Seven acres of estate vines perch on the front of the 203-acre Lichen Estate in the Anderson Valley Appellation. Prepared in 2007 and planted in 2008 on meter-by-meter spacing, the vineyard comprises 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Gris vines on 15% to 35% southeast-facing slopes. Farmed 100% organically. Six blocks and four clones of Pinot Noir (Martini, Wadenswil, Pommard, & 667) on three rootstocks (101-14, 420A, and 161-49). Two blocks of Pinot Gris (148 & 152) on two rootstocks (161-49 and SO4). 2013 average yield: 1.36 pounds per vine.
We looked to Old World experience and farming tips when planting. We opted for the same high-density, meter-by-meter spacing used in Burgundy and Champagne for their very best “Grand Cru” vineyards. We figured 2000 years as farmers of Pinot Noir taught them a little something about how to grow the highest quality fruit. It meant planting four times more vines per acre than most vineyards around here, a whopping 30,000 vines in just over seven acres. The vineyard climbs up 15% to 35% slopes overlooking highway 128, facing South by Southeast to capture the sun.
The soils are primarily of the Wolfey-Bearwallow complex: sandstone-derived, well drained, and have a moderate available water capacity. The topsoil is loamy but shallow, with 10-40 inches until hitting the restrictive feature (bedrock) below. The lack of site-induced vigor, combined with competition in the root zone fostered by the high density planting, leads to intense, concentrated grapes of singular character.