Topography, Cartography & Destiny
Navigating to Treasure
A relentless world traveler who traversed Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Indonesia, Dan Lester played a pivotal role in one of the significant underwater archaeological coups of the century. He played an integral role in the recovery of the long-lost ship Nuestra Señora de Atocha. This astonishing find sunk in a hurricane in September 1622 laden with coins and valuable cargo, between Cuba and the Florida Keys.
A Relic of the High Seas
Dan was particularly proud of his collection of antiquities found throughout the Caribbean. Among these were 17th-century Spanish coins, which were highly valued among New World explorers. Our labels feature a piece of eight from the Atocha, symbolizing Dan’s spirit of adventure and unwavering curiosity.
Surveying the Estate
Despite his wanderlust, Dan dreamed of a ranch where he and his wife Patricia could devote their considerable energy and love of nature into stewardship of the land. Upon acquiring this former nursery and Christmas tree farm, the couple set to restoring it, creating habitat for native flora and fauna. Today, hiking trails wind through the ranch’s coastal oaks, madrones, and redwoods, affording spectacular ocean, mountain, and valley views: from Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz to the Monterey Peninsula, and from Fremont Peak to the Salinas Valley.
Maritime and Mountain Influences
The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA’s coastal mountain climate is marked by mild days and chilly nights, so we angled our vine rows to make the most of the sun’s progression over the vineyard after the marine layer of morning mist has lifted. Our upper vines grow on a naturally terraced hillside while the lower vineyard benefits from the rich colluvial variegation gained from centuries of soil accumulation. Our well-drained, loamy soils allow our vines to tap deep subterranean springs. These deep-rooted, decades-old vines naturally resist the ravages of environmental extremes as well as any lingering moisture from our ethereal morning fogs off Monterey Bay.
Our south-southeastern-facing 14-acre vineyard ranges in elevation from 400 to 600 feet. A focus of our winemaking program is clonal selections; our vineyard grows eight different clones, or cultivars, of Pinot Noir alone. This allows for our winemakers to select and combine the fruit from various vine rows much as a painter might select colors, or a conductor might choose instruments. And although our site is naturally low-yielding, lyre trellising suits it. This generously spaced system regulates temperature via its spread-out canopy, which shades and cools the soil while exposing each grape cluster to sunlight and breezes.