Founder Wayne Hogue purchased 21 acres from Joe Werle in the mid seventies, planting the first vines on the steep hillsides in 1981. When Mr. Hogue planted The Terraces property, it was divided nearly equally between Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, growing both varietals in shallow volcanic loam over a deep subsoil of tufa, a pale volcanic ash that functions hydrologically in a similar manner to limestone. The main blocks of vines are terraced steeply between 300 and 400-foot elevation. The planting scheme is unique in that each terrace has two rows of vines, Zinfandel on the outside and Cabernet on the inside.
In 2001, the Crull family purchased The Terraces property, reuniting the original homestead. They also grow Petite Sirah, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Riesling on the property now. The family also owns a small house in the vineyard for making Balsamic vinegar.
The Terraces Zinfandel clone traces its roots to the vines planted on the Quarry Vineyard property in the 1800’s. This clone, known as the ‘Werle’ clone produces an open cluster with small berries, which is recognized and coveted for its intense color and distinctive aromas and flavors. The Cabernet clone was selected from Caymus and Grace Family Vineyards.
The first crop went to Caymus, but then, recalled Hogue, “Charlie Wagner said, you should be making your own wine.” The first wines produced, an ’85 Zinfandel and an ’86 Cabernet were both made at Caymus. Construction of the winery was complete in 1991, and all wines have been made by Wayne Hogue and Timm Crull since that time.
Current production of small handcrafted lots is less than 1000 cases. Shallow and wide, open top fermentors with rigorous yet gently punch down regimes contribute to the high extraction found in the wines. Both the Cabernet and the Zinfandel have won critical acclaim over the years, the 1999 Napa Valley Zinfandel having just been awarded one of Wines and Spirits Top 10 wines of the year. See Cabernet or Zinfandel tasting notes for additional reviews.
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