Vineyard Map | Vineyard Practices
"Starting with a clean slate allowed us to take advantage of a wealth of knowledge accumulated in the Napa Valley over 25 years of viticulture. Terrace design, soil preparation, density of planting, trellis systems and selection of appropriate rootstock and clones were just some of the aspects of vineyard innovation we applied in each specific soil type and microclimate.
The most important lesson in diversity learned at Quintessa is the need to keep the soil alive with a variety of plant life. Pests are managed through the use of organic materials, cover crops and other innovative practices, and only when required. From it's very inception, the vineyard has been maintained with a strict criteria of care for the soil and the environment. It is a very special feeling to know that at Quintessa, there was never any other kind of grape growing."
Limelight, Las Casas, Corral, Silverdale North, Silverdale South, Cruz del Sur, Winery
Climate: The greatest temperature extremes of the vineyard
Soil: White volcanic ash, loam and clay, reddish volcanic
Howard's Million, Corona Norte, Corona South, Monte Cruz, Alcantara, Bill's Canyon, Las Flores, Mesa, Coyote, Tesoro
Climate: The most temperate climate of the vineyard.
Soil: Reddish volcanic, sandy loam, white volcanic ash, sandy alluvial soil with cobbles, fractured rock and gravel, brown loam with river cobbles
Dragon's Terraces, Lake Terrace, Mt. Calisse, Pedraza Terrace, South Terrace, Riviera Norte, Rivera Sur
Climate: Moderate temperatures with virtually no danger of frost
Soil: Reddish volcanic ash, sandy loam, white volcanic ash, sandy alluvial soil with cobbles, fractured rock and gravel
The Riverside Bench
Climate: Moderate temperatures
Soil: Alluvial soil typical of the Napa Valley flood plain.
Sustainable Agriculture: As stewards of this remarkable place, we have always farmed Quintessa with sustainable practices that maintain harmony with the soil, vegetation and animal life. It is Valeria's intent to keep the soils of Quintessa as rich in microorganisms as she found them. This is achieved by avoiding all chemical controls, minimum tilling and soil disturbance, and use of diverse cover crops, which has the effect of enriching the soil's microorganisms. Valeria has planted native plants and grasses in the vineyard margins throughout the property to encourage populations of beneficial insects, and removed plants that harbor harmful grapevine pests.
Biodynamic Farming: Tuning into Nature
Building on these practices, in 1997, Valeria introduced biodynamic farming to several blocks of the Quintessa vineyard. Biodynamic farming has been utilized by civilizations for centuries but was established and popularized by Austrian scientist Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s. Based on the principle that the growth of plants is subject to the energy of the earth and the gravitational influences of the sun, moon and stars, biodynamics seeks to work with energies that create and maintain life.
Biodynamics includes timing key activities such as planting, pruning and harvesting to the phases of the moon and cosmological cycles. At Quintessa, biodynamic viticulture also revolves around the garden, where we grow plants and herbs that are utilized in a variety of biodynamic remedies Practices emphasize the health of the soil, enhancing vitality with specially prepared compost teas applied in the spring. As the growing season progresses, homeopathic preparations made with minute amounts of silica, chamomile, oak bark, stinging nettle, valerian and other herbs are sprayed on the foliage of the vines.
Each of the blocks in the biodynamic program has seen improvement in fruit quality and several which had never been a part of the Quintessa blend are part of the Quintessa cuvee in the 2002 vintage. In the summer of 2004, Valeria turned the entire 170-acre vineyard at Quintessa over to biodynamic farming. Our experience has shown us that maintaining the health and vitality of the vineyard results in fruit of exceptional quality...essential to the production of a world class wine.
Rootstock Diversity: Each of the property's vineyard blocks is carefully matched to a specific rootstock best suited for the soil type found in the block. The benefits of careful rootstock selection include better vigor control, disease resistance and drought tolerance. The vineyard team is continously re-evaluating available rootstocks and block improvement and replanting is on going.
Clonal Selection: The Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon clones chosen for the Quintessa vineyard were precisely selected to suit the soil, climate and type of wine the Huneeus's intended to produce. Fourteen clones were used, including seven Cabernet Sauvignon clones, six Merlot clones and one Cabernet Franc clone.
Trellising: The Quintessa vineyard almost entirely utilizes a unilateral cordon with vertical trellising. This allows us to manage the canopy for maximum balance, good light penetration and the proper ratio of leaves to berries.