Annadel Gap Vineyard In Sonoma Valley Shows New Vitality And More Expressive Fruit

Sonoma, Calif. (Sept. 6, 2017) — The Annadel Gap Vineyard that serves as the heart of Westwood Estate Wines has been certified Biodynamic™ by the Demeter Association following an extensive revitalization of the site led by consultant Philippe Coderey, winemaker Ben Cane and proprietor Carl Stanton. 

The vineyard has also achieved organic certification from Oregon based Stellar Certification Services. 

First planted in the northernmost part of Sonoma Valley in three stages between 2001 and 2009, the 22 planted acres feature carefully focused blocks of nine clones of Pinot Noir, four clones of Syrah, and micro-blocks of Counoise, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Tannat, Roussanne and Viognier. 

The certification process, in play for several years but completed to code over the past three vintages, has already resulted in a distinct uplifting of the fruit winemaker Cane fashions into limited release Pinot Noir and Rhône varietals, including Westwood Legend, a Rhône styled blend. 

“There is a vibrancy in the vineyard that shows in the health of the vines, allowing us to gain layers of complex flavors even at lower sugar levels as the fruit matures,” he notes. “The enthusiasm for farming we now bring to the vineyard is clearly reflected in the wines.” 

The former dairy farm studded with Black Walnut groves features a gently sloping profile ranging from 410 to 530 feet, with four distinct soil zones of various loams resembling the famed Gold Ridge soils more common to Western Sonoma County. The vineyard is cooler than most in the northern reaches of Sonoma Valley, more closely resembling vineyards founded further west in the Petaluma Gap. 

The organic farming and Biodynamic™ practices at Annadel include the extensive use of beneficial insects, compost and cover crops and the application of materials at times that are directed by principles developed by Austrian scientist Rudolph Steiner early in the 20th century. 

For Proprietor Stanton, the choice to farm for flavors in this more intensive manner was driven by a desire to see the full potential of the vineyard he’s championed for nearly two decades. “This has always been a special place, and we think of ourselves as stewards of the land, and representatives of a long and outstanding tradition of Sonoma vintners,” he said. “It’s exciting to see the next part of this journey.”