volcanic soils, complex flavors

high-elevation vines

Terra Bella is a 42-acre vineyard planted to Cabernet Sauvignon in the late 1990s. Its elevation rises above 2,000 feet, making it exceptional in American viticulture. Just three percent of California’s wine grapes are grown at altitudes over 1,000 feet.

Our Sobrante-Guenoc-Hambright soils are wine-red in color due to their high iron content, and glitter with black obsidian and quartz crystals. These volcanic soils have excellent calcium to magnesium ratios, and are deep and well drained. The well-drained nature of the soils allows the vigneron to control the balance of the vines with judicious irrigation, maximizing quality and the terroir of the site. Our investment in computer controlled irrigation technology allows for the berries to stay well hydrated through harvest and irrigate as needed, at any time. With no soil layers restricting root growth, the roots are allowed to make full use of the soil volume, leading to more healthy and well-balanced vines.

Terra Bella is located in the shadow of the dormant Mount Konocti volcano and less than a mile from a sheltered lower cove of 18-mile-long Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in California. Our sloped site enjoys a Mediterranean-like climate of hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters. The site is sloped to the northeast, with a 12” wide stacked T trellis, ameliorating the direct rays of the hot summer months so that the fruit color is allowed to develop without excess heat exposure. As a result, Terra Bella’s mountain fruit offers a complex, rich and unique flavor profile.