THE VINEYARD

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Our mission at Brosseau Vineyard is to grow superior wine-grapes while respecting the unique characteristics inherent to the site. To be successful at this goal, we decided that organic farming was the most applicable farming technique. Organic farming embraces a systems (or holistic) approach where many components interplay with each step of the farming process, contributing to the development of high quality fruit. Organic farming encourages ongoing learning and adaptation, whether gaining insight from other growers or finding ways to minimize one’s impact on society and nature. Being a wine-grape seller to other prestigious wineries has accelerated this process and allows us to share the success among other passionate winemakers. Although it may be tempting to become complacent, we continue to receive feedback and apply it towards our farming and business practices. There is no beginning or end, just a journey towards greater understanding.

Lastly, organic farming impresses upon the need for patience during the growing season. We feel this is important because patience is a major component of our winemaking philosophy. An example of patience would be the use of slow-reacting, natural products supportive of grapevine health, such as composting. In essence, farming organically resists the temptation for immediate gratification effects in the vineyard, which can lead to other imbalances. There are many designer chemicals on the market that yield bigger vines and bigger yields, but we have chosen to resist that temptation in the pursuit for the highest quality. We have learned in a short amount of time that nature has a way of balancing out man-made impacts. So we feel the less we manipulate the vineyard, that wine-grape quality will be that much more consistent year to year, even when there is climatic differences.

Furthermore, we have found that being organic has led us towards an easy path of patience, minimalistic farming, and producing a superior product.


VINEYARD FACTS
History:

High above the cool, breezy Salinas Valley, lies the family-owned and operated, Brosseau Vineyard. Located in the heart of the famous Chalone Appellation, the Brosseau Vineyard typifies a unique terroir for Californian vineyards.

Some vineyards in the state have cool climates, some have limestone, but very few have both. These combined virtues are what led Jon and Jan Brosseau to the Chalone Appellation in 1970's; for the quest of the greatest Chardonnay and Pinot noir grapes. Only after a visit to Chalone winery, were they truly convinced of the inherent greatness that the Chalone appellation offered. They tried some of Dick Graff's wines that displayed uncharacteristic depth, concentration, and mineral notes for Californian wines. These were some of the same wines that helped California outscore France in the famous 1976 Paris tastings.

By this point, it did not take a lot of convincing for Jon and Jan Brosseau to hunt for property in the area. Only after a few years of searching, the dream would become reality and they would have the opportunity to buy some property bordering the Chalone vineyard estate. Wasting little time, Jon and Jan made an offer and were able to close sale on what would be one of the greatest days in Brosseau history.


Below is a brief timeline on the history of Brosseau Vineyards:

1978 - 160 acres purchased next to Chalone Vineyard
1979-1980 - Land cleared in preparation for planting
1980-1981 - 16 acres of Chardonnay (Wente and Chalone clones) and 1 acre of Pinot noir (Mt. Eden clone) planted
1986 - First commercial crop produced
1995 - First year Pinot noir produced under vineyard designation
1998 - 2 additional acres of Chardonnay (Dijon 76 clone) planted to add diversity
1999 - 3 more acres planted of Pinot noir (Mt. Eden clone)
2000 - Harvested and produced first Estate wine under Gabilan Estate label
2001 - Jon and Jan Brosseau finish construction on 7-bedroom bed and breakfast dedicated to showcasing Monterey's Wine Country. 3 acres of Old vine Chardonnay grafted to Pinot Noir (Dijon 113, 115 clones).
2002 - 5 more acres of Pinot noir (Dijon 114, Clone 538 and Pommard 4 clones) planted to add diversity
2003 - 3 acres of Syrah (877, Samsonite, Tablas, and 174 clones) planted
2004 - 1 acre of Viognier, Marsanne, Roussane, and Chenin Blanc planted as test block
2005 - Brosseau Wines label launched. Interplanting of Pinot Noir (113 and 115 blocks).
2007 - 5 acres of Syrah planted
2009 - Tentative planting of more Syrah and Grenache

Climate:

The climate at Brosseau vineyard is considered to be a region II, where overall night-time temperatures are cool and the day-time temperatures are cool to warm. This climatic level is one that supports and ripens a wide array of varietals. What is unique to our site is the annual rainfall of 12 inches or less, paired with cool, drying winds from the Monterey Bay. We experience foggy mornings and warm, yet breezy afternoons. Diurnal temperatures can swing up to 50 degrees, due to the high altitude. At our altitude of 1,600 feet, we experience very intense solar reception, having a positive impact on the color and tannins in the wine-grapes.

Soil:

The Brosseau Vineyard is situated near the Pinnacles National Monument where there is quite a lot of subterranean heat and movement from the San Andreas Fault line. It is believed that the limestone outcroppings at Brosseau Vineyards derive from an ancient seabed that was uplifted during volcanic and seismic activity. The Pinnacles rock formations are believed to date back 23 million years ago.

As we can prove to you, the soil at Brosseau Vineyards is one of a kind in the West coast. It boasts limestone, decomposed granite, and volcanic rocks. Limestone is believed to give minerality to wines as well as stabilize the soil with Calcium. Decomposed granite has much quartz and silica, which aide in the reflection of light back into the shaded portions of the grapevine, promoting enhanced ripening. Volcanic rocks create barriers in the soil, slowing the growth of the grapevine roots.

The soil series or soil composition is considered the McCoy-Gilroy complex, which is composed of sandy, clay, loam, and gravel (a little bit of everything). These soils are considered well drained and have sufficient nutrient holding capacity for grapevines. All of the soil traits listed collaborate towards wines of great intensity and aging potential.

(click image to download map in PDF format)

Management:

The management at Brosseau Vineyard is comprised of Jon & Bill Brosseau with the talented support of Ruben Balderas and Coastal Vineyard Management. Ruben has a long and successful career in vineyards such as Mount Eden, Talbott, and David Bruce. Ruben has been instrumental in launching our organic farming practices and will be vital in our approach towards certification. Ruben shares our passion for helping us generate a world-class wine-grape site.

Map:

(click image to download map in PDF format)

CLIENT LIST
Below is a list of our talented and passionate winemakers:

Please check out their wines.

A Donkey And Goat // Tracey & Jared Brandt tracey@adonkeyandgoat.com

Brosseau Wines // Bill Brosseau bill@brosseauwines.com

Copain Wines // Wells Guthrie wells@copainwines.com

Crushpad // Michael Brill michael@crushpadwine.com

Dain Wines // David Dain dain@dainwines.com

Harrington Wines // Bryan Harrington bh@harringtonwine.com

Loring Wine Company // Brian Loring brian@loringwinecompany.com

Roessler Cellars // Roger Roessler roger@roesslercellars.com

Tantara Winery // Jeff Fink & Bill Cates jeff@tantarawinery.com

Testarossa Vineyards // Bill Brosseau bill@testarossa.com

Windgap Wines // Pax Mahle mail@windgapwines.com