Tom and Mary Stubbs fell in love with West Marin long before they planted their first vines. The fog-shrouded vales just inland from Tomales Bay on their 600 acres are quite similar in climate to that of some major grape-growing areas nearby: Napa's Carneros region, the Sonoma Coast, and the Anderson Valley of Mendocino County.
West Marin has an extremely long, cool, uniquely mild growing season, usually followed by an Indian summer in September or early October which helps the fruit fully ripen. Winters are warm and the springs are wet. This microclimate of a long, cool growing season and a long hang time produces fruit that is quite intense and pleasingly high in acidity. The soil profile is moderately fertile and is mostly decomposed marine sedimentary material and Haire loam.
In 1996 Tom and Mary began by planting 11 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines in the sheltered valley a short walk from their house. Initially they sold their fruit to several respected wineries including Schramsberg and Hartford Court Vineyards. But as they grew more knowledgeable and passionate about winemaking and excited by the exceptional quality of their grapes, they decided to become vintners as well as growers.
After much painstaking research, Tom and Mary believe they have chosen the perfect clones for their distinctive terroir. The Chardonnay is 76 on 3309 rootstock and the Pinot Noir is Dijon clone 114. In case you're unfamiliar with the terms: Terroir is French for the range of natural conditions that influence a specific vineyard (climate, soil, landscape and location) and ultimately define the qualities of the grape; Clones are that part of the grape vine which produce fruit and are cleaved to separate rootstock chosen for its robustness. A great wine comes from the perfect marriage of clone and terroir.