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Fort Ross Vineyard consists of 32 small mountain vineyard blocks that cling to the sunny coastal mountain ridges overlooking the ocean. Less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean, Fort Ross Vineyard is one of the closest, if not the closest vineyard to the ocean in all of California. The vineyard rises in elevation from 1200 to 1700 feet above sea level. Ranging in size from one-half to two acres, each small vineyard block has its own particular terroir and is planted with rootstocks, varietals, and clones or field selections best suited to reveal the terroir, varietal typicity and clonal attributes.
During the growing season the vineyard is almost always in bright sunshine during the day, yet subject to the tempering influence of the fog that often hugs the coastline far below. Temperatures rarely drop below 55 °F or rise above 85 °F, the range in which grape vines are physiologically active.
At night the ocean fog sometimes rolls up and over the vineyard only to recede back down to the ocean again with the morning sunrise, leaving the vines to do their best work in the long bright sunny days.
The yields are kept low. While most of the vineyard naturally produces less than one to three tons of fruit per acre, on the rare occasions where weather conditions and berry set encourage higher yields, fruit is dropped to ensure concentration and typicity.
Consequently, the vines have a yield and growing pattern that allows the berries to slowly and evenly ripen to complete physiological ripeness with increased varietal distinctiveness and a desirable acid balance.