Philary Vineyards is located almost 1000 feet above sea level and overlooks the southern part of Napa Valley. The vineyard grows only Syrah grapes. It consists of three separate blocks. Two blocks each have 250 Syrah grapevines and are bilateral cordon trained. While the other block has 40 Syrah grapevines, head-trained. All blocks are spur pruned.
The first block, Selene and Maren block, was planted in March 1996, It originally consisted of 125 of the Syrah Noir clone on 5BB rootstock and 125 Sangiovese on 5BB rootstock. The Sangiovese was t-budded in June 2002 with budwood from the original 125 Syrah vines.
The second block, Noel and Aaron Block of 250 Syrah Noir vines was planted on 110R rootstock in March 1998. While the third block, Brown and Wolf Block, of 40 Syrah Noir vines were planted in March 2006 on 5BB rootstock.
The planting of each block was a physical challenge created by the unique nature of the property. The combination of extremely rocky soil, steep slopes, unlevel terrain, and limited physical access precluded the use of any machines or equipment that would typically be used for vineyard preparation and installation. Due to the nature of the property, all the blocks were established by hand.
Thousands of rocks were removed to clear the vineyard sites for planting which, out of necessity, were 3 feet between vines and 3 feet between rows. As there was no available soil for planting, 5-gallon buckets had to be hand-carried into the vineyard. Many rocks were too large to remove and still remain in the site. As a result, the vine rows could not be made either straight or level and were laid out east to west.
Our vineyard is probably one of the least prepared and most conforming to the original nature of the existing site that sells fruit for commercial production of wine. True terroir!
Everything related to the vineyard is done by hand. No machinery is used at any time and in any of the three blocks. Weeds are controlled using a flamethrower or manually removed. No herbicides are used. Only shoes touch the ground, no tires.
Careful canopy management and leafing allow for maximum sun exposure and air circulation. Cluster thinning is practiced and typically results in only one cluster per shoot. Each cluster is also carefully inspected prior to harvest with individual berries being removed to create cluster uniformity. Compulsive consistency and obsessive quality control have allowed the vineyard to express the true character of the property.
Great wine begins in the vineyard. We are now teaching our grandsons to continue the tradition.
From the rocks grow the vines.