The mountain terroir at Mayacamas Vineyards, ranging from 1,800 to 2,400 feet above sea level, provides our grapes with their distinctive, intense flavors. Mount Veeder is a volcanic peak, and the soils on the mountain are complex; they include ash, tufa, sedimentary soils, and lava. Many of the slopes are steep, requiring vineyard terraces.
Annual rainfall averages 50 inches, roughly double that of the adjacent Napa Valley floor. With this abundant rainfall, we are able to dry-farm all of our mature vineyards, only irrigating our young vines for their first five years to establish their roots. Dry-farming on our steep, rocky hillsides produces crops of small, highly flavorful grapes.
The vineyards at Mayacamas have been planted in many stages throughout our history. There remain twenty head-trained Zinfandel vines planted in the late 1880s by the winery’s founder; they produce a tiny, non-commercial crop each year. The oldest wine-producing vineyards are the Chardonnay terraces, planted from 1950 to 1952. The Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards that surround the winery were planted in the early 1960s. Blocks of Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and more Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were planted through the late 1980s.