The winery was created from the ground up as a place to make great wines. Every aspect of the design was driven by the practical needs of a world class winemaking facility. The winery space was created around our tank room and crush specifications. The same commitment we have to balance in the vineyards permeates our winery. Very classically, form follows function. The winery sits nestled into the hillside, surrounded by vineyards. The roof lines and materials are designed to fit seamlessly into the site. Rather than an imposition upon the site, it becomes part of the site. The equipment in the winery is all top flight. Our Vaslin-Bucher basket press produces lower juice yields per ton of fruit than a typical bladder press but it never extracts any harsh tannins. OurTaransaud 4 ton oak fermenters are functional works of art. The caves run straight back into the steep hill providing the perfect place for aging our wines. The caves are designed to be a “winemaker’s cave” with no detail left out. The resulting wines express the truth of our site and the balance of our vines. Our site, our vineyards, and our winemaking all combine to create wines of intensity, structure, complexity…..and beauty.
Located in beautiful and sunny Santa Rosa, California.
- We are committed to balanced, healthy vineyards, and to producing wines that reflect the integrity and distinctiveness of our site.
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Cabell joined Flanagan Vineyards as Winemaker in 2014. His obsession with winemaking began with a harvest while studying in France during his undergraduate career. After finishing his B.S., Cabell returned to France and spent a few vintages picking grapes and scrubbing floors in Burgundy, followed by a stint in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. From Oregon, Cabell moved to Christchurch, New Zealand and earned his degree in Enology and Viticulture from Lincoln University, specializing in cool climate viticulture. Cabell has also held winemaking positions at, Alder Springs Vineyard, Dumol, and Kosta Browne.
Cabell’s approach to winemaking is to use his senses in conjunction with his knowledge in biology, chemistry, and farming.
Cabell describes his philosophy:
“Winemaking is the culmination of a vast number of decisions. Starting with the site, the farming practice, the response to weather conditions, the picking date, the tank and barrel programs, ferment protocols, and continuing through blending and bottling. It is the daily decisions, actions, and sometimes lack of action that unlocks a vineyard’s highest potential. This quest to reveal each vineyards unique personality, while dealing with the challenges inherent in farming, is what makes winemaking challenging, interesting, and highly rewarding. My goal is always the same, to deliver each vineyard’s best expression in each vintage and to make a wine where the last glass is better than the first.”
Practices & Techniques
We planted all the grapes on our estate in 2001 and 2002 and have made sustainable farming practices and balanced vineyards our priority. We believe healthy vines produce a wine that is truly representative of our extraordinary site.
Some of the practices that we employ include:
-Since we planted our vines we have never tilled the soil. We use year round cover crops of native grasses to reduce erosion to a minimum.
-Our tanks are only cleaned with water and we reuse that water to irrigate the 850 olive trees we have planted. We also use all the grape must to mulch around the olive trees.
-Like many of our neighbors, we use owl and hawk boxes to keep down gophers so we don’t need poison or traps.
-We keep our caves cool by utilizing a night air cooling system. This system uses the natural diurnal temperature fluctuations to cool the caves. At night when the outside air drops below the cave temperature the vents open and the system draws in cool night air. In the morning, as the outside temperature rises, the vents shut and the natural insulation provided by the caves keeps them cool all day.
-We are currently exploring solar solutions for our site that will allow us to generate 100% of the electricity we use from solar power.
Estate Vineyards / AVA
Our Estate vineyard sits at 1200 ft. elevation on the south and southwest facing slopes of Bennett Ridge in Sonoma County and has 13 acres of vines planted. The soils are rocky, volcanic cobbles with excellent drainage. The vines were planted in 2001 and 2002 on 6 x 4 spacing. Our vineyards perch at the confluence of two maritime influences: San Pablo Bay to the south and the Petaluma Gap to the west. Being a warm site in a cool climate means we bud break early and pick late. The extra hang time for the grapes, along with the low yields and the hillside site, delivers intense, complex fruit with beautiful flavors.
We farm sustainably with year round cover crops, no tilling of the soils, and hand work on the vines. We even use the process water from the winery to water our 450 olive trees. We have had the great fortune to create this vineyard from a blank canvas. Every aspect from site selection, to vine row spacing and orientation, to trellising, to root stock and clone selection was done with the intention of producing a great wine. Our meticulous focus in the vineyard and our practice of vinifying each small block separately helps us learn from our site every year. Because of the feedback from the vineyard we now have the southwest facing slopes planted to Syrah, while the south facing higher elevation sights remain planted to Cabernet and Merlot.
Current acres in vine by varietal: