The estate vineyard sits amidst the beautiful 2000-acre ranch on Adelaida Road on the west side of Paso Robles. The vineyard was initiated in 1996 and has since been expanded to its present 281 acres. The vines occupy the steepest, most south-facing slopes on the property, which reach an elevation of 1,750 feet and provide excellent water drainage and sun exposure. These slopes are also rich in limestone, a feature of many of the world’s finest vineyards.
While Paso Robles generally is a warm growing region, vineyards on the west side of Highway 101 enjoy a markedly cooler climate due to their proximity to the Pacific Ocean and its cooling breezes. This ensures our grapes ripen slowly and evenly, developing ripe, concentrated fruit flavors while retaining healthy levels of acidity. Because Halter Ranch receives adequate winter rainfall, the need for irrigation during the growing season is minimal, ensuring small berry and cluster sizes, which also promote full flavor development.
17 grape varietals, 89 separate vineyard blocks delineated primarily based on soil types, which range from calcareous clay to clay loam with shale and sandstone deposits. Sixty percent are Bordeaux varieties and 40% Rhone varieties, plus Tempranillo. The flexibility afforded by a large collection of varieties is enhanced by the multiplicity of clonal types (genetic variations) and rootstock planted for each variety, selected for their advantageous characteristics, such as small clusters and berry sizes. The combination of well-drained soils, low-yielding clones and high-density plantings (which force the vines to compete for water and nutrients), results in small crops of intensely flavored fruit, the prerequisite for making superb wines.
The emphasis on quality in the vineyard is complemented by a commitment to environmentally responsible grape-growing practices. Farming sustainably means relying whenever possible on organic methods of fertilization, weed removal, pest control and mildew protection. In 2008 Halter Ranch achieved the SIP Certification (Sustainability in Practice), a rigorous, third party review which certifies the winery's commitment to sustainable practices.