We use old world techniques to make our Pinot Noir in small batches and "punch-down" the fruit by hand up to three times a day. Our Pinot Noir starts with a deep ruby red color, followed by aromas of spicy strawberry and raspberry.Cecil De Loach has been farming these delicate Pinot Noir vineyards since 1973 in the Russian River Valley. Located on the plains and gently rolling hills off Olivet road in western Santa Rosa, this area provides an excellent medium for the coastal fog that blankets our fruit in the mornings and evenings. The cooling moisture facilitates a longer growing season in which Pinot Noir thrives.
Hook and Ladder Winery
Hook and Ladder was started by Cecil De Loach in 2004 after he sold De Loach vineyards. It would be a smaller project that would allow him to showcase the best of his Russian River Valley estate vineyards.
Over the years, Cecil and Christine's family have joined the effort. His oldest grandson, Jason De Loach, is Hook & Ladder’s winemaker; son Michael De Loach serves as President and CEO, while grandson Joshua De Loach works on the winery’s Sales team. When not directing the progress of Hook & Ladder, Cecil is likely indulging his love of fishing, history books, or cooking for a large group, a talent he perfected during sixteen years of cooking for hungry firemen.
On 375 acres situated in Sonoma County's Russian River Valley, our vineyards produce cool climate grapes widely recognized as some of the finest in the world. Grape growers of the early 1900's recognized the sites of our vineyards as being uniquely suited for wine grape growing. Building on their knowledge and experience, we have matched the soil and climate of each parcel with the varietals most likely to achieve its full potential.
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The Russian River Valley is named as such due to its proximity to the Russian River, the river itself named for the Russian fur traders who came down from Alaska in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Russian River is agricultural land. While there is a focus on wine, beyond the vineyards are many small, family-owned farms cultivating everything from cattle to Christmas trees.
The proximity of this cool river and the rolling fogs from the Pacific Ocean make the area amenable to cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In fact, the region is quite known for its full-bodied, yet elegant Pinot Noir, as well as their ripe, yet lean Chardonnays. Within Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. Chalk Hill is the warmer of the two and furthest from the ocean, while Green Valley is cooler and closer to the water.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.