Mt. Harlan Vineyards

Calera’s vineyards soar at an average of 2200 feet above sea level and are cooled by the direct flow of cold marine air off the Pacific Ocean through the Monterey Bay coast, towards the upper elevations of the Gavilan Mountain Range and Mt. Harlan. The elevation further moderates the climate in what many expect to be a hot growing region reducing the temperature about three degrees for every 1000 feet of height in elevation.

In 2008 the Mt. Harlan vineyards were certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) for organic farming practices. Like much of California the summer growing season is very dry which reduces the need for pesticides. Instead, beneficial insects to reduce pest bug populations, compost mixtures to enhance the organic content of the mountain soils, and cover crop methods to improve soil nutrient levels are natural ways to combat any viticultural problems. A dedicated vineyard crew makes multiple trips through the vines on a daily basis to ensure appropriate vineyard management to produce the best fruit possible. The fruit of their labor is precious with crops rarely exceeding two tons per acre, emphasizing quality over quantity.


Mt. Harlan Vineyards

(click on a vineyard to learn more)

Mt. Harlan Vineyards

Selleck (4.8 acres) Reed (4.4 acres) Jensen (13.8 acres) Mills (14.4 acres) Ryan (13.1 acres) De Villiers (15.6 acres) Aligoté (0.4 acres) Viognier (5.3 acres) Chardonnay (6.1 acres) Young Chardonnay (4.3 acres) The Calera

Selleck (4.8 acres)

Grape: Pinot Noir
Soil: Decomposed granite, limestone outcroppings, very rocky
Exposure: South/Southwest facing
Fruit: Most concentrated fruit but a low yielding vineyard averaging just above one ton per acre
Age: Planted 1975
History: Named after Dr. George Selleck, a family friend who first introduced Josh to wine
Style: Concentrated and complex wines with great perfume and Burgundian style with great aging potential

Selleck (4.8 acres)

Grape: Pinot Noir
Soil: Decomposed granite, limestone outcroppings, very rocky
Exposure: South/Southwest facing
Fruit: Most concentrated fruit but a low yielding vineyard averaging just above one ton per acre
Age: Planted 1975
History: Named after Dr. George Selleck, a family friend who first introduced Josh to wine
Style: Concentrated and complex wines with great perfume and Burgundian style with great aging potential


Reed (4.4 acres)

Grape: Pinot Noir
Soil: Deepest and darkest soil with more clay than other vineyards
Exposure: North and Northeast facing
Fruit: Slow to ripen and typically last to ripen annually
Age: Planted 1975
History: Named after William (Bill) G. Reed, Sr. one of Josh’s original partners and investors and a close friend
Style: Forward and aromatic, lighter and somewhat exotic with exceptional softness on the palate

Reed (4.4 acres)

Grape: Pinot Noir
Soil: Deepest and darkest soil with more clay than other vineyards
Exposure: North and Northeast facing
Fruit: Slow to ripen and typically last to ripen annually
Age: Planted 1975
History: Named after William (Bill) G. Reed, Sr. one of Josh’s original partners and investors and a close friend
Style: Forward and aromatic, lighter and somewhat exotic with exceptional softness on the palate


Jensen (13.8 acres)

Grape: Pinot Noir
Exposure: Four hillside blocks, each with a different exposure
Fruit: Yield about 1.5 tons per acre of very intense small berry fruit
Age: Planted 1975
History: Named after Stephen Jensen, Josh’s father
Style: Impeccably balanced, rich, round and age-worthy wines

Jensen (13.8 acres)

Grape: Pinot Noir
Exposure: Four hillside blocks, each with a different exposure
Fruit: Yield about 1.5 tons per acre of very intense small berry fruit
Age: Planted 1975
History: Named after Stephen Jensen, Josh’s father
Style: Impeccably balanced, rich, round and age-worthy wines


Mills (14.4 acres)

Grape: Pinot Noir
Exposure: South-facing hillsides slope towards Harlan Creek
Fruit: Planted on its own roots with material from the original pinot noir vineyards
Age: Planted 1984
History: Named for Everett Mills, a neighbor and friend who always kept an eye on Josh’s progress during the early development years
Style: Fragrant and spicy, with broad round tannins and a long finish

Mills (14.4 acres)

Grape: Pinot Noir
Exposure: South-facing hillsides slope towards Harlan Creek
Fruit: Planted on its own roots with material from the original pinot noir vineyards
Age: Planted 1984
History: Named for Everett Mills, a neighbor and friend who always kept an eye on Josh’s progress during the early development years
Style: Fragrant and spicy, with broad round tannins and a long finish


Ryan (13.1 acres)

Grape: Pinot Noir
Exposure: West facing, our highest vineyard reaching 2500 feet above sea level
Fruit: Planted more densely than the other vineyards
Age: Upper planted 1998 (9.4 acres) and lower planted 2001 (3.7 acres)
History: Named after Jim Ryan, Calera’s vineyard manager since 1979, a surprise to Jim until he saw the first vintage in bottle (2002)
Style: The young vines from the Ryan vineyard produce wines of bright, lively red fruit just beginning to hint at that definitive Mt. Harlan minerality

Ryan (13.1 acres)

Grape: Pinot Noir
Exposure: West facing, our highest vineyard reaching 2500 feet above sea level
Fruit: Planted more densely than the other vineyards
Age: Upper planted 1998 (9.4 acres) and lower planted 2001 (3.7 acres)
History: Named after Jim Ryan, Calera’s vineyard manager since 1979, a surprise to Jim until he saw the first vintage in bottle (2002)
Style: The young vines from the Ryan vineyard produce wines of bright, lively red fruit just beginning to hint at that definitive Mt. Harlan minerality


De Villiers (15.6 acres)

Grape: Pinot Noir
Exposure: Planted between Mills and Jensen, generally East facing 
Age: Planted in 1997
History: named for Marq de Villiers, author of "The Heartbreak Grape", which tells the creation story of Calera
Style: Showy and forward with chewy and juicy fruit character, and a rich, lush round mouthfeel

De Villiers (15.6 acres)

Grape: Pinot Noir
Exposure: Planted between Mills and Jensen, generally East facing 
Age: Planted in 1997
History: named for Marq de Villiers, author of "The Heartbreak Grape", which tells the creation story of Calera
Style: Showy and forward with chewy and juicy fruit character, and a rich, lush round mouthfeel


Aligoté (0.4 acres)

Grape: Aligoté
Exposure: Two rows in Jensen and four in the Chardonnay vineyard 
Age: Planted in 2005 & 2008
History: A white variety from Burgandy, only 330 vines total planted
Style: An easy drinking white, it offers a juicy, tart wine with notes of apple blossom and gooseberry.

Aligoté (0.4 acres)

Grape: Aligoté
Exposure: Two rows in Jensen and four in the Chardonnay vineyard 
Age: Planted in 2005 & 2008
History: A white variety from Burgandy, only 330 vines total planted
Style: An easy drinking white, it offers a juicy, tart wine with notes of apple blossom and gooseberry.


Viognier (5.3 acres)

Grape: Viognier
Exposure: South facing limestone slope
Age: Original planting 1983 (2.2 acres) with additional planted 1989 (3.1 acres)
History: Some of the first Viognier planted in California, the southerly exposure created conditions in which the vines had an early struggle but the payoff has been worthwhile
Style: Low yields offer up concentration and intense aromatics but maintain a characteristic minerality rarely found in this grape elsewhere in California

Viognier (5.3 acres)

Grape: Viognier
Exposure: South facing limestone slope
Age: Original planting 1983 (2.2 acres) with additional planted 1989 (3.1 acres)
History: Some of the first Viognier planted in California, the southerly exposure created conditions in which the vines had an early struggle but the payoff has been worthwhile
Style: Low yields offer up concentration and intense aromatics but maintain a characteristic minerality rarely found in this grape elsewhere in California


Chardonnay (6.1 acres)

Grape: Chardonnay
Exposure: Same south facing slope as Mills Vineyard
Age: This older Chardonnay vineyard was planted in 1984
History: This vineyard was planted on its own roots using plant material from stray Chardonnay vines that were found interspersed among the Pinot vines of the original vineyards
Fruit: Each year this vineyard yields only slightly more than 2 tons per acre of very intense flavorful Chardonnay fruit

Style: Leaner and more mineral than a typical California Chardonnay the wines carry a creamy texture and a leanness that are unique due to the limestone soil

Chardonnay (6.1 acres)

Grape: Chardonnay
Exposure: Same south facing slope as Mills Vineyard
Age: This older Chardonnay vineyard was planted in 1984
History: This vineyard was planted on its own roots using plant material from stray Chardonnay vines that were found interspersed among the Pinot vines of the original vineyards
Fruit: Each year this vineyard yields only slightly more than 2 tons per acre of very intense flavorful Chardonnay fruit

Style: Leaner and more mineral than a typical California Chardonnay the wines carry a creamy texture and a leanness that are unique due to the limestone soil


Young Chardonnay (4.3 acres)

Grape: Chardonnay
Exposure: Opposing southwest and northeast facing blocks
Age: The younger Chardonnay was planted in 1998
Rootstock: 5C, 110R, 1103P
Style: A full, creamy texture fills the palate while wowing the taster with restrained yet rich flavors accented by Mt. Harlan’s signature limestone minerality

Young Chardonnay (4.3 acres)

Grape: Chardonnay
Exposure: Opposing southwest and northeast facing blocks
Age: The younger Chardonnay was planted in 1998
Rootstock: 5C, 110R, 1103P
Style: A full, creamy texture fills the palate while wowing the taster with restrained yet rich flavors accented by Mt. Harlan’s signature limestone minerality


The Calera

Limekilns played a vital part in California's history from the "Mission" days into the early 1900s by providing lime for building construction and agricultural purposes. The peak of lime production (through the heating of limestone) took place in the latter half of the 19th century. Our limekiln was in use as early as 1890, perhaps earlier, burning locally quarried Pre-Cretaceous limestone (that's over 145 million years old!). The limekiln probably went out of use in 1907. Many of the previously numerous California limekilns have been destroyed or are significantly degraded. The Calera limekiln was restored in 1997.

The Calera

Limekilns played a vital part in California's history from the "Mission" days into the early 1900s by providing lime for building construction and agricultural purposes. The peak of lime production (through the heating of limestone) took place in the latter half of the 19th century. Our limekiln was in use as early as 1890, perhaps earlier, burning locally quarried Pre-Cretaceous limestone (that's over 145 million years old!). The limekiln probably went out of use in 1907. Many of the previously numerous California limekilns have been destroyed or are significantly degraded. The Calera limekiln was restored in 1997.