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About the Vineyards

In the early 1980’s Richard “Buddy” Dinner planted vineyards on Rocky Hill Farm.  These eponymous vineyards are located on the northeastern face of Sonoma Mountain between 600’ – 800’ elevation, where cool maritime breezes funnel the gap between Bennett Peak and Sonoma Mountain bathing the vineyards in a temperate climate, one that is perfect for slowly and fully ripening a wide range of grape varietals.  Many evenings the summer fog rolls through the gap, chilling the fruit and maintaining natural acidity, while the warm days accumulate sugars and enhance physiological maturity.   The vines are meticulously farmed to achieve balance and a true expression of what each vintage has to offer. The vineyard is naturally farmed within a diverse ecology using the organic soil building processes practiced by viticulturist Joe Votek during his 25 years of mountain farming.  The soils are Sonoma Volcanics, born of the materials from volcanic tuffs mixed with uplifted river sediments and metamorphosed basic rock. They are diverse and include well drained Goulding cobbley clay loams, and Spreckels loam.

Chardonnay was the first varietal planted in the vineyards (the background image is Richard Dinner Vineyards' Chardonnay lot). Our Chardonnay continues to produce top flight wines with a full and round fruit profile, brought on by a growing season of mild days and cool nights. The Richard Dinner Vineyard Chardonnay has been Paul Hobbs’ flagship Chardonnay since the early 90's.   Merlot and Syrah have  grown on the property since the ‘90’s.  Both varieties thrive in the mineral rich volcanic soils and the vines produce deep, dark fruit.  There are three clones of Merlot, providing a diversity of  flavors.  The low yielding block of Syrah highlights the best attributes of a cool climate Syrah: fruit driven and fleshy.  More recently we have planted and cultivated 2 clones of Malbec. The first crop was harvested in 2006.  The jammy, grapey quality of this initial wine promises to evolve into something special.