All About the Grapes
The richness of the earth truly rises up to meet your senses in our vineyards. The terroir of Herzog Wine Country fills you with the intuition that all is right with the world and with our grapes.
It’s the morning sunlight. It’s the dew on the leaves. It’s a richness of the soil. It’s the sound of your footsteps gently crunching the earth. We invite you to explore Herzog Wine Country. This is where the story begins. With the finest grapes ready to tell you their story.
The volcanic eruptions of centuries long ago blessed Lake County with a wide choice of soils: fragments of gravel, sand, tephra and even pockets of heat-retaining obsidian. The shallow mountainous soils drain freely and allow the vines to produce low yields of small berries bursting with a concentration of flavor. North from its well-known brother, Napa County, Lake County is the next great AVA in California.
The words “Napa Valley” have taken on an Eden quality in our vocabulary. Nearly everyone has been there or wants to visit this apex of American AVAs. Giving a home to 100 variations of soil (half of the world’s soil varieties) deposited by volcanic activity and erosion, such diversity allows many varietals to be grown in a relatively small area. Favored with such advantage, more than three dozen grape varieties are grown in this idyllic setting.
Sometimes overlooked, the unmatched beauty and rugged vistas of the Alexander Valley take your breath away. The valley is 22 miles long and fans out from two to seven miles. The gentle waters of the Russian River wind along the valley floor. The geography creates that perfect cradle for grapes – early morning fog, warm days and cool nights. These microclimates invite many wine grape varieties.
Russian River Valley
The ecology of the valley, created by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago and curried with marine weather, nurtures cool weather grape varietals. The volcanic ash over layers of bedrock created a sandstone of loam known as “Goldridge soil.” The appellation extends from the town of Healdsburg west to the Pacific Coast Hills. Vineyards, apple orchards, small dairies, farms and small towns rise up to meet the visitors.
With slow draining clay and loam soils, the region marries arid conditions with a nutrient-rich base. Summer days are warm here, but each afternoon the region welcomes cool breezes from San Francisco Bay that preserve acidity in the ripening fruit. Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay grapes mature in this region.
Nestled at the northern tip of the San Joaquin Valley just east of the San Francisco Bay, where the four soils begin to make their gentle ascent to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Lodi’s seductive Mediterranean climate consists of warm days and cool evenings accented by a gentle maritime wind from the Sacramento River Delta. Zinfandel reigns, as more of it is grown in Lodi than anywhere else in the world with Old Vine Zin as its specialty.
Known for the rugged beauty of Big Sur, the charm of Carmel and the lore of Pebble Beach, Monterey County is also home to 39,300 acres of wine grapes and about 75 wineries and growers. This is a growing area that requires patience and irrigation. Monterey Bay cools the region and the sandy soil thirsts for water. Patience pays off. Due to the cool growing conditions, harvest is typically two weeks later than other regions, allowing for a long season and slow fruit maturation.
Expanding more rapidly than other AVAs in California, Paso Robles is a welcome late-comer. The Santa Lucia range largely shelters Paso Robles from the fog that cools the region. Vineyards in the western region embrace both calcareous and siliceous rocky soils and daytime summer temperatures often top 90°F. Cool ocean breezes each evening cascade down the eastern mountain slopes, which maintain the grapes’ acidity. The eastern half of the AVA tends to be warmer and drier.