Farming & winemaking at union vineyard


Organic | no-till | dry farmed

Six acres of pinot noir comprise the entirety of Union Vineyard. The vines are organically farmed and, owing to the thin layer of topsoil at the ridgeline on which the vineyard is planted, a permanent cover crop is maintained to reduce erosion. The roots of the mature vines penetrate the sandstone of the Santa Cruz Mountains and absorb moisture deep underground rather than depending on a constant diet of surface irrigation water. This dry-farming approach develops flavor in the grapes while restricting yields, and in turn conserves the aquifer. The viticulture here has sustained 150 years of winemaking and these practices promote the expression of this singular piece of ground.


Whole-cluster | concrete teacups

Spontaneous fermentation may begin within a week, slowly building from the carbonic maceration of the first few days. No yeast, acid, water, or enzymes are added; the only ingredient is pinot noir. Fermentations are carried out in the ambient temperature of the cellar without glycol cooling or heating. Following fermentation the young wine is drained by gravity to barrels where it remains for a year and a half until bottling barrel-by-barrel. No pumps are used and the wine is not filtered. These winemaking choices minimize the influence of technology, allowing for clear expression of the vineyard and the growing season.

U.S. Grant Concrete Teacups

Our imperative is to bottle a wine that could only come from this place. Very little winemaking happens. The wine is allowed to be itself, to tell the story of this place with its own unique flavor.

Wild yeast and the fruit, left alone in the teacups for a month or so—that’s the winemaking. Gravity moves the wine from teacup to barrel. A year and a half later we put the wine in bottle. That’s it. It’s an honest proposition and inevitably the wine is vivid and singular, each year differing with the season.

Michael Terrien, WINEMAKER

Michael studied at UC Davis and learned from veteran winemakers of great American pinot noir, first at Acacia Winery, then at Hanzell Vineyards.

The “S” in Grant’s name didn’t stand for anything.

Grant’s given name was actually Hiram Ulysses Grant, and the middle initial is a vestige of Congressman Thomas Hamer’s error when he accidentally wrote the future general’s name as ‘Ulysses S. Grant.’

U. S. Grant detested wearing army uniforms.

During his study at West Point, Grant received numerous demerits for his unkempt uniforms. His distaste for military attire continued even after he assumed command of the Union Army during the Civil War.

Mark Twain published U.S. Grant’s memoirs.

Grant began compiling his memoirs in the mid-1880s, Twain offered him a deal with his own publishing company. Just days before dying of cancer, Grant finished the book. Within the year, Twain had turned it into a best seller.