ST. HELENA VINEYARD
Our predecessor at Casa Nuestra, Captain John Thomas Blackburn, a retired World War II hero, not only gave the name to the property but he also planted the vineyards. Tom kept a journal, in which he meticulously recorded his daily agricultural endeavours. He planted Chenin Blanc in 1961 and Riesling in 1970, both still in production today.
When Tom planted his vines, there were few other vineyards in the area. Even Silverado Trail had been a simple gravel road not long before, looking much like our gravel driveway today.
The original four-acre vineyard that we purchased from Tom in 1975, grew to 16 acres in the course of the following few years.
St. Helena Vineyard plantings
Our oldest 1.4 acre parcel was planted to Chenin Blanc in 1961. This Roman-style, head-pruned, vineyard grows on the southern portion of Casa Nuestra’s estate.
Our western-facing hillside vineyard, named La Jolla del Norte or the Jewel of the North, is situated on the other side of the Silverado Trail. This 5.1 acre vineyard supplies our Cabernet Sauvignon, with only seven of its precious rows, as well as its fence-line producing Riesling.
The vineyards on the northern portion of the estate contain 1.7 acres of Cabernet Franc planted in 1997; 2.2 acres of the Tinto field mix planted in 1992; as well as 5.3 acres of Merlot, planted in 1989, and a few rows each of Petit Sirah, Zinfandel, and Refosco.
We have been committed to sustainable farming practices to keep the estate’s ecosystem in good health. We stopped using chemical herbicides and pesticides in 1979 and replaced them with organic techniques such as composting, cover crops and sheep! We are now 'employing' twenty-some English Baby Doll sheep to manage a portion of our mowing.
All work in the vineyard, from pruning to harvesting, is done by hand. It is very labor intensive but we believe that outstanding wine can only be made from outstanding fruit.