Alder Springs Vineyard - Spirit Rock
On the hilly 6,000-acre Alder Springs Ranch in far northern Mendocino County, Stuart Bewley has been growing some of California's most outstanding wine grapes since 1993. Bewley practices his patented brand of extremist viticulture on a patchwork of vineyards perched along the steep sandstone slopes of the Coast Range. The mountainous ranch is a decidedly challenging spot to cultivate grapes, but the results have been superb.
Spirit Rock is the highest elevation planting at Alder Springs Vineyard at 2700 feet. The sparse soil contributes to intense exotic and structured Syrah. The vines ripen one cluster per shoot, and the berries are extremely small and Pinot-like. The fractured sandstone has excellent drainage, and the perennial cover crop further de-vigorates the vines. There is a bear trap that sits atop the sloping vineyard because they are fond of this particular block. Spirit Rock is so named due to large sandstone outcroppings due north of the block considered sacred to local tribes. The vines are planted in the alluvium of the sacred rock.