Our Winegrowing Partner
"Our first priority is healthy vines and preserving the land." - Glen and Pamela Gunsalus
We are proud to partner with winegrowers Glen and Pamela Gunsalus who grow the premium grapes used in our vineyard designated Ron Rubin Gunsalus Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Green Valley of Russian River Valley.
With multiple research, teaching and consulting careers behind them, Glen and Pamela Gunsalus set out to plant a 10-acre hillside vineyard located west of Graton in Sonoma County’s Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA. Their goals were to plant the right vines in the best location, make the vineyard sustainable, preserve their land and environment, and maintain good wildlife habitat.
Location & Exposure: Located on the northwest side of Mount Pisgah and bordered to the north by Green Valley Creek, our vineyard varies in elevation from 180 to 300 feet above sea level with west to northwest facing slopes averaging 15 percent.
Soils: The soils are specific to a small area northwest of Sebastopol—Goldridge and West Sebastopol loam. The soil profile varies across the 10-acre vineyard from deep, black loamy soil to shallower loam and sandy/clay structures. Based on soil analysis prior to planting the vineyard, steps were taken to adjust the soil (which is naturally acidic) to a more neutral pH and to replace soil micronutrients. These micronutrients had leached out over the years from the original planting of apple orchards which have since been replaced with grape vines.
Vines & Clones: The Gunsalus’ planted four Dijon Pinot Noir clones—667, 777, 115 and 114—on two low/moderate vigor rootstocks—Riparia Gloire and MG 101-14—to match soil types and moisture, and to take advantage of the varying microclimates across this vineyard.
Size & Layout: The area planted with vines is slightly over 10 acres and is divided into ten 1-acre blocks. The blocks were laid out to optimize uniformity of soil consistency, slope and exposure within a block, and to enable individualized irrigation regimes. The vine rows are oriented north-east/south-west—30 degrees off north/south—to optimize morning sun exposure and limit fruit-burn from the afternoon summer sun. Vines were planted with 4 feet between vines and 7 feet between rows.
Trellis System: Gunsalus Vineyard’s vines are caned-pruned—two 2-foot canes per mature vine—with a target of 4 – 5lbs of fruit per vine. Canopy management is handled using a vertical shoot positioning (VSP) trellis system.
Farming Method: The Gunsalus’ farming approach is to be economically and environmentally sustainable using best management and least invasive practices wherever applicable. Most vineyard tasks are done by hand—pruning, canopy management, and control of soil erosion, weeds, gophers and other pests. Glen and Pamela work with consultants for integrated pest management (IPM) and for aerial imaging to identify vine vigor across the vineyard. Their spray program to control vine diseases (powdery mildew and botrytis) uses new/emerging soft materials and is implemented by their vineyard management company.
Climate: The climate is specific to the small Green Valley of Russian River Valley area bordering the coastal range. The Pacific Ocean together with the Russian River and the San Francisco Bay moderate the temperatures and influence the fog, which follows hills to the north, east and west of our vineyard. The temperatures range from an average daily high of 85F to a low of 50F during the summer and fall, and from 55F/35F (high/low) in the winter and spring months. The rainfall, which occurs between November and April, averages 42 inches per year.
Throughout the vineyard there are multiple microclimates. Temperatures can vary 4 –10 degrees from the top to the bottom of the vineyard with the bottom blocks having the widest swings. A central weather station continuously monitors and records air temperature, humidity, wind velocity and rainfall. Soil moisture is influenced by several underground springs/water flows.