This 20 acre south-facing vineyard is located northeast of Cloverdale in the Alexander Valley Appellation from 2,400' to 2,600' in elevation. It is owned by Charles and Corinne Reichel and is part of a 400 acre ranch that was originally purchased in 1948 by Corinne's grandfather.
Fertilizers and chemicals are used only when necessary in measured amounts. There are ample wild animal corridors and easy access to water outside the perimeter of the vineyard.
Our cultural practices bring together our family’s grape-growing philosophy. We limit exposure to the afternoon sun. We irrigate only when needed and our no-till practices, along with the use of rubber-tired tractors, allow the soil to be left undisturbed in the vineyard. In summary, the philosophy is to allow nature to give us the best quality wine grapes by introducing what is necessary only when it is necessary. We provide the framework for the sun, the soil and the plants to accomplish their jobs.
This is a no-till vineyard, allowing us to keep the top-soil in the vineyard, instead of losing it to the valley below. Winter erosion control is accomplished by slowing the water down and extracting it from the vineyard along terraces, through underground drains, and above-ground diversion ditches.
Being high in the mountains, the grapevines are not exposed
to the springtime frost temperatures that sink to the valley below. The
summer daily temperature range does not see the extremes that occur on
the valley floor. The nights are not as cool, as the warmth of the valley
rises after sunset. Similarly, during the morning hours, the coolness
from the valley rises up the mountain to mix with the daytime warmth from
the sun. These effects are ever so slight, allowing the fruit to mature
more evenly as it is not exposed to the daytime heat spikes or nighttime
The vineyard is Cabernet Sauvignon. There are 5 acres of FPMS Clone 8 just coming into full production. There are 2 acres of Entav - Clone 337 just coming into production. The "old clone", selected by the family in 1973, represents the remaining 12 acres, which was planted in 1985. It displays small, loose clusters with small berries. The final acre consists of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, which had its first crush in 2006 along with the Entav - Clone 337.
The majority of the new plantings, are grafted on 110R with some test rows of 140R and 1103P. These resistant rootstocks, which are considered too vigorous when planted on the deep and rich soils in the valley below, are appropriate for the less rich and well-drained soils that our mountain vineyard is blessed with. The 1985 planting is grafted on the flawed but gracious AXR-1.
The Reichel Vineyard is actually two vineyards in one. The older 60% was planted in 1985. It is cane pruned on a ballerina trellis, with two horizontal fruiting wires. The bottom canes are tied loosely so that they will twist and the shoots will droop toward the ground, exposing the fruit to filtered sun. The upper canes are wrapped and tied tightly, and the shoots are trained vertically through catch wires. The remaining 40% has been replanted in recent years. These newer plantings are cordon pruned, and the shoots are trained in a loosely vertical direction, allowing them to shade the fruit. The goal overall is to provide the fruit with speckled exposure to the sun, more intensely on the morning side.
The vineyard is divided into 9 individually irrigated blocks. Irrigation generally begins around verasion and is tailored to each block, based on the soil’s natural moisture holding capacity. Some blocks are fine-tuned by the use of duplicate drip hoses. The computer-controlled irrigation system allows the introduction of water when, where, and in the quantity that is needed.
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