Contiguous to Silice Vineyard, our largest estate, Winery Block is Bergström Wines’ smallest estate with just over 2 acres of Pinot Noir and 2 acres of Chardonnay. As you approach our winery and make your way up the hill to our Tasting Room, you will see this ultra high-density vineyard on either side of the road. The Pinot Noir vines lie to the North while the Chardonnay vines lie to the south.
When planting this site, we used traditional Burgundian spacing of one vine for every three feet, meaning there are more than two times the number of vines planted here than in a typical vineyard. Because of the Winery Block’s high density and small size, rather than using a specialized tractor, we follow a very Old World farming approach, choosing to perform every operation by hand. We hand hoe the weeds, hand mow the grass, hand till the soil and even spray the vines with a motorized backpack sprayer. Here, every plant operation from pruning to harvesting is truly done by hand. The vineyard’s high density also leads to our only being able to harvest 6 to 8 clusters of fruit per vine, which translates to more depth and concentration in the finished wine.
Winery Block sits on sandy, sedimentary soil and lies at an elevation of 375 feet with a true southern exposure from top to bottom. It is perched at the peak of the Calkins Lane Bench and benefits from both full exposures to the sun and the elements, making it one of our warmer sites and often our first vineyard to bloom, achieve verasion and be harvested.
Our Old World approach to farming this great vineyard carries through to the cellar. Beginning with Winery Block Vineyard’s first harvest in 2005, we have used a whole-cluster method to ferment this site’s fruit in one or sometimes two small French oak fermentation tanks. Typically, when making red wines, winemakers remove the grapes from their stems before fermentation. But in whole-cluster fermentation, we put the entire fruit cluster, complete with stems, into the tank—just as Burgundian winemakers did for centuries before the advent of de-stemming machines. The whole-cluster method promotes a natural fermentation that then must be worked very gently in all the subsequent steps of winemaking. Pinot Noirs made this way have incomparable spice qualities as well as soft, silky textures.
As a result, our Winery Block Pinot Noir is usually one of our more spicy wines, complete with telltale herb-garden, dark cherry, black licorice and olive-laden garrigue aromatics that make for an excellent cellar candidate. This Pinot Noir pairs wonderfully with barbecued meats, game and hearty, slow-cooked meals such as cassoulet. We only produce 8 to 10 barrels of Winery Block Pinot Noir in any given year, so this wine remains a “Wine Club Only” selection. Chardonnay from the Winery Block Vineyard is annually part of our Sigrid Reserve Chardonnay.