Benton-Lane grows 100% of its Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. This is because they use costly, labor intensive practices in the vineyard to make the fruit more flavorful and balanced. If they were selling their grapes, they wouldn’t incur the cost of these extra measures. So, Benton-Lane grows rather than buys which ensures a higher quality product.
Land Made for Great Wine
The vineyard was a historic, beautiful sheep ranch called Sunnymount. They learned that this name came about over 100 years ago due to Prairie Peak to the west that protected the ranch from winter storms. This mountain carves the rain clouds, sending them north and south while the ranch bathes in sun. Exposure to sun produces wine with full flavor.
The Benton-Lane vineyard is nestled in the middle of a peninsula-like outcropping of the Coastal Mountain Range on a gentle southeast slope. This aspect allows the vines to receive both the benefit of early morning sun and full exposure throughout the day. The vineyard also rests high enough so the cold night air drains down to the valley floor, which helps the vines escape harmful frosts. The vines are above the valley fog-line yet low enough to escape the strong winds at the top, both of which would adversely affect grape quality. The volcanic soils are brick red due to their high iron content and are deep and well drained, ensuring active and healthy root systems.
Care of the Vineyard
Benton-Lane has designed its own system for caring for its land which incorporates the best parts of the sustainable, organic and biodynamic methods. One aspect of this is the implementation of mycorrhizal fungi. These are fungi that chew up organic material so vine roots can assimilate the nutrients. Because bio-diversity helps the fungi to prosper, Benton-Lane’s vineyard management team planted many beneficial plants in the vineyard including crimson clover, vetch, English peas, oats, fava beans, annual rye and legumes. These plants were disked into the soil and soon the team saw the vines get healthier. The leaves became bright green, began to grow more actively and were less susceptible to disease. Learn more about how Benton-Lane cares for their vineyard here.