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Ashton VineyardSonoma, CA
“Listen to the land. Listen to the vines. Listen to the soil." Ashton Vineyard, originally established in 1970 by Stephen and Justine Ashton, is a women-owned multi-generational family estate, dedicated to sustainable and ethical practices.
We pride ourselves in producing award winning wines from grapes grown at the foot of Sonoma Mountain's eastern slope in Glen Ellen, in the heart of "Valley of the Moon," where morning fog and cool evening air moderate the warm summer days.
We offer two boutique varieties: Old Vine Pinot Noir and Syrah organically grown free from pesticides and herbicides. Our estate faces east, providing the vineyard early morning sun where our dry-farmed Pinot Noir benefits from slow ripening with extra “hang time”.
We have 7 clones of Pinot Noir which add to its depth and complexity. Our Syrah also benefits from extended hang time and cooler late afternoons and is on the east-facing slopes of the southern section of the property, based off the cooler climates of the Hermitage region of northern Rhone in France.
Our label was inspired by Japanese brush painting. After experimenting with 200 drafts Stephen and oldest daughter Aurora Ashton found the right expression and balance for our “AV” logo. More than the identity of our bottles, this painting represents the handmade style of our wines, dedicated to their richness, balance and character.
Women owned and family operated, since 1970. We strive to be stewards of the land. Listening and learning from its wisdom.
Ashton Vineyard was born in 1970 when Stephen and Justine Ashton (two artists from the East Coast) had a vision to cultivate a small sustainably grown vineyard in Glen Ellen, California. After pursuing viticulture and enology studies, as well as researching grape varietals conducive to the microclimate, they landed on the Pinot Noir grape. Selecting seven specific Pinot Noir clones, Stephen and Justine hand-grafted 3000 vines on the porch of their family home. After preparing the soil and aligning with the full moon cycle, the grafted Pinot Noir vines were hand-planted by family, community and friends. As their passion for viticulture and sustainable growing practices grew, they expanded their vineyard in the 1980’s, adding a small acreage of Syrah, similar to the varietal of the Hermitage region of the northern Rhone area of France.
Committed to sustainable farming, and the core value of attuning to the land, the Ashton family adheres to organic and biodynamic principles. Farming practices include refraining from the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers or herbicides. Additionally, no irrigation is used except for the rains and moisture that nature provides on the Sonoma Mountain appellation, characteristic of cool nights and morning fog. “Dry farming” also encourages the roots to travel deep into the earth to source water from the natural table, promoting healthy vines and producing beautifully concentrated fruit.
After handpicked harvests, Ashton Vineyard grapes are brought to Deerfield Winery, where the wine is made by long standing friend and award winning winemaker Robert Rex, along with associate winemaker Cecilia Valdivia. The grapes are triple hand sorted, removed from their stems and whole berry fermented; then a special program of cooperage is designed for each wine of each vintage. The mission is to create the purest wine that expresses the unique terroir of the Ashton Family Vineyard. In the fall of October 2017, the Ashton Family's estate was impacted by the Nuns Wildfire. The majority of the Pinot Noir vineyard was lost, along with the family’s farmhouse, barn and art studio. In 2018, the “third generation” joined the AV team in efforts to recover from the impact of the fire and to continue the family’s legacy of sustainable farming and artisanal winemaking. Today, Ashton Vineyard is women-owned and continues to be family operated. "To make good wine we listen to the vines, to the soil, to where the sun rises and sets. We pay close attention to the terroir to discover what the vines need to deliver the flavor of the land: from the roots of the vine, all the way through to the final expression, winding up in the glass."
Robert Rex is an award winning winemaker who produces small lots of handcrafted wine from carefully selected Sonoma Valley vineyards. Rex has been making wine for forty-six years, employing organic methods and experimenting with the latest techniques, while also operating from a foundation of tradition. His winemaking style has its roots in the French wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy. All of his wines are truly handmade. Extended fermentation times (extended maceration), controlled temperatures and extended barrel aging of his reds produce wines that are fully developed and complex, yet drinkable at an early age. Both French and American oak barrels are used for barrel aging. In 2018, Robert Rex won “Winemaker of the Year” from the prestigious American Fine Wine Competition.
Cecilia Valdivia-Peritore joined Robert Rex as associate winemaker in 2008. Born and raised in Mendoza, Argentina (the largest winemaking region in Latin America) Cecilia knew as a child that she wanted to become a winemaker. She pursued her education at the University of Mendoza, ultimately earning a Master’s degree in Agricultural Engineering and Enology. She then apprenticed at Trapiche, a Mendoza winery famed for its Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. This was followed by positions at both Bodega Chandon and Doña Paula Argentina, where she gained additional knowledge of the intricacies of harvest. After three years of experience in Argentina, Cecilia relocated to Sonoma County in 2003 with the desire of learning about the winemaking techniques used in another noted wine region. After an extensive internship at St. Francis Winery, she became the enologist at Pellegrini Winery. In 2008 Cecilia became the associate winemaker at Deerfield Ranch Winery.