited with the result.