Perched atop a southern-exposed ridge at elevations ranging from 400 to 750 feet, Occidental offers breathtaking views of the surrounding lowlands and the Pacific Ocean. The vineyards are uniquely positioned to receive daily winds and fog, a natural blessing that moderates the temperature and slow-ripening of the fruit.
Occidental Vineyard's terroir is characterised by its vulnerability to erratic maritime weather conditions. From spring storms during flowering to dense, damp fog throughout the growing season, the vineyards face challenges that reduce yields but enhance fruit quality.
Despite these challenges, the maritime influences bring advantages. The vineyards benefit from cooler daytime highs and warmer nighttime lows compared to inland regions. This creates a modest diurnal temperature variation, allowing the fruit to ripen slowly throughout the day and night, resulting in grapes that achieve true physiological maturity at lower sugar levels.
Occidental's commitment to crafting exceptional Pinot Noir extends to its winemaking philosophy. Sustainability and natural balance are key principles, with an emphasis on cultivating thicker-skinned grapes that resist coastal disease pressures. Native cover crops provide habitat for beneficial insects and prevent erosion.
Precise canopy management, including leafing, shoot positioning, green dropping, and fruit thinning, is crucial in the coastal climate. The vineyard crew meticulously tends to each vine to ensure uniform ripeness. Harvest typically occurs in October, with the goal of picking fruit at the early edge of ripeness. Multiple thinning passes and careful selection of mature clusters contribute to the production of high-quality Pinot Noir.
Occidental Vineyard is dedicated exclusively to producing world-class Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast. Founded by Steve Kistler after his successful career at Kistler Vineyards, Occidental is a family-led project aimed at crafting the finest Pinot Noirs California has to offer.
The state-of-the-art winery, perched on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean, is the heart of Occidental's winemaking operation. It produces vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs from sites like Bodega Headlands, Occidental Station, and Bodega Ridge.
Occidental's commitment to the unique terroir of the Freestone-Occidental area and its dedication to sustainable practices have earned it a reputation as a purveyor of exceptional Pinot Noir. With its precise winemaking techniques and a wide range of Pinot Noirs that capture the essence of their terroir, Occidental Vineyard stands as a testament to the pursuit of Pinot Noir perfection on the Sonoma Coast.