~ Two Moon Vineyard ~
While most vintners search for unique characteristics to help define their
terroir, Stan Simpson need only look out his window. McCray Ridge itself
a jagged uplift, 1,700 feet above sea level on the southern edge of the
Dry Creek Valley Appellation, a singular combination of topography,
climate and sound farming.
Two Moon Vineyard (named from the reflection of the full moon onto the vineyard pond) sprawls across the top of McCray Ridge and commands spectacular views — the Mayacamas Range, Healdsburg’s Fitch Mountain, the Santa Rosa plain. The vineyard’s terraces "twist and bend, much like an ‘E’ ticket ride," laughs Stan. "And farming it is no different."
Situated above the fog line, Two Moon Vineyard begins each day in
sunlight. The Pacific Ocean, 15 miles west, maintains a persistent
airflow to cool the afternoons on the hottest of days. "The vineyard
stays cooler than the inland valleys of Dry Creek or Alexander, but warmer
the Russian River Valley," says Stan. "Evening temperatures are
typically cool while inversion layers counter frost on frigid spring
mornings." These climatic variations provide the mountain vineyard
with a healthy growing season.
choose the grapes that would reflect the character of this mountain
terroir, Stan first planted four acres of Merlot in 1987,
contour-terracing the rows to take full advantage of soil and sun.
And the vines have done well here – so well that in 1997 he enlarged the
vineyard to include seven more acres
of Cabernet Sauvignon.
The secret to the success of Two Moon’s grapes
seems to be in Stan’s “hands-off” farming style. He rarely interferes with
a vine’s natural expression of what it is and where it’s grown. Farming
practices are limited to what will best help
maintain their balance of energy: to be stressed but not over dry; to have
grape bunches exposed to sun but not burned; to be able to mature their
grapes and still maintain energy to produce again next year.
Stan knows his vineyard well; he has planted it, grafted it, watered it, tractored it. He pulls the wires, trains the vines, pulls the leaves. He hand prunes, hand suckers, hand harvests. This huge commitment of patience and care has allowed Two Moon Vineyard to develop its own character, synthesizing weather, soil, and geography. Consequently, says Stan proudly, “Our wines taste of this place, of its terroir.”