Defined by its unique wind and fog conditions and their effect on the vines, the Petaluma Gap was designated on December 7, 2017, as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). The Petaluma Gap produces premium grapes that make it one of California’s best areas for growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah. Just 25 miles north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, it’s also the premier gateway to the Sonoma Coast and northern Marin County wine region. Keller Estate's vineyard is the Petaluma Gap's founding members.
A typical summer day in the Gap begins with a distinctive, crisp coolness and a blanket of morning fog. By late morning the sun chases away the fog and temperatures rise. However, by mid-afternoon, the cooling maritime breezes begin, picking up speed as the afternoon progresses and bringing in fog almost every night. This cooling "wind tunnel" effect distinguishes the Petaluma Gap from our neighboring winegrowing areas. The impact of the wind results in lower yields and grapes that reach physiological ripeness much later and at lower sugar levels while developing intense flavors with ideal levels of acidity.
Wind and fog are the keys to this Northern California AVA, where vineyards are tucked into valleys and scattered on hillsides in perfect harmony with the area’s rural open space and rich agricultural history. A wind gap in the coastal mountain range funnels cooling breezes and fog east from the Pacific Ocean through the city of Petaluma and south to San Pablo Bay.
The diversity of our wines comes from years of vineyard exploration, a careful understanding of the Petaluma Gap, how our grapes grow in this wine region, and respect for the essence of our fruit.
Our sustainably certified vineyard incorporates practices derived from organics and regenerative farming that we have learned over the years. These practices include bee-keeping, owl and bat boxes, a flock of over 200 sheep that graze and fertilize our land, and careful management of the pond system that ensures our water supply.
Currently we are re-planting 18 acres of our original vineyard, planted in 1989. As we've learned more about our region, we are making changes to ensure our vineyard will produce beautiful grapes for the next 40 years.
La Cruz Vineyard
The ancient seabed of the San Pablo Bay is mineral rich, with clay soils that define this vineyard. Planted to chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah, viognier, and pinot gris, this is the heart of Keller Estate. Typical to this vineyard is a bright acidity and signature spice notes. In 1989, the first Chardonnay vines were planted, and La Cruz Vineyard was born, years ahead of Keller Estate producing wine.
El Coro Vineyard
Sitting at the ridgetop of the Estate, this vineyard's loam soils are even more exposed to the wind than the La Cruz Vineyard. Planted exclusively to Pinot Noir, this jewel offers extraordinarily complex pinot noirs with delicate aromatics and structured tanins.
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