When this vineyard was planted in the late 1960’s on the loamy sandy soil, we had hoped for extraordinary fruit from the conditions we have – and we got it! The grapes planted at HELLER ESTATE ORGANIC VINEYARDS have resulted in outstanding quality and, perhaps, the best in the region – producing some outstanding wines, which have recently received laudits from California state wine competitions and the press throughout the world.
As you know, our vineyards are dry-farmed on loamy sandy soil, the vines reaching down some thirty feet, where they seek the water levels needed. The results have been extraordinary! To add to the continuity of this wonderful situation we have, there is now an additional factor to make these great wines by Read more…
Again, for the second consecutive year, we have been awarded a Gold Medal for our PETIT VERDOT wine at the Orange County Fair Wine Competition – one of the largest and prestigious such events in the world. Our PETIT VERDOT vines originate in France, where they are traditionally used to add color and flavor to red blends and create concentrated fruit flavor on the palate. The PETIT VERDOT grape grows more reliably in regions outside of France, such as California, where it has proven an outstanding success.
THE SECRET TO GROWING PETIT VERDOT – LONG DAYS AND LOTS OF SUN – BOTH OF WHICH WE ARE ABUNDANTLY BLESSED WITH IN CARMEL VALLEY, CALIFORNIA!
To offer a chilled glass of HELLER ESTATE golden, mountain grown CHENIN BLANC is certainly a gesture that all guests and visitors appreciate and take delight in, and we too, are also most happy in the quality of this varietal we grow at our mountain vineyards, overlooking the Pacific coast in California. The cool mountain breezes, loamy soil, and dry-farmed production create this magnificent wine. What a wonderful way to start off a relationship or enhance a meeting!
The vines, which were brought to America from France by settlers in the 19th Century, have produced some phenomenal wines under the special conditions we grow them. All of these grapes are naturally grown, without the use of herbicides or pesticides, and the quality is enhanced by the fact that we stress the vines to seek the water levels provided by springs running some thirty feet under our vineyards’ surface. Consequently, they are USDA-CERTIFIED ORGANICALLY GROWN. All of the grapes used in the production of these wines originate in our vineyards only and, therefore, the wines are all Estate bottled. We do not source fruit from other vineyards.
Today, most wines are produced in a sound manner, but few of them make music. Ordinary wines are well-constructed, but there are a few that produce symphonic notes that burst on the palate. Great wines need great grapes and this is the ingredient that makes HELLER ESTATE ORGANICALLY GROWN WINES so exceptional. The soils and the growing methods produce grapes which are unmatched for quality in the area, where the vineyards are located at some 1,500 feet above sea-level in the Cachagua region of the Carmel Valley – some twenty-five miles southeast of the city of Carmel, California and the Pacific Ocean.
The name “Cachagua” is believed to have been derived by the local Native American population from the French “cacher” (hidden) and the Spanish “agua” (hidden springs) – thus, the name “Cachagua”. We have artisanal wells and mountain springs under our vineyard property, and we essentially dry-farm most of the grapes and stress the vines to seek the water levels some thirty feet below the surface – resulting in outstanding grapes which, on the palate, can produce explosive finishes like the ending crescendo of a great symphony.
To paraphrase the motto of the venerable New York Times
“All The News That’s Fit to Print”
We copy below some excerpts which recently appeared in a blog by Robert Hillyer:
“Many years ago, at my first sommelier job, I picked an obscure, organic Cabernet from Monterey as my house pour. The distributors had never heard of such a thing, but promised to get me a good “by the glass” price for an obscure product. That wine … “Cachagua” Cabernet Sauvignon, is now known as Heller Estate. The name was the Native American pronunciation of “Cache Aqua,” the Spanish name for “Hidden Waters” as the vineyards are fed by underground springs.
When I first encountered the Cab, as a waiter, it was sent back by a table as not being “California Enough.”
The bartender left it behind the bar for the somm to taste the next day, but forgot to cork it back up. When we arrived the next morning, the entire bar area smelled like blackberries. From that day on, I decanted the wine whenever anyone ordered it by the bottle. The other waiters asked me why I would decant a then-$35 bottle, and I said “Walk by the table in 15 minutes, and you tell me.” The cloud of blackberry aroma was evident from five feet away. Imagine a house wine that not only doesn’t go BAD, but gets better when open for a day or two!
In a 1787 issue of the New York Journal, a reference to the above title can be found, alluding to the idea of the oppressed of other nations having a place to go for refuge.
The phrase “They shall all sit under their own vines and fig tree” is also notably found in a well-known letter that George Washington wrote to a congregation in Rhode Island. In the letter, Washington proclaimed, “May all who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants – while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid”.
In the ensuing years, American Colonists heeded Washington’s words and began planting their own vines and fig trees in their new land. Throughout the years, the grapevine plantings have expanded throughout America, and the wines produced from them are now of world-class recognition.
Our vineyards are now approaching a half-Century after planting (1968), and the roots of these vines have now descended to some thirty feet below the surface of the hills of Carmel Valley, seeking the water levels under our vineyards. Stressing these vines to do so, happily results in outstanding fruit of quality and flavor.
Twenty years ago, we planted French prune (plum) trees around the perimeter of our vineyards. These trees play host to predatory wasps, which attack the eggs of the undesirable insects in the vineyards. Hence, it eliminates the need to apply harmful herbicides and pesticides. These beneficial wasps help support our organic vineyard program.
In addition, at the end of the harvest, a compost of grape skins, seeds and stems are spread throughout the vineyards. This creates a home to vineyard spiders, which aid in controlling unwanted insects. This maintains an eco-balance in our organic vineyard.
The grapes produced from this organic program are CERTIFIED by a USDA certifier and the corresponding certificate is issued; all of the grapes used to produce our wines are grown on our vineyard only. We do not source fruit from other vineyards.