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Quivira Vineyard and Winery

Sonoma County County is an Epicurean Eden populated with Organic Vineyards producing world-class wines. Quivira’s vineyards, farms and organic gardens beckon foodie and wine tourists.

Karen LeBlanc, aka The Design Tourist, touring Quivira's organic gardens in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley.
Karen LeBlanc, aka The Design Tourist, touring Quivira’s organic gardens in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley.

On a recent press tour to Sonoma County to experience its sustainable winemaking practices, I visited Quivira Vineyard and Winery  Located in Dry Creek Valley on a 110-acre estate at the confluence of Wine Creek and Dry Creek, Quivira produces Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc and Rhône varieties that embody its unique terroir: gravelly soil and sandy loam planted with 59 acres of vines.

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Quivira is comprised of three separate vineyards which are located within the unique Dry Creek Valley AVA

Quivira’s name has an interesting backstory. The founders, Harry and Holly Wendt are known for their world-class collection of old maps. Quivira was the name on maps of the California coast dating back to the 1500s denoting the land where present-day Sonoma County is located. The Wendts sold Quivira to Pete and Terri Kight in 2006 who currently own the vineyard and winery. 

Quivira's Wine Creek Ranch is the coldest site in Dry Creek Valley; this is optimal for preserving acidity in the Sauvignon Blanc and Rhônes planted on the valley floor.
Quivira’s Wine Creek Ranch is the coldest site in Dry Creek Valley; this is optimal for preserving acidity in the Sauvignon Blanc and Rhônes planted on the valley floor.

“Our vineyards go back to the early 70s with some of our purchase grapes from local old vine vineyards dating back over 100 years. There are still some amazing old vines in vineyards around here that really put Dry Creek Valley on the map with arguably some of the finest Zinfandel on the planet,” says Hugh Chappelle, Quivira winemaker.  

Quivira's Wine Creek Ranch in Dry Creek Valley location is open for tours and tastings
Quivira’s Wine Creek Ranch in Dry Creek Valley location is open for tours and tastings

Dry Creek Valley is known for producing Zinfandels but Chappelle points out its dramatic temperature swings are optimal for Sauvignon Blancs. “Probably the two areas best known for top Sauvignon Blanc in Sonoma are Russian River and Dry Creek Valley. Russian River has cooler days but warmer nights. Dry Creek Valley often has warmer days but colder nights. We get wonderfully ripe flavors and aromas almost every year with an acidity that can be pretty bracing on its own,” says Chappelle.

Hugh Chappelle, Quivira winemaker
Hugh Chappelle, Quivira winemaker

With summer days in Dry Creek Valley reaching up to 100 degrees and nights dipping into the high 40s, the swing in temperature actually allows the acidity to be retained in the Sauvignon Blanc, giving a distinctive character to the wines. To buffer the Sav Blanc’s acidity, Quivira ages the wine in a mix of stainless steel and older French oak barrels.

Quivira ages its wines in a combination of steel tanks and oak barrels.
Quivira ages its wines in a combination of steel tanks and oak barrels.

The vineyard is sustainably certified for its holistic and biodiverse practices that include solar power, managing its own half-acre compost pile and water conservation practices.  “That certification is reflective of our stewardship of the land. Biodiversity is a philosophical touchstone for us. Instead of depleting resources from the vineyards, we are naturally replenishing nutrients back into the soil which nourishes the grapes, ultimately resulting in better quality wine. Quivira is also involved in habitat restoration projects in Wine Creek and Dry Creek for Coho salmon and Steelhead trout,” says Chappelle.  

QuiviraVineyardVisaQuivira’s winegrowing program is a collaboration between winemaker Hugh Chappelle and viticulturist Ned Horton, the vineyard manager who aligns the property’s farming practices for fine winemaking. 

Viticulturist Ned Horton, the vineyard manager at Quivira.
Viticulturist Ned Horton, the vineyard manager at Quivira.

The property has an organic garden open for tours, a working farm, apiary and livestock, all enhancing its biodiversity.

Quivira's organic gardens are open for tours as part of a visit to the vineyard and winery at WineCreek Ranch in Sonoma County.
Quivira’s organic gardens are open for tours as part of a visit to the vineyard and winery at Wine Creek Ranch in Sonoma County.

We are also committed to integrating plants, animals, and microbes into Quivira’s natural surroundings and creating perfectly balanced self-regulating systems. Quivira is unique in that we not only create all of our prepared vineyard applications, but we grow the material on the Estate,” says Ned Horton, vineyard manager. 

Wine tasting on the patio at Quivira overlooking Mount St. Helena and the vineyards.
Wine tasting on the patio at Quivira overlooking Mount St. Helena and the vineyards.

Sitting out on the patio overlooking Mount St. Helena, I taste several of Quivira’s organically farmed wines including a small lot, handcrafted 2018 Rose Wine Creek Ranch that has earned Quivira 90 plus scores from all the three major wine critic publications. “It is a specialty of the house, even before Rose became so crazy trendy. Our Rose comes from a single vineyard and is estate bottled and certified organic,” says Chappelle. 

2018 Rose Wine Creek Ranch
2018 Rose Wine Creek Ranch

I also taste a 2017 Alder Grove Sauvignon Blanc, a new vintage that blends Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and recently rated 93 by Wine Spectator. “This is a fuller bodied expression and because of its softer acidity. I finish with Quivira’s signature Sauvignon Blanc, a single vineyard estate bottled and certified organic fruit. “Quivira is very distinctive stylistically. We love Sav Blancs because the alcohol is low so it has that wonderful drinkability and pairs well with a variety of foods. It’s a thirst-quenching wine that ages well. We get a racier acidity by picking the grapes a little earlier which also allows the wine to age fabulously,” says Chappelle. 

For information on Quivira’s Estate Tastings and tours go to https://quivirawine.com

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a freelance writer living in Orlando, Florida with many published bylines in magazines, newspapers, and multimedia sites. As a professional lifestyle writer, Karen specializes in art, architecture, design, home interiors and personality profiles. Karen is the writer, producer and host of the streaming series, The Design Tourist (www.TheDesignTourist.com) that brings viewers a global dose of design inspiration with episodes featuring the latest looks and trends from the world’s premiere design events and shows. She also publishes a quarterly magazine on design travel that you can read by clicking the link: https://thedesigntourist.com/the-magazine/ Her journalism background includes seven years on-air experience as a TV news reporter and anchor covering a range of issues from education to politics. Her educational credentials include a Master of Arts in Mass Communications from Northeast Louisiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Louisiana State University. Throughout her career, Karen has written and produced dozens of documentaries and videos for educational, commercial, corporate, and governmental clients and appeared in many TV and video productions as a professional host.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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