Gundlach Bundschu’s 153-year-old estate vineyard is located 35 miles north of San Francisco on the southwesterly slopes of the Mayacamas Mountain Range. Located at the southernmost point in Sonoma Valley, flanked by the Carneros district to the south and Napa Valley to the east, Rhinefarm has a unique combination of steep hillsides and cool valley floor sites, allowing us to grow a broad variety of wines at a very high-quality level.
Rhinefarm’s terrain below 150-feet elevation is ideally suited for ealier-ripening, high-acid varieties. Cool air settles over the valley floor, where ancient bay waters deposited mineral-rich sediment and pockets of light stream gravel in the Huichica clay-loam soils. We focus on Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer and Chardonnay on this gently-sloping terrain, where growing conditions consistently deliver minerality and focused acidity.
Above 150 feet, the terrain is dominated by Arrowhead Mountain, and the rocky, shallow soils consist of rhyolitic volcanic ash and alluvial wash. Steep hillside blocks are planted predominantly to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, with small plantings of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Syrah and Zinfandel. Pervasive maritime breezes and long daylight exposure allow for slow, even ripening, resulting in deep color, intense flavor concentration and elegant balance in the wines.
Rhinefarms’s 320 acres are intensively and sustainably hand-farmed in 60 distinct blocks according to the specific soil, exposure, slope and vine age of the site. Each block is individually monitored and tended throughout the growing season to ensure optimal health of the vine and the vineyard, and ultimately to achieve the goals for flavor development and ripeness. Each vine is touched over a dozen times throughout the season, from suckering and shoot positioning to judicious leafing and cluster thinning to ensure slow, even ripening. Pound-per-vine targets vary by block based on vine spacing and other factors; ranch yields average two to four tons per acre.