Porter Creek Vineyards
- Sonoma, California, United States
Over time, as its Westside Road neighbors have sided with heft, Porter Creek and its vineyards have become the loyal opposition, producing wines with modest extraction and a silken texture. It is surprising the wines aren’t better known.”
—Jon Bonné, The New California Wine
Porter Creek is like a snapshot from Pinot's past… The approach Davis takes is the opposite of the modern style; it's nuanced, pure in its fruit and informed by his time in some of Burgundy's greatest cellars. It harks back to a much defter view of what Russian River could yield.”
—Jon Bonné, SF Chronicle
Porter Creek is owned by Alex Davis, who biodynamically farms his low-yielding, hillside grown vines in the Russian River Valley.
The winery got its start in 1977 when Alex's father George Davis purchased 40 acres of land off Westside Road in what would eventually become the Russian River Valley AVA. Seeing that it was an ideal location for growing Burgundian varieties, George planted 10 acres of Chardonnay in addition to the 12 acres of Pinot Noir already on the land. The winery was bonded in 1982 and for the next 15 years, George paid no attention to the ever-changing wine trends and simply worked to express the unique terroir of the Russian River Valley.
In 1997, George handed wine-making responsibility to his son, Alex. In addition to growing up working along side his father at the winery, Alex studied Enology at Fresno University and spent several years in France working with renowned wine makers including Christophe Roumier and Marcel Guigal.
Although the style at Porter Creek has remained true to George’s original vision, one major change Alex made was the transition of their vineyards to biodynamic farming. Rigorous attention is paid both to the soil and the vines to ensure the entire vineyard is operating in harmony. The results are pure, balanced wines that speak strongly of their source, not just the hand that got them into the bottle.
The winery produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the 20-acre estate vineyard, and also purchases fruit for the Zinfandel, Carignane, Syrah, Viognier and a few other variety wines.
In the cellar, Alex uses about around 30% whole cluster on the Pinot Noirs, while the whites are direct pressed. Following a 3-4 day cold soak (for the Pinots), native yeasts are used for fermentation which happens outdoors in stainless steel tanks. Aging is done in 25-30% new oak.