Running Fence Vineyard
In 2008, Occidental purchased our 250-acre Bodega Ridge property, which lies on the same ridge as Bodega Headlands and clearly overlooks the Pacific. In 2012, Occidental began planting 65 additional acres of pinot noir on this property. Bodega Ridge comprises approximately thirty discrete vineyard blocks based primarily on the water-holding capacity of the soil. Each block will be farmed and harvested separately and then fermented in its own tank. In the coming years as the vineyard matures, our focus will be to identify the unique expressions of each section of vineyard given the wide diversity of soils, slope, and exposure throughout the property.
The soils are similar to the highly varied, fractured sandstone soils found in Bodega Headlands, but are overall more gravelly with less water holding capacity – ideal for growing pinot noir.
The rootstock we chose that best suits our soils and growing conditions was Riparia Gloire. Although seldom used in California, it was selected because it is the most devigorating rootstock available, has the shortest vegetative cycle, and promotes the earliest ripening of its fruit – a critical factor in farming vineyards in marginal coastal sites.
Currently, we are pruning the vineyard much as they do in Burgundy, using a single cane and one, two-bud renewal spur. We are also experimenting with establishing different cover crops that will compete with the vines for water and nutrients early in the growing season without weakening them later on when they are ripening their fruit. Our goal is a self-limiting vineyard in natural balance, with yields averaging approximately two pounds of fruit per vine.
In 2012, Occidental began building a winery in the middle of the new vineyards. The winery was completed in time for the 2013 harvest.
Occidental began to produce a single-vineyard bottling from the lower level of the property in 2016 with the first vintage of the Running Fence Vineyard Cuvée Catherine and another single-vineyard bottling from the upper level of the ranch in 2019, which is the Bodega Ridge Vineyard bottling.