History

Pioneers of the Sonoma Coast

a love of wine and a passion for agriculture

Nearly 30 years ago, Flowers Vineyards & Winery pioneered the growing of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the rugged coastal ridges of the extreme Sonoma Coast. Joan and Walt Flowers had a simple goal — make exceptional wine that captures the wild beauty of the land and the spirit of the Sonoma Coast. This passion drives everything we do — farming responsibly, harvesting by hand, using 100% native fermentation, and crafting wine with minimal intervention. Our unwavering commitment to creating distinctive wines that capture the spirit of the Sonoma Coast has been the bedrock of our success, and will continue to guide us for years to come.

Early 1980’s

Our story begins in the early 1980s with Joan and Walt Flowers, owners of a nursery in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. On their biannual trips to California to buy seeds and learn about west-coast plants, they would always carve out time to pursue their budding interest in wine. Before long, their passion grew into a dream of owning a vineyard and using their immense agricultural and farming knowledge to grow exceptional wine.

1989

In 1989, Joan and Walt came across a brief advertisement in the back of a wine publication for a mountaintop piece of land on the first ridgeline of the Sonoma Coast. This was uncharted territory for farming grapes, and despite being warned of the risks, they visited the property. The drive there took them along the scenic Highway 1, down miles of narrow switchbacks with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

THE ROAD TO FLOWERS

They turned on to a narrow road and started the steep trek up the first ridgeline of the Sonoma Coast. Around 1100 feet up, they broke through the thick cloud layer and were welcomed with abundant sunshine. At this moment they knew farming this land was possible. The site for the vineyard was a large piece of rugged, untouched land that had once been used as a trading ground between the Pomo Indian Tribe and the Russian fur traders. After extensive, meticulous research on the property’s soil, history, and climate, it was time to plant their vineyard.

1991

By 1991, Camp Meeting Ridge had been planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and was beginning to bear fruit of exceptional quality. Rocky soils, hillside exposures, fog-filled mornings, warm sunny days, and cool nights — the perfect combination of elements to produce distinctive and expressive wines.

1998

In a rugged, unforgiving landscape where others could only see obstacles, Joan and Walt Flowers had the vision and courage to chart new territory and see the potential of the land. Flowers Vineyards & Winery was formed, and a nearby untouched mountaintop property, Sea View Ridge, was acquired and planted.

2009

Flowers became the first brand on the extreme Sonoma Coast to implement biodynamic farming practices in their estate vineyards. While Flowers had always farmed using sustainable practices, the shift to Biodynamics had immediate impact in the vineyard. This farming practice treats the property as a living ecosystem, avoiding chemicals, and repurposing natural plants and products to revitalize the soil and protect the vines.

Today

Nearly 30 years after Joan and Walt first stepped onto the Camp Meeting Ridge property our commitment to making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that express the true character of the land has not changed. In those thirty years we’ve perfected our farming, pushed the boundaries of our winemaking, and connected with lovers of cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay around the world. As we look to the future we can’t wait to continue our journey as stewards of the lands and pioneers of balanced and terroir-driven wines.

Learn more about our winemaking.

THE FUTURE

In 2019, the next great chapter for Flowers will begin with the opening of our consumer tasting experience in Healdsburg. In the heart of the Russian River Valley and just 7 minutes from downtown Healdsburg we will be opening the doors to Flowers and hosting guests in our newly built visitor center and garden.

Learn more about our Flowers Healdsburg.

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