"Mountain soil is much better for producing wine grapes. Oh the vines would like the perfect soil, but grapes have a stronger flavor when vines must work hard to get what they really need for growing." - Martin Ray
Why are grapes grown on mountains more intense, flavorful and distinctive? Experts offer a variety of theories. Some think the "terroir" or quality of earth from which the grapes are grown, is the main reason for the distinguishing attributes. Others say it is the elevation, which exposes the vines to the atmosphere in ways promoting complete ripening and balance. Still others believe that the combination of soil and climatic conditions concentrate the grapes flavors.
Mountain fruit are the source of Martin Ray wines, including vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Napa Valley's Diamond Mountain District, Sonoma Mountain and the hillsides of the Russian River Valley.
The links below will allow you to view two Quicktime videos of our 2003 Harvest Season: "Martin Ray Winery Crush" and "Harvest on Diamond Mountain". Experience the excitement of harvest at Martin Ray Winery!
Diamond Mountain Vineyard,
Napa Valley, California
The Diamond Mountain District Vineyard was originally developed in conjunction with the University of California at Davis in the late 1890's. The soil type is an Aiken series of reddish clay loam with varying amounts of rock and cobble. This mountain top vineyard is now owned by Fred Constant. The slight variation in vineyard soils, produce distinct flavor profiles, which in turn create more complex characteristics in the berries. The average depth is three to four feet, requiring very little irrigation. The vineyard is nestled in a fir and hardwood forest on a northeastern slope between 1800 and 2100-foot elevation. Mornings are typically fog free and cool. Northwesterly winds continue to cool the vineyard throughout the day, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly. Normal yields range between two and four tons per acre. The berries tend to be smallish, concentrated and intense.
Typical Characteristics of the vineyard are cedar, anise, mineral, cassis and spice.
Sonoma Mountain Vineyards,Sonoma, California
The Sonoma Mountain Van der Kamp Vineyards are located on the Northeast slope of the Mountain. The soil is shallow, rocky and volcanic in nature. The cool breezes from the ocean to the west and the San Francisco Bay to the south allow for a longer ripening period, promoting superior flavor development. Situated at 1800 feet, the vines are above the fog line, and have outstanding air drainage. The vineyards yield grapes with deep color, firm tannins and great complexity.
Typical characteristics of vineyards are complex earth, rich cigar, balanced fruit and exotic spice.
Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards,
Santa Cruz, California
The fruits of the Cooper-Garrod Vineyards and the Fellom Ranch on Monte Bello Ridge comprise the blend for the Martin Ray Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Cooper-Garrod Vineyards has a soil composition made up of adobe clay mixed with gravel. The morning and evening fog, along the with other maritime influences from the Monterey and the San Francisco Bays, create a particularly long growing season that allows the berries to reach full maturity with concentrated color and rich flavors. On the Fellom Ranch on Monte Bello Ridge, the shallow, stony soils control vine growth, resulting in smallish berries with intense flavors, structure and deep color.