There is an unfortunate perception by some wine consumers that to make great quality wine, you must own your own vineyards. That unfortunately isn’t accurate, and some of the leading small winemakers in Calfornia, and the press for their wines, reinforce this.


Two Shepherds, like many other small wineries, essentially ‘leases’ parts of vineyards. Often under long term contract, rows or blocks of the vineyard are farmed to our specification for leaf pulling, fruit removal, irrigation, and more. Of course, owning a vineyard is wonderful, but without unlimited capital most small wineries would never be able to bring you the wines that they do, or have the freedom they do to create unique, captivating, rare wines.


Were it not for this unique arrangement, almost unheard in Europe, Two Shepherds could never bring you some of the special vintages, such as the 2013 Grenache Gris, made from 100 year old vines, or the 2013 Cinsault, on the oldest surviving Cinsault vineyard in the world.


Below are highlights of some of the vineyards Two Shepherds worked with in 2013, and why.


  • Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley

    • The only planting of Marsanne & Roussanne in the AVA, one of the few Grenache Noir plantings. (I also source Viognier, and one of the few hill side plantings of Syrah in RRV.) The modest mid 80’s days and cool 55 degree foggy nights allows for long slow gradual ripening and excellent acidity.


  • Catie’s Corner, Russian River Valley

    • The only planting of Grenache Blanc in RRV, budded over on old Merlot vines. Owned/farmed by famed growe Saralee Kunde.

  • Bechtold Vineyard, Lodi

    • The world’s oldest surviving Cinsault vineyard, 125 years old, sustainably & dry farmed, head trained on native rootstock.

  • Saarloos Vineyard, Santa Ynez.

    • One of the older Grenache Blanc vineyards in CA. This particular block ripens very slowly, typically picking Grenache Blanc at 22-23 brix, late October, a week after Cabernet in the same vineyard at 25 brix.

  • Windsor Oaks Vineyards

    • One of the few plantings of Mourvedre in Russian River Valley, a challenge to ripen each year in the cool Russian River Valley.
  • El Dorado, David Girard Vineyard

    • Wonderful granite based soils for Marsanne & Roussanne, farmed by 30 year Rhone legend Ron Mansfield, used by Donkey & Goat, and others.
  • Gibson Ranch, Mendocino

    • Recently recovered 100 year old head trained Grenache Gris vineyard. Gorgeous vines yielding ~2 tons acre, low for Grenache family.