Earth Day has come and gone for another year, but the focus on sustainability only continues to sharpen in California wine country. That’s why we like to share the stories of wineries and grape growers who are doing their part to take care of the land so we can enjoy great California wine for generations to come.
Today, I’d like to share information on the Lasseter Family Winery estate property in Sonoma Valley — owned by Pixar animation legend John Lasseter and his wife Nancy. The estate is rich in historical significance, encompassing organically farmed vineyards and an eco-friendly cellar.
Justi Creek Vineyards, part of the stunning 95-acre ranch on the outskirts of Glen Ellen, is comprised of three adjacent parcels of land, formerly parts of Rancho Vallejo and Rancho Los Guilicos.
Flourishing under the watchful eye of vineyard manager Phil Coturri, the certified organic vineyards express the unique terroir of the historical site. Each of the vineyard blocks has its own personality, and the location of each grape variety is carefully selected for optimum quality.
The Upper Bench Blocks are 17 acres of benchland situated above the valley floor, on undulating terrain known locally as the “Glen Ellen Moguls.” The fast-draining, cobbly soils of these blocks are ideal for the red Bordeaux varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec.
The Heritage Blocks, 10 acres just west of the winery, are the warmest location on the estate. A century-old Zinfandel block gives its name to these vines, which are comprised of a classic field blend that includes eight other varieties. The balance of the blocks is being redeveloped (in traditional goblet style) to include the red Rhone varieties Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault.
The seven-acre Creekside Blocks lie on the valley floor, along the east side of Calabasas Creek. These blocks, planted in the rocky soil of an alluvial fan, also are home to Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre.
And because all are farmed sustainably, we can count on them being around — and producing healthy wine grapes and wine — for a long time.