Donnelly Creek Vineyard
Just west of Boonville and adjacent to Ferrington Vineyard, Donnelly Creek’s fruit forms the backbone of FEL’s Anderson Valley Pinot Noir cuvée. On its own, this property delivers the most muscular of FEL’s vineyard designate Pinot Noirs. The vineyard is owned by Mary Elke planted Donnelly Creek in 1991.
Drawing on the success of their Napa vineyard, Mary decided to plant Pinot Noir in place of the apples on their Anderson Valley home ranch. In 1990, just a half mile down the road from their home ranch, Mary fortuitously discovered the Donnelly Creek ranch and planted the vines for her third vineyard. By 1996, Mary was farming over 50 acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. Originally most of the production went to sparkling wine producers, but Mary began making her own Pinot Noir under her Elke Blue Diamond label, and soon other Pinot producers were knocking on her door. Mary continues to oversee the farming and can often be found during harvest behind the wheel of her favorite tractor. Donnelly Creek is a certified Fish Friendly Farming vineyard.
First planted in the 1970’s by Dr. Ferrington, a dermatologist from Santa Rosa, the vineyard was purchased by Kurt and Heather Schoeneman in 1996. The gentle, south-facing slopes of this 70-acre vineyard supply FEL with a single-source Pinot Noir. This wine is a blend of three clones and is always the most forward and precocious of FEL’s vineyard designate Pinot Noirs.
The Wendling vineyard draws its name from the Wendling family, who once owned the booming mill town, and now is the location of the current sleepy town of Navarro. Located in the most northwestern corner of the Anderson Valley appellation and the closest to the Pacific Ocean, Wendling is perched on a steep south east facing hillside surrounded by magnificent redwoods and Doug Fir. While the vineyard’s proximity to the ocean keeps it cool, the presence of a small ridge between the vineyard and the Navarro River provides some protection from the direct force of the ocean breeze and fog.