A Stoneboat is a flat sledge for carrying stones; originally used to clear our home vineyard of its abundant river rocks. We named our vineyards as a tribute to the original caretakers of our vineyards, who laboriously cleared the land of rocks to cultivate it. To us, a stoneboat is representative of qualities that we value: hard work, tradition and perseverance.
The Role of Our Stones
Our Pinots thrive in the rocky, calcareous soils of our three vineyards; these characteristics are unique to a tiny area on the Black Sage Bench. Similar soils are found in Burgundy, France's famed Pinot region. Though they tend to make farming more difficult, the stones are very important to our vineyards and our wines.
Our stones also retain the heat of the day and radiate it towards the plants during the night- much like hot water bottles. This is especially important during the fall in our desert climate, which involves particularly warm days and cool nights.
Though our vineyards were at one point cleared of river stones (with a stoneboat), new rocks are always working their way up to the surface, making rock-picking a fairly common event. What rocks don't fit under the plants get piled on the edges of the vineyards. We are fortunate to have tractors and buckets in helping us do this work, but it largely remains the same as 75 years ago; a good shovel and some shoulder muscles are a necessity.