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Muir Hanna Vineyards


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Bill & Claudia Hanna's VineyardBill and Claudia’s Vineyard:
Bill and Claudia purchased this 25 acre property in 1972.  It contained about 5 acres of gravenstein apples and 15 acres of prunes which had not been well cared for.  There were several decrepit old building, a delightful turn of the century two bedroom house and a classic wooden water tank tower.  The northern most 3 acres had some serious erosion problems but also a beautiful meadow surrounded by 100 year-old black locust trees.  John Hanna farmed for us and we were able to sell the prunes but not the apples.  After harvest, Bill removed all the fruit trees with a borrowed bulldozer and the local volunteer fire department practiced burning on the old buildings. We prepared the land to plant by enlarging the ditches on the west and north boundaries and using the dirt to fill in the eroded areas.  We then ripped to 4 feet deep and broke up the clods with a disc.  The next spring we disced, leveled, and planted 20 acres of vines.  We used St George rootstock and budded 9 acres to pinto noir and 11 acres to Johannisburg Reisling.  We also planted a home orchard on part of the meadow at that time and rented out the house until we returned from Air Force duty in 1977.  We  built our new home in part of the meadow in 1982.

We have settled on a standard trellis design which does well in our climate area.  The cane or cordon wires are 12” apart and from 30”to 36” above the ground.  The middle catch wires are 15” above the fruiting wire and 18” or 24” apart.  The top wires are 15-18” above the middle wires and are 30”or 36” apart.  This design gives adequate separation to have the benefits of a “double canopy” without excessive exposure of the fruit to direct sun while still allowing us to mechanically cultivate between the vines.

We kept the huge eucalyptus tree, several large sycamore trees around the old house, several of the locusts and two large oak trees by the new house.  We and the birds have planted several each valley oak and live oak trees along the ditches which we manage to provide cover for birds and animals.  Hawks nest in the eucalyptus and barn owls in the tank tower.  We leave the grasses long in the ditches until the quail nest, then mow in the fall so the stream flow is not unduly impeded.

We have never used insecticides on any of our vineyards.  We have spot sprayed with RoundUp for severe morning glory but that is now under control.  Beginning with the growing season of 2007 we have used only materials registered for use in organic crop production-fungicides and cover crop seeds.  Prior to that time we used mostly organic registered materials except for some early season fungicides and cover crop seeds. 

Pinot Noir – Block HVPN
This is our only original block from the 1973 planting and is on the south side of our property bordering Orchard Avenue.  The rows are 12’ apart and the vines are 7’ apart in the rows.  The rows are oriented 22º to the west of north-south.  Bill chose the budwood from Trefethan Vyds under the tutelage of George and Fred Heid.  Trefethan obtained their wood from Wente and it is a true clone of pinot noir as opposed to gamay.  Over the years, about 25% of the vines have been replaced due to disease.  Replant rootstock has been either St George or 110R and budwood was from healthy vines in the vineyard although we planted 50 vines of a French clone in 2005.  There are 8.9 vine acresThis vineyard produces from 2.5 to 4 tons per acre.  The mature vines do not need water in a normal year.  When we plant new vines we put a drip tube in the hole with the vine so we can water the young plant without adding much to the older ones.

The fruit from this vineyard is used for our Estate Pinot Noir and our Alpenglow.  We sell what is excess to our needs.

Chardonnay – Block H1
This 2.64 acre block is planted in 1991 and is perpendicular to the Pinot Noir so the rows run a little south of E-W.  The spacing is 10.5’ X 6’.  The rootstock was St George and the bud wood was selected from the John Hanna Vineyard.  We are replanting about 4-5% a year due to viruses.  Replants are generally 110R rootstock and the bud wood is clone 17 from JMH Vyd.  Production is 3-4 tons/acre  We have used this block in our Chardonnay but are currently selling the fruit to Darioush.

Chardonnay – Block H4
We planted this 4 acres in 1987 and 1988.  The first ½ was on St George rootstock and the second on AxR.  Row orientation and spacing are the same as H1.  Bud wood was selected from the JMH Vyd.  The AxR vines have been replaced by 110R as they failed.  Bud wood for the replants has been from healthy vines within the vineyard and from Swanson and 17 clones from JMH.  Production is 3-4 tons/acre.  This block has also been in our past blends and is now being sold to Darioush.

Merlot – Block M1
This 2 acre block was planted in 1999 with 1103P rootstock.  The spacing and orientation of the rows is the same as H1.  The bud wood is clone 3 obtained from the neighboring Costello Vyd.  The first crop was in 2001 but we just made home wine.  Beginning in 2002 it has been a major component of our Bordeaux blend and, when in ample supply, our varietal merlot, as well as the Bully! Red blend.  We are maintaining production at about 4 tons per acre.

Merlot – Block M2
Only 1 ½ acres, we planted this in 2005 on 110R rootstock and again obtained the bud wood from the neighboring vineyard now owned by the O’Brian family.  It is the same configuration as the previous blocks.  The first crop in 2007 was picked with M1 but the 2008 crop is being kept separate for blending.Cabernet Franc – Block CFThis was also planted in 2005 on 110R with bud wood (clone 4) from the O’Brian vineyard using the now familiar row configuration.  The 2007 crop made the Reserve Cuvee and the 2008 crop is being kept separate for blending. 

Cabernet Franc – Block CF
This was also planted in 2005 on 110R with bud wood (clone 4) from the O’Brian vineyard using the now familiar row configuration. The 2007 crop made the Reserve Cuvee and the 2008 crop is being kept separate for blending.