Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir & Syrah
From Our Vineyard In The Sky
Muns Vineyard brushes the sky on a ridge above Monterey Bay at 2600 feet. This is the highest Pinot Noir vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a prime growing region for this luscious winegrape.
We enjoy the coastal climate of the mountains, with fog lapping at our feet in the summer. The cool coastal breeze that blows off the fog and sunlight are perfect for growing premium Pinot Noir. Moderate days and cool nights, along with diligent personal attention in our 13-acre owner-operated vineyard, produces fruit with rich and complex flavors. We have blended Dijon clones 114, 115, 667 and 777 to provide a complex and well-balanced wine.
Minimal intervention in the winery allows our unique terroir to shine. Barrel aging in 30% new oak for about 16 months adds soft tannins that accentuate, but not dominate, the beautiful fruit in this special wine. The wine drinks well now and is a delicious complement with food, and will bottle-age for years to come. Enjoy ‘heaven-in-a-bottle’ from our ridge top vineyard above the bay!
The best way to bring our wines home is to order directly from us. This way you can get the vintages you want and you can benefit with a 15% discount on 6 bottles; 25% on a case (and you can mix your wine selection). We deliver locally at no charge (with a 3 bottle min. order). We also ship.
For a list of our wines, see the Wines page here. To order, see our Order page here. For even better discounts, see our Wine Club page here. See the Where to Purchase page here for a list of wine shops, wine bars and restaurants where you can enjoy our wines. Many of the wine bars sell bottles to go.
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| See Muns Vineyard videos on YouTube here: Harvest, Netting, Pruning, more .
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What’s Happening in the Vineyard: Winter
We have been having unseasonably warm weather this winter, and low rainfall (as of mid-February). We would normally anticipate budbreak on the early side in mid-March, but with the warm weather we have been having it could start earlier. We have reports that it has started already in other vineyards in the region. It is way too early! The danger is damage from cold weather that could come in later. Currently, the nights are still very cold on our ridge top and this helps to keep the vines dormant. With budbreak we will start the new 2018 vintage!
The crew is in the vineyard now starting to prune. We do two pruning passes: the first to hedge last year’s cane growth along the second wire. This makes it easier to extricate the long canes from the wires without damaging the nascent buds along the cordon. Then, they’ll come back and two-bud by hand along the cordon. Cold weather and even the occasional snow flurry do not hurt the vines during dormancy. (You can see some snow pictures on our Vineyard page here.) But once budbreak starts, frost, which can occur into April, is a big concern.
This year we are also switching a few rows from cordon to cane pruning. Instead of keeping the permanent cordon from which this year’s shoots will grow, we are cutting it off and laying down on the wire one of last year’s canes. This cane will bud out and send up shoots just like the cordon does, only this new horizontal cane will only be for this year. Then we’ll cut it off next year and lay down a new horizontal cane. Doing this helps to reduce disease by removing old growth, and it has been found to be more productive, especially in Pinot Noir. The shoots are growing off of recent cane growth instead of an old cordon. The cordons in this section of the vineyard are at least 12 years old. We’ll see how this works and may do more cane pruning next year. See our YouTube video on cane pruning here.
Winter is a time of rest – for the vines and for us. The vines go dormant during the cold winter months, and are fed a dose of nutrients after harvest to help them thrive once they come out of dormancy. For us, there are still things to be done to prepare for the coming growing season. We clean up the vineyard floor and surrounding land.
As of mid-February we have had only 12.5″ of rain (half of that in January and the other half in November). The first rains immediately greened up the cover crop. Last year by mid-February we had had 63″! Last year, however, was an extraordinarily wet winter (we had 80″ altogether!), but even so 12″ at this point is very low. Our ‘usual’ rainfall during a good rainy season is 30-40″. The 2016-2017 rains ended five years of drought in the state. But even during those drought years we had winters with a good amount of rain (35″ in 2012; 30″ in 2013; 20″ in 2014) – plenty for the vineyard. Although we need as much as we can get to replenish the ground water supplies, what we do not want is for it to rain during bloom when it can inhibit fertilization and prevent fruit formation.
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See the Events page for details.
Vineyard Tours: Tours will be scheduled depending on conducive weather this winter. See our Events page for dates & more information.
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The 2017 Harvest!
The 2017 harvest at Muns Vineyard started Sept. 1 and finished Oct. 12. Over the course of these 6 weeks we harvested 39 tons of Pinot Noir and 4 tons of Syrah picked on eight days. We started harvest in100 degree weather during the heat wave that hit Northern California early September; and finished on a very chilly autumn day in mid-October when the leaves on the vines had turned golden (and many had fallen to the vineyard floor). We had a very good crop load, and despite the heat wave we fared well thanks to healthy vines, a canopy that shades the fruit, and irrigation that minimized dehydration and helped the fruit ride through it. Despite some dehydration in some of the fruit by the last week of harvest, the grapes are juicy and delicious. We are looking forward to the wine made from this 2017 vintage!
On Sept. 1 we picked 6.75 tons for one of our winery clients. The heat wave that sat on Northern California and the Central Coast for several days drove the temps up that day to 100 degrees. It approached 90 degrees at 4am when we started. We picked another 8 tons on Sept. 5 when temps were 20-30 degrees cooler with a cool and refreshing breeze blowing up from the Bay. At dawn the coastal fog had risen and blanketed the vineyard.
The growing season. Veraison (when sugar levels in the fruit reach the point that they start to turn color) started the end of September, and was widespread during the first week of August (precipitated by some warm weather). This is about a week later than the previous year and we anticipate starting to harvest the first of September. We netted at the end of this first week to minimize bird predation. The crop load is plentiful and about as good as the banner years of 2012, 2013 and 2014 (and follows two poor years in 2015 and 2016).
As anticipated with all the rain we had this winter (85″!), the canopy is flourishing and floor management earlier in the year was a constant challenge. Ed mowed multiple times and with all the moisture in the soil the cover crop kept coming back. The crew weed whacked along and under the vines and hoed around each of them. The cover crop helps maintain healthy soils and attracts beneficial insects, but keeping cleared from under the vines helps reduce pressure from disease and pests. There has been so much mowed vegetation that it has made a nice thick mulch.
Budbreak in our vineyard is later than most in the area because of our elevation. The continued colder temperatures prolong dormancy, and this year was a couple of weeks later than usual. The buds were barely popping out as of early April but leafed out in earnest by about the second week. We had a little frost damage in the low swales where the cold air collects, which is not unusual for us in the Spring. Bloom started early in June (a couple weeks later than usual).
The 2017 vintage is looking excellent, and we have high hopes for it.
See more on our Vineyard page here.