The Talley family owns six unique vineyards comprising 177 acres in Southern San Luis Obispo County. Rincon Vineyard, Rosemary's Vineyard, Monte Sereno Vineyard, and Las Ventanas Vineyard are located in the Arroyo Grande Valley. Oliver's Vineyard and Stone Corral Vineyard are located in the neighboring Edna Valley.
The Arroyo Grande Valley
The Arroyo Grande Valley is a federally approved American Viticultural Area (AVA) in recognition of the valley's distinctive climate and soil characteristics. It is a predominantly northeast-southwest oriented coastal valley that is recognized as one of the most temperate viticultural areas in the world. These ideal conditions result in a long and mild growing season, with bud break typically occurring in mid-February, flowering in early May and harvest in late September. Still widely planted to vegetables on the valley floor, winegrowing in the valley dates to the 1880s when Zinfandel was planted in the warmer eastern part of the valley. The modern area began in the 1980s with plantings of chardonnay and pinot noir on the hillsides of the western end of the valley, closer to the ocean. There are about 800 acres of winegrapes in the Arroyo Grande Valley with pinot noir and chardonnay predominant.
The Rincon Vineyard is located eight miles northeast of the Pacific Ocean and is the oldest of the vineyards with the first plantings dating to 1982. Rincon means “corner” in Spanish and refers to the corner of the historic Rancho Santa Manuela land grant that underlay much of Arroyo Grande Valley. In the 1860s, Francis Ziba Branch granted his son this corner and built the Rincon Adobe that stands at the entrance to Talley Vineyards and serves as the symbol of the Estate.
The vineyard is planted with 49 acres of chardonnay, 33 acres of pinot noir, and 2 acres of syrah on two steep southerly facing hillsides that rise from the floor of the Arroyo Grande Valley. Many of the vines in the Rincon Vineyard grow on their own roots and are low in vigor and yield small quantities of fruit with great concentration and complexity.
The soil in the Rincon Vineyard is shallow, and is composed of loam and calcareous clay. This soil type is reminiscent of the vineyards of Burgundy, particularly those located in the Côte de Nuits. The shallow soil, coupled with the steepness of the hills, facilitates drainage and results in chardonnay and pinot noir yields averaging less than three tons per acre.
Rosemary's Vineyard is located on a hillside surrounding Rosemary Talley's home about one mile west of the Rincon Vineyard and is characterized by white, rocky fractured sandstone and loam, with some clay in the subsoil. Like the Rincon Vineyard, Rosemary's Vineyard is steep and very well drained. Because it is closer to the ocean, it is slightly cooler. Yields average less than three tons per acre.
Planting at Rosemary's Vineyard began in 1987. The 29-acre vineyard is planted to 12 acres of chardonnay and 17 acres of pinot noir. The vineyard is divided into 14 separate sections of vines.
Monte Sereno Vineyard
The tiny Monte Sereno Vineyard was planted in 2006 about 1 mile southwest of the winery, adjacent to a steep bluff that rises from the floor of the Arroyo Grande Valley. The three acres are planted entirely to chardonnay.
Las Ventanas Vineyard
The newest vineyard in the Arroyo Grande Valley is planted along Lopez Drive less that ½ mile south of the Rincon Vineyard. The four acre vineyard is planted to pinot noir and chardonnay.
The Edna Valley
The Edna Valley is a federally approved AVA that runs from the edge of San Luis Obispo southeast where it adjoins the Arroyo Grande Valley. Winegrowing began in the valley in the 1970s, and there are currently more than 3,000 acres producing, with chardonnay and pinot noir most widely planted. Weather conditions are more extreme than the Arroyo Grande Valley, with colder temperatures in the winter, higher winds in the spring and warmer days in the late summer. Soils are diverse and range from heavy clays on the valley floor to thin sandstone and sandy clay loams on the hillsides.
Oliver's Vineyard is a 36-acre vineyard planted to chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and riesling. The first section of the vineyard was planted entirely to chardonnay in 1991 and was named in honor of Talley Farms founder Oliver Talley. The newer section, predominantly chardonnay but also including sauvignon blanc and riesling, was planted in 2006. This vineyard is characterized by heavier clay soils. The vines are moderately vigorous and yields average about three tons per acre in the original 16-acre planting.
Stone Corral Vineyard
The vineyard gets its name from the Corral de Piedra (Stone Corral in Spanish), the name of the original Spanish land grant that covered much of the Edna Valley. This 28-acre pinot noir vineyard was planted in the spring of 2001 and is made up of five distinct vineyard blocks planted to four clones of Pinot Noir. Due to
the diversity of soil types at the site, ranging from sandy clay loam at the bottom of the vineyard to fine textured sand at the top, three different low vigor rootstocks were selected. Clonal selections consist of Dijon clones 115, 667 and 777 as well as a selection from Rosemary's Vineyard.
The Stone Corral Vineyard is also unique in that the Talley family collaborated with local wineries, Stephen Ross and Kynsi, in a long-term lease arrangement. The vineyard is divided into 5 distinct vineyard blocks, with each block divided into thirds and designated for Talley Vineyards, Stephen Ross Wines and the Kynsi Winery. Brian Talley and Travis Monk manage the vineyard. In a few short years, each winery has made highly acclaimed wines from this distinctive site.