Our vineyard is a combination of loam to sandy loam soil, which sits above a layer of broken caliche and underlying volcanic basalt. The depth of the loam soils varies because of the wind erosion that’s occurred over the ages; thus, creating shallower soils on the north slopes and depositing those eroded soils to the south slopes. The diversity in our soils allows for deeper root development, exceptional drainage, and retention of heat within the soil. Overall, making it the perfect home for our highly desired grapes.
We have constant air movement across the top of the Frenchman Hills throughout all seasons, mimicking desert-like conditions. This results in an environment where the potential for mildew pressure is less likely to occur during the growing season and helps reduce the potential for freeze damage through the winter months. Rainfall within our vineyard is only 6 to 8 inches annually, which requires us to use irrigation methods that control grape development. Our advanced state-of-the-art in-house designed irrigation system was built specifically for our vineyard, carefully considering the soils, topography, and climate. Our grapes have a longer hang time when fall brings its warmer days and cooler nights without accumulating excessive sugar while retaining beautiful acidity, balance, and desirable flavors.
With one of the rarest terrains in the AVA, Frenchman Hills Vineyard is situated on extremely steep north and south-facing slopes. These directional slopes within our canopy allow several unique characteristics, from drastic elevation changes (1,750 to 1,390 ft) to soils that were not affected by the Missoula Flood. Our grapes are planted in east-west rows to take advantage of the sun exposure on our north and south-facing slopes. Our red varieties benefit from the warm to hot temperatures of the south-facing slope, while our white varieties flourish from the north-facing slope and cooler temperatures.