Domaine Carneros’ vineyards are situated in the Carneros appellation of northern California, a viticultural area that straddles the border between Napa and Sonoma counties at their southern extremity. Located between the Mayacamas Mountains to the north and San Pablo Bay to the south, the appellation is known for its unique soil and climatic conditions. Temperatures in Carneros average 10 to 15 degrees below those in Napa Valley, slightly warmer than temperatures in Champagne yet cooler than those in Burgundy, allowing the fruit to achieve an optimum balance of ripeness, acidity and complexity.
Domaine Carneros maintains six estate vineyards according to Fish Friendly Farming, California Sustainable Winegrower, Napa Green Winery, and Napa Green Land Certifications.
The Domaine Carneros Estate Vineyard, first planted in 1981, extends up a slope rising to a crest overlooking San Francisco and San Pablo Bay, with an elevation of 120 to 260 feet above sea level. Its superb mesoclimate, characterized by a long, cool growing season tempered by the maritime breezes and persistent fogs of the coast, is the perfect environment for the classic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varieties of Champagne. The Estate Vineyard primarily contributes to the sparkling wine cuvées.
An important development in the source of Domaine Carneros’ fruit came in 1991 with the acquisition of the Pompadour Vineyard, situated on the western side of the Carneros appellation. This vineyard consists of 58 acres of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines first planted in 1991 on dense clay, clay loam and sandy soils with a gently sloping topography. The Pompadour vineyard contributes to the blend of both the sparkling and still wines.
In 1996, Domaine Carneros made a major investment in the 28-acre Perez Ranch vineyard, renamed La Rocaille. Located on the eastern, Napa side of Carneros in a very cool mesoclimate, La Rocaille is characterized by sandy loam soils lying on a gentle slope of predominantly southeast exposure. This vineyard was planted in 1997 with several clones of Pinot Noir and supplements the Estate Vineyard fruit primarily for the Pinot Noir cuvée.
Domaine Carneros’ newest vineyard, La Ciel Serein, was planted beginning in 2002. Its 117 acres are planted 80% to Pinot Noir and 20% to Chardonnay. La Ciel Serein possesses the steepest vineyard slopes and most varied exposures of the four estate vineyards. Its fruit contributes to the blend of both the sparkling and still wines.
Tula Vista is the name of the winery’s newest Carneros estate vineyard. It is located just west of the Donum Estate on Ramal road a few short miles from the winery. When Domaine Carneros purchased this 70 acre site in 2012, it was fallow except for 10 acres of Pinot Noir planted in 1989. By early 2014, 30 acres of Chardonnay and 22 acres of Pinot Noir had been planted. This site of rolling hills and clay loam soil perched right on the edge of the San Pablo Bay is exposed to tremendous wind and fog, and is guaranteed to offer an exciting new element of Carneros terroir.
The newest addition to our collection of Carneros vineyards, Entre Amis was planted in 2017, half to Pinot Noir and half to Chardonnay. Located on the Western end of Las Amigas Road, the vines look right out at the San Pablo Bay and gleefully absorb the bay’s cool breezes that consistently blow through. Although we won’t harvest our first grapes from Entre Amis until the 2020 vintage, Pinot Noir winemaker TJ is very excited about this site’s potential, thanks to its Western sun exposure and light, gravelly soil.