Greatness in the bottle starts with greatness in the vineyard.
Every bottle of wine is born in the vineyard. That’s why we are so particular about the way we source grapes. The grapes must be exceptional, or no amount of knowledge, effort, time or craft will turn them into exceptional wine.
In the beginning, all of our grapes were purchased from existing vineyards, based on deals sealed with nothing but a handshake. Thirty-five years later, nearly all of those “handshake agreements” are still in place—a testament to the loyal, personal relationships our founders established with the region’s most respected grape growers. Over the years we’ve added in new sources when we find the prefect location, growing grapes in the manner we require to make amazing wine.
There is no doubt that our success was built on partnering with these growers. Some are neighbors, located right here in the Russian River Valley. Others tend vineyards in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Each has something unique to contribute; all are committed to producing wine grapes without peer.
As the popularity of our wines grew, our growers were unable to keep up with the increased demand. The next logical step was to start growing some of our own grapes.
In 1998, we purchased the Drake property in Guerneville—a riverside orchard which had once provided apples for Gerber baby foods—and started cultivating Pinot Noir grapes on the land.
In 2009, Wine Enthusiast Magazine awarded our 2007 Litton Estate Pinot Noir a score of 100 points, marking the first time a major wine publication gave a California Pinot Noir a perfect score. We take great pride that this prestigious honor went to a wine made entirely with grapes from one of our own Estate vineyards.