Red Car Estate


Our original estate vineyard, planted in 2005, crowns the northwestern corner of King Ridge Road above Fort Ross on the coastline of Sonoma County. It sits at 900–1000 feet and is defined by giant coastal redwoods and the fog-laden Pacific Ocean. This proximity to the ocean moderates temperatures and makes it susceptible to rain and fog during the flowering season, which keeps yields very low.

The vines are planted in fractured marine sandstone that weathered over millions of years from an uplifted seabed known as the Ohlson Ranch Formation. This soil offers the same viticultural advantages as the oft-referenced Goldridge series found in the lower West Sonoma Coast elevations around Sebastopol, yet differs by including less clay and more stone than sand in its composition.

The vineyard is densely planted to multiple “clones” of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. Over 90% of which are actually heritage field selections such as Jackson 16, Calera and other special “suitcase” budwood. The Chardonnay is 100% from an old Wente “clone” that was chosen over the course of decades by Larry Hyde specifically for the small size of its clusters and mineral flavor profile.

It is generally thought that Northern California saw its first wine grapes when the Spanish brought up the Mission grape through their iconic missions. However, Russians got a good jump on the Spanish in 1817 when they planted wine grapes at Fort Ross, then a Russian fur-trapping outpost situated directly on the Pacific. English settlers were next, planting vineyards in the area in the late 19th century that supported a robust winemaking community until Prohibition, when all known vineyards in the area were converted to orchards. In the 1980s, the hills above Fort Ross regained notoriety for winegrowing and are now considered one of the most exciting enclaves for world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in America. The TTB responded in 2011 and granted the region its own AVA entitled Fort Ross – Seaview. View a map of Fort Ross-Seaview Vineyards and Wineries here.