Chêne Vineyards is a small boutique vineyard that sells grapes to a select group of local wine makers.
Clones in the Vineyard
Chêne encompasses six-and-half acres of densely-planted vineyard, with approximately 12,000 vines on the property. Soil composition is a mix of ancient seabed sand dunes and volcanic tuff sandstone, a result of volcanic activity that shaped the valley and the vineyard’s close proximity to the Pacific Ocean. One acre is dedicated to the Wente Chardonnay clone and the remaining acres consist of four different Pinot Noir clones: 2A, 777, 115, and 667. The vineyard was planted in 2010 and focuses on organic and biodynamic farming practices. In June of 2020, we received our Demeter certification, a crowning achievement for our ten year anniversary, making it the second Demeter certified biodynamic vineyard in the Edna Valley appellation.
All Pinot Noir clones planted in North America originally came from France. In the early 1970s, three Pinot Noir clones were available from University of California at Davis: Pommard (UCD 4), Wädenswil and a third minor clone mislabeled as Gamay Beaujolais. The Wädenswil clone was a selection done by the Swiss Federal Research Station in Wädenswil, Switzerland in the 1950s from ancient clones brought to the Zurich area by Swiss mercenaries who fought for the King of France in the Burgundian Wars of the 1470s.
PN CL 2A
Pinot Noir 2A Clone is a Swiss clone (Wädenswil) that was developed to be early ripening with intense color and vibrant fruit. It ripens differently than the Dijon clones in our vineyard and has notes of blackberry, cassis, rose petals, and something like a strawberry-rhubarb pie. It has moderate vigor, moderate to high yields, compact cylindrical clusters, good color and fair tolerance for a variety of mesoclimates. It’s valued in Oregon and northern California as a blending component for its brilliant, high-toned berry fruit and impressive perfume.
PN CL 777
Pinot Noir 777 Clone is one of the so-called Dijon clones. Originally from Morey St. Denis in the Cote d’Or, it is at the heart of some of Burgundy’s greatest reds. This clone’s typically smaller grape size and bunch weights make for intensity in both the fruit flavors and aromatics. 777 is a pretty aromatic clone. It has great color, forward fruit and spice, and a soft, elegant structure are hallmarks of 777.
PN CL 115
Pinot Noir 115 Clone is by far the most widely planted clone of Pinot Noir and may be the most interesting of the Dijon clones. Winemakers use it primarily for its deep color and fairly tannic weight. It has been the most important clone in the past decade of California vineyard development. Clone 115 works great on its own, but also serves as the spine for many winemaker’s entire Pinot program.
PN CL 667
Pinot Noir 667 Clone is one of the Dijon clones that has become increasingly popular in California Pinot Noir plantings. It has small, tight clusters making for naturally lower yields. Tends to ripen later, giving fully developed aromatics and flavors in good weather years. Decent color, a blackberry / plum flavor profile with spice rack undertones. A very popular clone for high-end bottlings.
CH CL Wente
The Chardonnay Wente Clone is the source material for 80% of American Chardonnay plantings today. It began in 1883 when Carl Wente bought 47 acres of vineyard in Livermore Valley. Then in 1912, his son Ernest persuaded him to import cuttings from the vine nursery in Montpellier, France. Around the same time, he obtained Chardonnay budwood from the Gier Vineyard in Pleasanton. Over the next 30-40 years, Ernest selected vines that showed favorable traits, and re-planted them to establish the Wente Clone of Chardonnay.