Hirsch are one of the greats of US Pinot and Chardonnay, and unlike many US Pinots and Chardonnays, the story is one of farming and site. In Burgundy terms, these are domaine rather than negociant wines.

David Hirsch bought the plot of land that was to become Hirsch Vineyards back in 1978, and planting started in 1980. The focus was entirely on the vineyards with all of the fruit being sold up until 2001 to some of the region’s finest producers: Littorai, Williams Selyem, Kistler and Failla, to name a few. David’s decision to build a winery was driven by his desire to learn more about the terroirs of the sixty different farming parcels, rather than an ambition to become a winemaker. In the words of David, “I built a winery to become a better farmer”. The movement to biodynamic farming was a natural one, and by 2014, all of the estate’s 72 acres were farmed biodynamically. The learning curve was steep but the exceptional terroir was apparent to all. The next crucial date was the return of David’s daughter, Jasmine, to Hirsch Vineyards in 2008, becoming the General Manager in 2015, and then winemaker in 2019.

Jasmine’s influence has resulted in further accolades for the estate with Decanter Magazine recently writing, “In the pantheon of classic California Pinot Noir sites, Hirsch Vineyards is at the pinnacle”.

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Timeline

1980
First vines planted by David Hirsch (0.4 hectares of own-rooted Pinot Noir and 0.8 hectares of Riesling)

1989
Riesling grafted over to Pinot Noir

1990-97
Second stage of planting, in which 17.7 hectares of Pinot Noir are planted

1994
First Chardonnay vines planted at Hirsch (1 hectare)

2002-03
Third stage of planting, in which 9.7 hectares of Pinot Noir and 0.6 of Chardonnay are planted

 

2002
First estate vintage of Pinot Noir produced (offsite)

2003
Winery construction completed, and onsite winemaking begins

2006
First estate vintage of Chardonnay produced

2011
Conversion to biodynamic viticulture begins

2014
All vineyards, orchards and gardens fully biodynamic