Flanagan Vineyards' Story
The Flanagan journey into wine began with a love of wine and an appreciation of the places that create unique wines. In 1998, when we started looking for a vineyard site, a great friend of mine said to Eric, “Flanagan, go look in Sonoma….the ground is just as good and Napa is all picked over.” Eric took his advice and in 1999he found his (unplanted) vineyard in Sonoma County, located in an area called Bennett Valley. A combination of volcanic soils, steep slopes, south aspect, and abundant maritime influence made the site a perfect choice for growing world class grapes.
To create a balanced, healthy vineyard in a site that has both a marginal climate for Cabernet and, extremely low vigor soils, requires a tremendous amount of handwork. This is truly a labor of love. The crop yields from this extraordinary site will never make sense relative to the farming costs. And yet we believe we have something special; a place that captures the essence of what makes wine intriguing.
Winemaker, Philippe Melka:
Owner Eric Flanagan says "Before Philippe was our winemaker he was my friend. He was there when I first voiced the idea of growing grapes and making wine, and he was there the day we first walked the land that would become our vineyard. I thought the site had potential and Philippe confirmed it emphatically.
Twelve years later Philippe’s confidence has proved to be well founded. In addition to being a great guy Philippe is also a geologist, a viticulturist and a world renowned oenologist. I like to call him the “triple threat” as he is all at once a soils expert, a plant guy, and a great winemaker. Philippe selected the varietals, the clones and rootstocks, the trellising system, the vinerow spacing, and the row orientation. He was also intimately involved in the design of the caves and the winery building.