Climate & Site
The vines at Truchard Vineyards benefit not only from the cooling fog and moderate temperatures of Carneros, but are also influenced by the estate’s unique topography, consisting of rolling hills, steep ravines, and numerous valleys. In addition, they are positioned across a wide variety of soil types including clay, shale, sandstone, lava rock, and volcanic ash. These factors allow the Truchards to grow diverse grape varieties, each planted with its optimal growing conditions in mind and minimal intervention.
Made up of nearly 400 contiguous acres, the property runs about two miles long and about a half a mile wide. As the most Northeastern vineyard in the Carneros region, Truchard is situated on the foothills of what becomes the Mayacama mountain range and Mount Veeder. This location provides the estate added warmth and more alluvial soils that supply better drainage and keep excess moisture away from the roots. Most of the property faces the South and West and captures the afternoon sun, which produces optimum ripening for grape varieties like Syrah, Roussanne, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. While Pinot Noir, which thrives in a cool climate, is planted on the Eastern facing slopes of the property for morning sun and shade from the intense afternoon heat.
Along with the rolling hills in this area, a myriad of soils exist on the property. The fault line that runs through the Northeast corner of the property dramatically changes the soil from the classic Carneros clay located in the Southern portions of the vineyards to volcanic soils found in the Mayacamas. The Truchards’ experience has revealed that Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Merlot perform well in the clay soils, while Syrah, Zinfandel, and Roussanne grow best in fractured volcanic soils.
The blocks are planted in very small sections, with each factor carefully considered in an effort to determine what grape variety to plant based on the various contours and soils. The result is a scattering of small blocks resembling more of a mosaic or patch work quilt than a planned property. Make no mistake, this is by design; much planning and thought went into the seemly haphazard placement of varieties, clones, and rootstock.
The row direction at Truchard is oriented North and South, unless the hillside is too steep to permit such an orientation. This allows for maximum sun exposure on all the vines and provides greater control during leafing of exposure on the fruit. There is an additional advantage of this arrangement since the afternoon winds in Carneros are famous for blowing North from the bay– right down the rows – helping to prevent mildew and other diseases.
Currently the vineyard grows 12 different grape varieties, making it one of the most diverse estate vineyards in Napa Valley. Because of the unique climate and soil that exists on the estate, the Truchard family is able to create wines that are truly "with a sense of place."