The "magnificent old vines that were in my own backyard" are what inspired Fred Cline to pioneer Rhone-style wines almost 30 years, before the varietals were popular in California. Cline Cellars now bears the reputation for producing some of the finest Rhône-style wines and Zinfandels in California.
Oakley – Ancient Vines
The Oakley ranch in Contra Costa County, 40 miles east of San Francisco, is home to some of the oldest and most rare grapevines in California. Some were planted more than 120 years ago. Cline’s Mourvèdre, Carignane and Zinfandel are sourced from these ancient vines. The sandy soil, deep roots, and a climate of hot days and cool nights—thanks to the confluence the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers nearby—make for vines that produce fruit of legendary intensity.
Carneros – The Estate
In 1991, Cline Cellars relocated to the coveted Carneros region in Sonoma. Afternoon winds from San Pablo Bay cool the blistering summer days, giving the grapes more time to ripen on the vine and create more flavor. The shallow clay and loam soils help the vines produce small, tight clusters of luscious fruit with an elegant balance of acidity and mineral. The estate is planted to Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne.
Sonoma Coast – Petaluma Gap
After fully developing the Carneros property, Fred Cline planted vineyards in nearby Petaluma, where the coastal fog and frequent rainfall create conditions similar to those of France’s Alsace region. As in Oakley, these vines produce a lower yield, but a superior fruit.