Founded in 2014, Wentworth Vineyard, once a picturesque horse farm on a beautiful redwood lined ridge in Elk, CA, is an integrated organic polyculture which will, in time, require minimal external inputs to sustain farming operations.
The vineyard’s farming practices are guided by a steadfast commitment to excellence and a consciousness of the vineyard’s context within the broader ecosystem. We are determined to be responsible, attentive stewards of the land. Wentworth Vineyard’s farming methods are in accordance with organic and biodynamic principles.
Wentworth Vineyard is on a ridge-top only about 3.5 miles from the Pacific, within an evergreen forest primarily composed of Coastal Redwoods and Douglas Firs. The vineyard is at an elevation of approximately 1,200 feet on Greenwood Ridge above the village of Elk.
It is among the most Westerly vineyards in the lower 48 states (#3 last time we checked). It is part of the unique Mendocino Ridge American Viticultural Area (AVA) which is the only non-contiguous AVA. Vineyards within the appellation must be situated at a minimum elevation of 1,200 feet within close proximity to the coast.
The terroir is exceptional, owing much to the proximity of the California Coast–from which a cooling fog rolls into the valley beneath the vineyard on most days throughout the growing season–it is ideal for cool-climate expressions of certain great varietals. The fog and the coastal winds lower temperatures and bring moisture during the long dry California summer which helps nurture our Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Grüner Veltliner and allows us to get closer to our goal of dry-farming the site. The soils owe much to the Pacific as they are alluvial, composed of ancient seabed with excellent drainage and very limited top-soil. Most of the vineyard was formerly horse and cow pasture, which assisted in terms of our organic fertilization.
The site is well suited to growing Burgundian grape varietals such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. To date, we have planted approximately six acres to vines in total, predominantly Pinot Noir, with an acre of Chardonnay and slightly less than a half acre of Grüner Veltliner. The Pinot clones are diverse, and include 115, 667, 777, 828, 943, Pommard 4 and 5, Swan, and Calera. The Chardonnay is clone 95 and the Grüner Veltliner is GV 1. We have grown on two rootstocks; 101-14, and 3309 in addition to roughly one acre of self-rooted Pinot Noir vines, which we are particularly excited about!