From soil type to microclimate to clones to exacting the perfect time to harvest, Brian Loring is extremely picky about where he sources his grapes. He formed Loring Wine Company in 1999 with his sister, Kimberly Loring, on the firm belief that in wine ‘the fruit is everything’ and ‘what happens in the vineyard determines the quality of the wine”. Brian had been a Pinot Noir fanatic since his college days, and he found inspiration for his own adventure into winemaking from Calera Wine Company and Cottonwood Canyon wines. Today Loring Wine Company produces 9,000 cases of Pinot Noir and 1,000 Chardonnay from painstakingly chosen vineyards:
Shea Vineyard was first planted to wine grapes in the late 1980s. Today Shea Vineyard is a 200-acre property with 140 planted acres on the east and west hills. 135 of these acres are planted to Pinot noir vines and the balance is planted to Chardonnay. Shea vineyard sits on sedimentary soil over fractured sandstone.
The Graham Family Vineyard lies in a small sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley AVA called Green Valley, which is less than 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Planted in 2002, the vineyard features Pinot Noir clones 667, 777, 828, Swan and Calera. The vineyard totals 14 acres; Loring Wine Company gets 2.
Located in the Russian River Valley's Green Valley appellation, the Keefer Ranch Vineyard sits near the headwaters of Green Valley Creek and is planted on gentle well-drained slopes with Goldridge soil. 40 acres of Pinot Noir and 10 acres Chardonnay are farmed by Marcy Keefer and her son Craig Strehlow. Clones are a nice mixture of Dijon 114, 115, 777, Pommard 5, Mariafeld (23), Wädenswil (2A), Swan and Calera.
Located in the hills overlooking the town of Sonoma, the 135-acre Durell Vineyard at Sand Hill Ranch extends from the Southern end of the Sonoma Valley into the western portion of the cool Carneros region. This location provides afternoon breezes that slow ripening, producing richer-flavored grapes. Loring has 2 acres here.
Garys' Vineyard is a joint effort between Gary Franscioni and Gary Pisoni (of Pisoni Vineyard). Childhood friends, the two Garys decided to work together to create Garys' Vineyard after the success of Pisoni Vineyard. The 50-acre vineyard is located in Monterey County, near Soledad, CA (Loring gets 3 acres). The clone planted is the same as that planted at Pisoni Vineyard - The Pisoni Clone.
Rosella's Vineyard is owned by Gary Franscioni, "The Other" Gary at Garys' Vineyard. Rosella's, named after Gary's wife, is located in Monterey County, near Soledad, CA, about a mile north of Garys'. Gary has many different Pinot clones planted at Rosella's - we get an acre each of 667, 777, 828, and Pisoni clones.
Sierra Mar Vineyard is Gary Franscioni's new vineyard in Santa Lucia Highlands. It's located south of Garys' vineyard and is “waaaaayyyy up on the hillside”. It must be one of the highest elevation vineyards in SLH.
The Brosseau Vineyard belongs to Jan and Jon Brosseau; they have had their own vineyard next to Chalone for about 20 years, and Loring started sourcing Pinot from them in 2002. Jon was one of those crazy guys, like Dick Graff at Chalone, who saw the potential of the limestone soil in the hills east of Soledad, and was willing to put up with small problems like no water and no electricity. Recently, they've built a high-end B&B on the property, Inn at the Pinnacles.
Naylor Dry Hole is located next to Brosseau Vineyard in the Chalone AVA. Duncan Naylor planted 1.5 acres of Pinot, and I got all the fruit from the vineyard in 2003, a whopping 0.5 tons! Duncan explained that water was a huge issue for him. He dug quite a few wells that came up dry prior to hitting one that produced any water at all. As a result, he named the vineyard Dry Hole.
Russell Family Vineyard is located in the Templeton Gap area of Paso Robles. This steep hillside vineyard features rich calcareous limestone and shale soils.
At 800 feet of elevation, Aubaine Vineyard overlooks a broad plain that slopes directly to the Pacific; in fact, it is one of the few vineyards in California where you can actually see the ocean, which fairly guarantees an intense maritime effect. The yields here are painfully small, and produce intense, vivid wines, with abundant but fine tannins and uncommonly blue fruit.
Rancho Ontiveros is in the south east portion of the Santa Maria Valley. It's owned by James Ontiveros, whos family has been in Santa Maria for like... forever - and at one time owned the land that is now Bien Nacido Vineyard. His vineyard is within shouting distance of Au Bon Climat's new Le Bon Climat vineyard.
Clos Pepe Vineyard is located in the Santa Rita Hills area of Santa Barbara County, near Lompoc, CA. According to Wes Hagen at Clos Pepe, the area of the vineyard where our 667 clone come from is "steep and chunky and makes Pinot freaks like you and me salivate". We also get clone 115 from the lower portion of the vineyard. And starting in 2008, we'll add clone 777 to the mix.