Climate & Soil
It has long been recognized that quality, in part, comes from working at the edge, where the subtlety in the expression of the vineyard can be identified. The purity of this expression is reached when man and nature work together in partnership so that finesse and flavor precision is paramount and the benefits outweigh its inconveniences.
“Pinot Noir exhibits one of the most narrow climatic niches for premium quality and production, growing season average temperatures range from ~14-16°C (57-61°F) and ~1000-1500°C (1800-2700°F) growing degree days” according to Greg Jones Ph.D., Dept. of Environmental Studies at Southern Oregon University, presented at the ASEV Joint Burgundy-California-Oregon Symposium in 2008. Climate is obviously critical, especially for Pinot Noir.
Soil Descriptions per National Cooperative Soil Survey
The Arnold series consists of deep, somewhat excessively drained soils that formed in material weathered from soft sandstone. Arnold soils are on hills and uplands at elevations of 100 to 2500 feet and have slopes of 9 to 75 percent. The climate is dry subhumid mesothermal with warm dry somewhat foggy summers and cool moist winters. Mean annual precipitation is 12 to 23 inches. Snow is very rare. Average annual temperature is 57 degrees to 62 degrees F.; average January temperature is about 51 degrees F.; average July temperature is about 63 degrees F. The frost-free season is about 175 to 330 days. The mean annual precipitation is about 16 inches.
The Marina soils are gently sloping to moderately steep and are on short rolling dune-like slopes at elevations of 100 to 700 feet. They formed in old sand dunes near the coast. The climate is dry subhumid mesothermal with dry somewhat foggy summers and cool moist winters. Mean annual precipitation is 12 to 16 inches. Average January temperature is 50 degrees to 55 degrees F., average July temperature is 62 degrees to 67 degrees F., and mean annual temperature is 58 degrees to 61 degrees F. The freeze-free season is 300 to 350 days.
There are other elements to climate beside temperature such as wind, precipitation, solar radiation, and humidity that impact the growth of plants. At Duvarita, wind coming in through the Lompoc valley is one of the most dominate factors. While the wind feels cool, our solar radiation is strong as such the hottest part of our days in between late morning to early afternoon before the breezes start up. The soil absorbs a lot of the heat which causes increase evaporation while the winds can reduce the vine’s respiration to conserve its water which in turn slows down its photosynthesis.
There is also more to soil than its physical and chemical nature. It is becoming more and more evident that the biology in the dirt makes a world of difference. In a handful of soil, there should be as many living things as people on earth. We try to provide place for everything to thrive, except the gophers.