Cultivating the UNdiscovered

So Far Out,

Yet So Right On

"Located in the northern reaches of Mendocino County, three hours north of San Francisco, the Alder Springs ranch covers nearly 10 square miles, of which a mere 140 acres are currently carved out for viticulture. With 315,000 tightly spaced, low-yielding vines clinging to steep, rocky hillsides, the property has all of the essential ingredients for producing extraordinary wines: high elevation (up to 2,700 feet); fast-draining, low-vigor soils; southern and eastern exposures; warm days; cool nights; and virtually no fog".

Mark Bowery, Wine Writer

In an untapped region of Northern California.

One hour drive from any other viticulture area.

Three hours north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

12 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

“How a vineyard came to be planted in such an untested fringe of wine country is an improbable tale of one man’s obsession.”

Tim Fish, Wine Spectator

“A lot if people play it safe, but Stu did just the opposite. He has a pioneer attitude and he has a scientific bent.”

James Hall, Patz & Hall

Owner of Alder Springs Vineyard, Stuart Bewley, grew up in the midst of Lodi wine country where seven generations of his family farmed grapes dating back to pre-prohibition. With wine as a centerpiece of Stuart’s upbringing, he was exposed to a vast range of wines that varied in quality. At a young age, he began to notice stark differences between bulk wines and ultra-premium wine like Domaine Romanee-Conti, which his grandfather shipped back from France during the War (and purchased for a whopping $3 a bottle!!). At the age of 32, Stuart set off on a three-year, around-the-world quest to understand the complex interaction of factors essential to producing great wine. In 1991, after carefully studying 40 of the planet’s best vineyard sites, Stuart made a risky investment when he settled on the remote Alder Springs ranch. An hours drive from any other wine region, many naysayers thought that the climate was too extreme for quality grape growing. Knowing that the greatest wines in the world come from vineyards "on the edge" of ripening, Stuart was obsessively certain that this location could produce something phenomenal.

With full conviction, Stuart hand planted 140 acres of vineyard in the southern end of the rugged, Lost Coast range. He then took his fascination one step further by implementing a meticulous, low-yielding viticulture program that focused on the opposite of the bulk wine production that he grew up around.

Today, Stuart sells 90% of those grapes to a client list of winemakers that reads like The Who’s Who Of California Wine. He recently started making small quantities of wine under his own label designed to be pure expressions from this pristine vineyard.

GROWING GRAPES AT ALDER SPRINGS VINEYARDS

There is no historical reference to what grows best here, other than the experiments that we conduct.

Stuart is always testing new ground with esoteric varieties such as Pinot Meunier, Tannat, Trousseau, and Poulsard in addition to Falanghina, Picpoul and Fiano.

Three vineyard blocks sit miles away from each other, and range from 1,700 – 2,700 feet creating numerous micro-climates & exposures.

Steep Hillsides

Quick Draining-High Calcium Soils

Climate on the Edge of Ripening

Warm Days, Cool nights

Low Fertility Soils

The idea of sustainability at Alder Springs Vineyard is about creating an eco-system that will become healthier through the years.

SUSTAINABILITY

All water used on the ranch and in the vineyard comes from springs or ponds (rainwater catchment) on the property.

Reverse french drains are used to filter and clean any run-off from the property.

Our viticulturists’ uses only products with low environmental impact.

We employ minimal water irrigation program.

Cover crops are used rather then tilling to prevent erosion.

Owl population program to help with rodent control.

Vegetation management is used to encourage predator insect instead of using chemicals.

Intense canopy management program to reduce fungicide use (including extra shoot removal to encourage air flow).

Winemaking

Our ultimate goal is to make the wine in the vineyard, not the winery. We let the growing season predict the picking decisions rather than sticking to a set formula. Each year, winemaker, Byron Kosuge, throws out all preconceived notions to encourage the most honest and transparent expression of the vintage and the vineyard.

Alder Springs produces one of California’s richest, most layered and concentrated Chardonnays- often compared to a Grand Cru white Burgundy"

Robert Parker

“Alder Springs is a dramatic place, and the wines that come from the vineyard taste like they come from a dramatic place.”

Pax Mahle

Alder Springs Vineyard has a five year wait list for their fruit and because all the fruit at ASV was spoken for, the winery had to wait years to begin making wine from their own site.

Eventually, they were able to produce a micro production of wines under their own label.

“It’s just confirmation that so much of the greatest wine terroir in California is not yet discovered,” Kevin Harvey of Rhys Vineyards

The story of Alder Springs Vineyard is one of blind passion for redefining what California wine can be. For most of ASV’s existence, critics and consumer alike had a very narrow view about where, how and what to cultivate in California. Fortunately, Stuart never listened to them. He could have adapted to the social norm and taken the easy way, but that is simply not who Stuart Bewley is.

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