The heart of VML Winery is a collection of small vineyards nestled in the Russian River Valley. Great care is taken to assure that each wine’s flavor and texture express a sense of place. We are keenly attentive to the varied microclimates and soils of these prized, independently owned farms.
The spectrum of terroir leads us from warm inland vineyards that yield spicy rich fruit, to the balanced central zone’s delicate layers and bright notes, and on to cooler coastal land where floral and soil-driven flavors abound.
Our 20-acre estate farm, shared with sister winery Truett Hurst, is home to wildlife, farm animals, and beneficial insects. It's certified biodynamic by Demeter International. VML strives to lead by example, illustrating ancient and alternative farming methods. At the same time, we source grapes from boutique growers across a range of farming practices – primarily sustainable – from certified organic to more conventional.
Our wines begin their journey as grapes in the Russian River appellation, and after bottling they come upstream to be discovered at our beautiful Dry Creek Valley tasting room. This gem of a property features an endangered fish habitat, and Dry Creek itself burbling just feet away from visitors. Particularly important to club members is our Secret Garden.
“A seriously little vineyard. Maybe three acres if you count the tractor turnarounds. The owner is emphatic that it be farmed organically – yay!”
“Love at first sight. It’s at the far edges of the grape-growing region along a coastal ridgeline. I used to drive by this vineyard and think ‘mine, mine, mine’ but the sign was outdated and the gate locked. Then one harvest, a vineyard manager friend called me and said he had some fairly unripe merlot that needed a home. When he gave me the address my jaw dropped. I said, ‘We’ll take it, but you have to graft it to pinot and chardonnay next year and make it mine.’ It’s always a tough site but when it’s right, it’s really right.”
“A fantastic selection of rare pinot noir clones here yield such unique flavors. We like the Jackson 9 and 828 – very thick skinned so they hold up to the cold, wet mornings in this coastal spot.”
“This is in the magic corridor: Green Valley. The quiet strip of Highway 116 between Sebastopol and Forestville is home to some of my favorite vineyards.”
“You have a floodplain that sweeps up against rolling hills. The lower-lying grapevines usually spend a few days completely under water in the winter. Conventional wisdom would be that the best fruit comes from the hillsides where the soil is better drained. However, the flats makes really interesting wines too – in part because the soil is so impoverished from the flooding.”
“A labor of love. All the water has to be trucked up the hillside, so any irrigation is considered carefully. The berries are small and concentrated from having received so little. I love that power, contrasted with the whimsical perfume of the 777 Dijon clone.”