In 1999, after careful planning and meticulous preparation, the first grapes were planted at Cache Creek Vineyards, which is located at the southern end of Clear Lake near the High Valley American Viticultural Area. “Poppo”, his sons and his grandsons personally prepared the land for the vineyard. In 2003, Bill and Don, who manages the vineyard, began selling their fruit to wineries and grape brokers in Napa and Lake Counties, garnering a very favorable response. Assisted by Vineyard Consultant David Weiss of Bella Vista Farming Company and ranch foreman Francisco “Poncho” Medina, we focused on refining our farming practices to enhance grape quality and capture the essence of the land’s rugged terrain. Today, 47 acres of the property are planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and 11 each to Chardonnay and Petite Sirah, 3 acres to Savignon Blanc, with a single acre of Syrah. The vines are planted in three distinct blocks with an east-west orientation at elevations ranging up to 1,300 feet.
Cache Creek enjoys a high Region III climate (based on the UC Davis Heat Summation Scale) with daytime temperatures during summer hovering between 90 and 95 degrees F. At night, breezes from nearby Clear Lake reduce temperatures to between 55 and 60 degrees F., a 35-degree swing that helps preserve acidity in the grapes.
All the fruit for Cache Creek’s red wines comes from a large block of estate vines that slope gently down toward Cache Creek. They’re rooted in rocky gravel and loam soils that benefit from drainage systems channeling the region’s 30 inches of annual rainfall into several ponds on the property. The ponds also serve as water sources for waterfowl, otters, beavers, deer, elk and wild turkeys. Cache Creek’s Chardonnay grapes are grown on a more level section of the vineyard with similar soil profiles. All Cache Creek vines are trained on bilateral cordons with vertical trellising. Vineyard workers pull lateral shoots in the fruiting zone to maximize sun exposure and air flow, while experimentation with deficit irrigation aims to curtail fruit yield and berry size to further concentrate grape flavors.
Cache Creek is farmed sustainably. We are intent on preserving the property as a wildlife habitat, as our father desired. To do so, we’ve planted a variety of grasses for the elk and other animals to feed on and to attract beneficial insect predators, which minimize our use of pesticides. We also do in-row tilling to avoid the use of herbicides, and place owl boxes throughout the vineyard to provide a natural method of gopher control bringing us closer to our long-range goal converting the vineyard entirely too organic farming practices.
Our beautiful tasting room and grounds offer a wonderful opportunity for visitors traveling to and from the Mendocino Coast and the California redwoods to get off the road for an enjoyable break. Taste our world class wines, enjoy talking with our friendly staff, and select picnic items from our well stocked deli case. We look forward to having you join us soon.