suitability of decomposed granite for viticulture
wise villa vineyard
wise villa estate grapes
Wise Villa’s wines come from our estate grapes, meaning they are grown right here on the vines surrounding the winery. Nothing at Wise Villa happens by accident, and the Estate Vineyards are a perfect example. When Owner and Winemaker Dr. Grover C. Lee decided to plant a vineyard, he searched and researched until he found a location that would have the perfect micro-climate and soils for the wines of distinction he wanted to create.
loam & decomposed granite
The Estate Vineyards lie upon rolling hills of loam and decomposed granite that provide excellent drainage all the way down to the clay hardpan deep below. The deep, well-drained soils are perfect for viticulture, forcing the vines to send roots far and wide to obtain water and nutrients, resulting in a vine with a very strong root system.
Many farmers are mystified by the suitability of decomposed granite for viticulture, but the answer is simple. While most crops do best on rich soils, resulting in large crops, winegrowing is the opposite. The goal in winegrape growing is to produce a small amount of grapes of intense flavor, with low crop levels. Soils that are well-drained and more challenging are in fact the perfect soil for grapevines; in fact, most of the great vineyards of France are on gravel soils, limestone soils, rocky soils, or decomposed granite!
The micro-climates of Wise Villa’s Vineyards set it apart from the surrounding areas as well. The Estate Vineyards lie in an inversion layer, wherein the winter temperatures are warmer (avoiding freezes and spring frosts) and the summer temperatures are cooler (resulting in slower sugar accumulation in the grapes, obtaining richer flavors). Again, the point is not to produce large crops of sweet grapes, but to slow the sugar accumulation so that complex and rich flavors can develop in the grapes without too much sweetness. Wise Villa’s grapes are complex and rich, with low sugars resulting in low alcohols, and a nice acid balance to ensure that the wines will pair nicely with food.
35 acres & 12 varieties
The Estate Vineyards consist of 35 acres planted to 12 different varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Tempranillo, Touriga National, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. Each variety constitutes a section of the vineyard from 1 to 4 acres large, each with its own microclimate.
For example, the Pinot Noir is planted on the Northern hills of our vineyards, where the angle of the sun results in less direct sunlight and lower temperatures, producing finer flavors for this cooler-weather variety. Our Zinfandel is on Southern slopes, as it favors more sunlight and warmth. Care and forethought were taken with each planting.
paying close attention
By paying close attention to our vines, we ensure that they are in pristine condition, producing only the finest grapes. We prune the vines carefully once in early winter and again at the end of winter, keeping the vines in balance, and shoot and cluster thin during spring to ensure that we keep the vines in balance and harvest only 2-3 tons of grapes per acre. For comparison, many valley vineyards crop up to 20 tons per acre. Our low crop levels in our vineyards focus the vines’ energies into fewer grapes, so that the grapes we do harvest are of the highest intensity and quality.
From beginning to end, with forethought, care, and passion we strive to ensure that the wine in your glass is the result of the highest quality grapes, winemaking, and artistry.