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Larner Vineyard and Winery

Michael Larner
May 1, 2019 | Michael Larner


n. A form of erosion, caused either by coastal, river, or glacial, where the rocks that are transported have regular impacts and abrasion breaking them into smaller, smoother, and rounder fragments. The grain-size distribution of these sediments is controlled by the rock from which they are derived and the velocity and load capacity of the transport means. The contents give a geologist historical context of both the current local erosion and depositional environmental as well as the previous environments, all dictated by the original rock available.

A complex time system is revealed when looking at attrition, since it is not constant, depending on seasonal variations with increased rainfalls or the source of the parent rock being eroded. Very reminiscent of analyzing an estate vineyard over, say 20 years. Where the vintages have tell tale signs of seasonal moisture, yet are overall indicative of the ground from which the vines are firmly rooted. In that time we have also seen both the grapevines and crafted wines become a perfect matrix of smoother and rounded components, like those seasoned rock fragments found on a river bottom.

Ironically this time matrix doesn’t extend just to our grapes, but also is found in the physical layers of our estate vineyard. The upper elevations, 580 feet and higher, houses a conglomerate layer with rounded fragments of chert, sandstone, and chalk which erode into our lower elevations to pepper the sandy vineyard blocks. These fragments create refractive heat emitters, keep the soil from compacting, and help retain the groundwater feeding the vines roots. The derivation of the rocks and sand come from a coastal boundary that once defined our ranch as it raised out of the ocean some 20 million years ago.

The attrition simili also parallels the family’s winemaking, where 2019 constitutes a pivotal year, marking our 20thanniversary of growing world-class wine grapes, and our 10thanniversary of making estate wines. In that time matrix we have handcrafted 15 different wine-types from the estate, all perfected, chiseled, and defined by their origins. Illustrated in our estate Syrahs where a 2, 3, or 4-year barrel aging program defines the resulting wine, allowing them to age, round and smooth with time both in the winery and in your hands.


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