Porthos | The Wine Insiders
Gamba Vineyards

Gamba Vineyards and Winery is a small, family owned vineyard and winery business in Sonoma County,  California. The over century old 27.5 acre Gamba Estate Vineyard parcel rests on th Eastern edge of the beautiful Russian River Valley Appellation, on gently rolling benchland above the valley floor. Planted to Zinfandel in 1900, the Gamba Estate Vineyard consists primarily of  Old Vine Zinfandel, as well as small separate blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon. With ideal Southern exposure, the vineyard is bathed in sunlight during the growing season. On average the yield is small, in part due to nature, but also by design-approximately one half ton, and occasionally up to one ton per acre is harvested, depending on the vigor of vineyard block and severity of pruning.  

<br><br>The vines are organically dry farmed.  The dry farming method relies solely on yearly rainwater to irrigate the vineyard. This method will generally decrease tonnage, however, in exchange, the remaining fruit clusters achieve a wonderful concentration of flavors. The vineyard has been farmed since its beginnings using the dry farming method, as well as other labor intensive, traditional methods. Each vine is cleared of ground cover at its base by hand. The Gamba's still own the original horse plows for discing rows, although now they employ the use of modern equipment to turn the soil. The vines are pruned, thinned and harvested by hand. Italian prune trees were planted years ago, and more recently lavender, to attract predatory insects to drive out unwanted pests. Roses were planted to give an early indication of powdery mildew that may develop early in the season.  The Gamba family has used organic methods to counter any adversity faced in the vineyard, as it has been done since 1900. To this day, they do not use herbicides or any pesticides in the production of their winegrapes.

<br><br>The desirable soil in the vineyard is known in the area as "Huachica" loam,  named after the original native inhabitants of the area the vineyard occupies. This soil is excellent for farming, with ideal ratios of sand, clay, stones and organic matter in the ancient volcanic mix, seemingly custom made by nature for winegrapes. Light in color with low to moderate water retention and good drainage, the soil is sprinkled with small stones, all making for desirable winegrape farming. The Russian River Appellation location not only provides the ideal soil composed of stoney ancient volcanic ash, but also an excellent overall climate for winegrapes. Warm days and cool nights, and light breezes from the Pacific, all have  positive affects on the growing season. The day heating and nightime cooling cycle plays an important part of why Northern California is a world class wine producing region. The microclimate on the Eastern edge of the Russian River Valley, specifically where the Gamba Vineyard is located on the Fulton benchland, provides enough heat units to ripen the grapes, and enough natural cooling influences from the Pacific Ocean to allow for extended hang time, to provide additional concentration and optimal maturation for our winegrapes. The vineyard enjoys views North into the Russian River Valley. To the Northeast, stands the majestic Mount St. Helena.  To the West, lie rolling vineyards to the foothills that are the home of the great Redwoods, with the Pacific Ocean beyond. On cloud free days, the top of  Mount Tamalpais near the San Francisco Bay can be seen reaching skyward in the distant Marin County to the South.