Onshore Cellars - ICONIC Producer
Nearly 30 year ago, Joan and Walt Flowers fell in love with a piece of land, high up above the clouds on the rugged Sonoma Coast. The piece of property they purchased had once been used by local Pomo Native Americans and Russian fur traders to hold trade gatherings, but was uncharted territory for growing grapes. The land is steep, the soil rocky; fog filled mornings lead to sunny afternoons with cool nights, a unique climate to plant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.
Flowers philosophy is based on the idea of letting Mother Nature guide the flavours of their wine. They view themselves as facilitators of this unique terroir, not manipulators. Using a mix of biodynamic and organic farming and minimal intervention in the cellar, they are able to produce wines that best showcase the land through their distinctive wines.
The Pacific Ocean provides cool breezes for even ripening, and fog adds to the acidity and freshness in the wines. Instead of purchasing yeast, Flowers relies completely on the native yeast that is found naturally on the grapes coming in from the vineyard. In 2015, after sending yeast samples away to be tested, Flowers learned that there was a common strain of yeast among all of their wines, carried throughout the vineyard, that was 100% specific to their vineyard and not related to any commercial yeast available to purchase.
The winery is home to two vineyards; Camp Meeting Ridge established in 1991 and just three and a half kilometres from the Pacific Ocean. This location produces Pinot Noirs that have seductive spice, robust fruit, and firm tannins, and Chardonnays rich in citrus flavours, full bodies, and coastal minerality. The Sea View Ridge vineyard established in 1998 is just under three kilometres from the Pacific Ocean and produces Pinot Noir with bright fruit flavours, feathery tannins, and perfumed aromatics, and Chardonnay that has bright aromatics, crisp fruit and an elegant body. Even though the two vineyards are less than two kilometres apart, they produce distinct and unique wines that are nuanced and specific to their location.
“Each vintage gives us a fresh opportunity to attentively farm our Sonoma Coast vineyards and take these grapes from vine to bottle. At Flowers, ‘minimal intervention’ doesn’t mean hands-off; it actually means more hands are involved in the preparation, requiring us to be present in each moment, through every step of the process.” Chantal Forthun, Winemaker