At the height of the Civil War, John Jarvis settled in California where he established Union Vineyard, the first vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Union Vineyard is a patriotic homage to “the Union represented by the stars and stripes” and though the name was forgotten over time, the site has been continuously farmed ever since its founding. Today, it is the single source of Pinot Noir for the estate winery U.S. Grant.
Organic farming, aquifer conservation and non-erosive soil management have sustained Union Vineyard for 155 years. Here, native grasses grow between the vines while the land is neither tilled nor sprayed with herbicides. A thousand feet above Monterey Bay where the vineyard lies, the Pacific air and mountain climate suit Pinot Noir’s fastidious nature. And the nearly impenetrable sandstone of the Santa Cruz Mountains abets quality as the vines make do on their own without irrigation, aided only by marine fog.
Whole Pinot Noir clusters are placed in concrete Teacup vessels for a month-long transformation into wine. The unique shape of these fermenters increases passive contact between wine and fruit for slow, gentle maceration. We never add yeast, acid, water, enzymes, or tannins. Pinot Noir is the only ingredient, every vintage. Making wine in this simple way accentuates vineyard character and embraces the variability of vintage.