Geographically, the Petaluma Gap borders West Marin and Valley Ford on the west, then follows Chileno Valley and Spring Hill Roads to Adobe Road on the east, Cotati on the north and Lakeville on the southeast. Climatically, as the inland valley air heats up, it pulls the cool coastal air into a naturally formed 15-mile-wide “gap” in the coastal range mountains. The wind flows off the ocean between Tomales Bay and Bodega Bay, builds up speed as it funnels through the gap, then empties into San Francisco Bay. Wind and fog define the area, giving the term “micro-climate” real meaning. This ever-present wind and Ron’s love of sailing inspired the design of our wine label.
The daily weather pattern starts with crisp coolness and a blanket of fog early-to-mid-morning. By late morning the sun has chased away the fog and the temperatures rise. By mid-afternoon, however, the cool breezes return, flowing west to east, picking up speed as the afternoon progresses and bringing in the almost nightly fog. There are daily temperature swings of forty to fifty degrees. This cooling “wind tunnel” effect means the vineyard yields are smaller and grapes ripen later, developing wonderful flavors and fruit characteristics, while maintaining ideal levels of acidity. It’s the perfect recipe for intense but well-balanced Pinot Noir.