Along with fruit from Husch’s pinot vineyards we also crush fruit some of Anderson Valley's best known vineyards. With long-term contracts Husch is able to specify the growing practices and work with our farming partners to produce great Pinot Noir. Locations closer to the Coast provide a slightly cooler growing environment and the grapes often reflect this nuance. Winemaker Brad Holstine has selected fields at Nash Mill and Henneberg Vineyards for this reason. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the inland end of the Valley is always several degrees warmer and the fruit ripens faster. We work with Ferrington Vineyards at this location. Back in the mid-valley, and just a stone's throw from Husch, we partner with Valley Foothill Vineyards.
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The sheep are out of the vineyard now grazing on the hillsides. They will return after harvest to help out with our mowing.
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Loving the Lyre
Part of the success of Husch’s plantings may be attributable to a bi-lateral trellis system that has been largely abandoned in modern grape growing due to its higher cost. Yet this approach offers excellent control of air circulation and sunlight exposure, both of which are important factors in maturing healthy and flavorful fruit. At Husch we believe this extra cost is well worth the benefit.
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Husch has always emphasized the importance of farming in the winemaking process: to make great wines you have to start with great grapes. Our family tradition of farming dates back five generations with an emphasis on grape farming in Mendocino County for the last three generations.
Climate, climate, climate
When Husch started growing grapes in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley little was known about the growing prospects for this remote region. The climate of the Anderson Valley feels a strong cooling influence from the nearby Pacific Ocean. In viticultural terms, the region is known as a Region 1 growing area, a designation for the coolest climate in which grapes can be grown. Though summer days can heat into the mid 90s, evening fog is common and most nights cool to the mid 50s.
Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer thrive in this setting. Our Knoll Vineyard -- the first planting (1971) of Pinot Noir in the region -- continues to yield a distinct earthy fruit with wonderful complexity. Our Gewurztraminer fields, a mix of gnarled old vines (planted 1968) and younger plantings, produce a vibrant wine that wows the critics. We also grow Chardonnay at this location, much of it Husch's proprietary 'Vine One' clone. Along with 21 acres of grapes, our winery, tasting room, and the historic Husch House can be found on the estate property.
Feel the heat...
Just twenty miles from Husch the summer can really sizzle. The Ukiah Valley is isolated from the cool Pacific breezes by an extra range of mountains so heat-loving Bordeaux varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc thrive at this location.
Our partner vineyard, La Ribera, has been the source for Husch's warm weather fruit since 1979. This 150 acres vineyard is situated along the Russian River (“La Ribera” means the riverbank) between the towns of Ukiah and Hopland. Hugo Oswald developed much of this vineyard from 1961 to 2002. The vineyard is now owned by the Thornhill family.
Along with the Bordeaux varietals, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Syrah, and Zinfandel are also grown with great success at this location. The Zinfandel planting is at least 50 years old. Aerials photos from 1950 show a mature vineyard so we suspect the field was planted immediately after the repeal of prohibition. The Syrah field, in contrast, produced its first fruit in 2003.
Husch wines have been long regarded for their consistency. Part of that success can undoubtedly be attributed to vineyard manager Al White, who started work at Husch in 1973. During his long tenure at Husch, Al has worked nearly every job in the vineyard and winery (including co-winemaker one year). Under Al's guidance, the vineyards at Husch and La Ribera continue to produce the great grapes we need to make great wine.
Winery & Tasting Room: 4400 Highway 128, Philo, CA 95466 1-800-55-HUSCH (1-800-554-8724)
Hours: We are open 7 days a week from 10am to 6pm
Mailing Address: PO Box 189, Talmage, CA 95481