Spring 2015

This time of year is exciting and vibrant in the vineyard. Lush cover crop grows between and within our vine rows, the hillsides are still green and alive from the small amount of rain we received in December and early March. Crickets, California peeper frogs, songbirds and afternoon breezes echo all day among our awakening vines.

I am lucky enough to experience this tranquility each and every day as I move through the vineyard and the surrounding Heller Estate ranch on the edge of the vast Ventana Wilderness. 

Sharing this experience is normally limited to co-workers, family and close friends. But, having enjoyed each and every cranny of this land where our grapes are grown and some spectacular wines are made for the past fifteen years, I feel as though many of our wine club members would enjoy this experience, as well. The opportunity to walk our vineyard blocks and explore multiple varieties growing during the seasons is not only a conduit to understanding where and how our wines come to exist but also a wonderful natural environment experience.

Those of us interested in our natural surroundings and our native flora and fauna, I am certain, would greatly appreciate time spent in the vineyard and the oak studded hillsides of the Cachagua Valley.

Come out and explore the delicate moment of bud burst, view vestigial clusters of chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. Feel the tender leaves and shoots of our 48 year old vines while kicking through the soil responsible for their sustenance.

Most days, multiple birds can be viewed and listened to as the rows of vine pass beneath one’s feet. Mountain bluebirds are spectacularly blue, wrens sing at almost deafening levels, acorn woodpeckers and flickers flit in and out among our stands of ancient valley and coast live oaks, red shouldered hawks perch and swoop down on unsuspecting small critters and – on especially lucky days – golden eagles appear soaring above the vineyards looking for afternoon treats.

Waking outside of the vineyard and up into the mountainside provides another spectacular experience as we climb from about the 1,500 feet elevation (where our vines are located) up over Hennickson’s ridge high above the Cachagua Valley at about 2,200 feet. Here, we can view the valley like nowhere else as well as gaze out upon the massively beautiful Ventana Wilderness, and the Los Padres Dam.

Experiencing this view and the surrounding depths of the wilderness really gives one a rounded perspective of how special the vineyards at Heller truly are. Remote, wild, rugged, intense, harsh are all adjectives that describe the lands surrounding our little slice of heaven.

I hope to raise some interest in our wine club members for organized hikes throughout the vineyards and surrounding Heller property in the months to come. Anyone with interest may contact me at my email,tanguay.rich@gmail.com and perhaps we can begin planning an experience for everyone to enjoy.

As always, thank you for supporting our organic vineyards and winery deep in the Cachagua Valley. We truly hope that you enjoy the wines you receive this and every quarter. Our continued goal is to provide luscious and reflective wines for you to enjoy with your friends and family.


Rich Tanguay, Winemaker