Fiddlestix Vineyard – Sta. Rita Hills

Welcome to our video podcast Fiddlestix Vineyard – Video Show #60.

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Located in the heart of the Sta. Rita Hills, Fiddlestix Vineyard is the brainchild of Kathy Joseph, proprietor of Fiddlehead Cellars. A UC Davis alumni, Kathy worked under Zelma Long at Simi Winery before branching out on her own. She’s always made Pinot Noir – usually from two sources, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and the Santa Maria Valley. However, when Robert Mondavi bought Santa Maria’s Sierra Madre Vineyard in the mid-’90s, Kathy needed to look for a new source of fruit. The location she finally selected was about 122 acres, located directly across the road from the historic Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. After purchasing the land in 1996, she selected rootstalk and began preparation for planting. At this point, Kathy approached Beringer and offered them an opportunity to buy in on a 50/50 basis. They recognized the potential of the site, wanted to partner with Fiddlehead and bought 1/2 of the vineyard development to get 1/2 of the fruit. In retrospect, the partnership with Beringer seems to be the best of both worlds – Kathy has the autonomy to manage the vineyard, and both she and Beringer share the fruits of her labors.

Planted in 1998 to 100 acres of Pinot Noir, the spacing at Fiddlestix is tight, with vines planted 4 feet apart, and each row 7 feet wide – resulting in 1,556 vines per acre. The vineyard is made up of 32 mini-blocks, representing different combinations of six clones, three rootstocks, and various elevation, exposures, and soil combinations. The soil is well-drained Gazos and Botella clay loam, loaded with chirt and Monterey shale.

Join us as we visit during “Fiddlefest”, a tribute to producers of Pinot Noir from the vineyard, and to the vineyard itself. We’ll talk with Kathy Joseph and several other winemakers who buy Fiddlestix fruit for their own labels, including: John Falcone (Rusack), Paul Lato (Paul Lato Wines), and Joe Davis (Arcadian).

For More Info on Fiddlestix Vineyard: /

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4 Responses to “Fiddlestix Vineyard – Sta. Rita Hills”

  1. 1 Tyler McAfee Apr 5th, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    I watched this just to see and hear what Joe Davis has to say about the vineyard, and the video cuts off right in the middle of his appearance. What’s the deal? Did Brian Loring get a hold of the camera?

  2. 2 Chris Armstrong Apr 9th, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Tyler…LOL… I too want to see more!

  3. 3 GrapeRadio Bunch Apr 10th, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Good guess guys, but nope, it wasn’t Brian Loring. We’ll have the snafu fixed next week and give you a shout when it’s done. Sorry about that!


  4. 4 Tyler McAfee Apr 21st, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Thanks guys!

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