"Capturing a True Sense of Place"


When it comes to crafting world-class Pinot Noir, “place” really does matter. No other grape is so reflective of its place of origin, of its “terroir.” As Michael says, “You simply cannot make a truly great Pinot Noir without first starting with great fruit.”

That is why Michael early on identified key properties in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation from which to source the Mooney Family limited releases. The S.L.H., with its steep mountainside terraces and close proximity to Monterey Bay, is one of California’s premier cool climate winegrowing districts. The growing season in the Highlands is the longest in the state, with early budbreak in the spring and gentle ripening late into fall – allowing for the all important “hang time” that is the recipe for rich Pinot Noir flavor and structure.


The Sta. Rita Hills wine region is exposed to fog and coastal breezes from the nearby Pacific Ocean.  The hills run easta to west, which allows the cool breezes to enter the valley created by the hills and create a cool micro-climate.  When combined with the rocky nature of the area, The Sta. Rita Hills AVA is well-suited for growing superior Pinot Noir grapes.  

All of the vineyards that Michael draws upon are selected for site location, soil profiles and their SIP certification.