Santa Lucia Highlands AVA
E-16 Winery set out on a course of growing Rhone varietals, but the chance to produce quality Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Highlands was too good to pass up.
It was always a simple matter of returning to his roots for E-16 Winery owner Robert Jones. His grandfather had planted vineyards near Lodi in the Central Valley many years ago and Jones worked in the vineyards as a youth and when he was in school. Jones helped separate wine from skins in a basket press as the family made small lots for personal enjoyment. Disseminated among the tasks were lessons about attention to detail and the honor of labor — values forming the cornerstones of his philosophy on life. “I still have that old basket press,” said Jones, “and recall the family harvest parties where we roasted a pig on a spit.”
After a successful career in the electronics business, Jones purchased a vineyard property in El Dorado County and began growing grapes and producing wines. He took an extension course from UC Davis and sought professional help in the person of Winemaker Daniel Moore. The pairing flourished and E-16 Winery eventually became firmly established in the wine industry. Along the way the pair collaborated in producing another brand called Firefall (no relation to the popular Fireball Whiskey line) that has also been widely popular. Robert Jones points to the fact that he has always sought the advice of wine professionals when making critical decisions for his winery.
E-16 Winery set out on a course of growing and producing Rhône varietals, but the opportunity to produce a quality Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Highlands was too good to pass up. “The Escolle Vineyard produces some exceptional fruit and the Arroyo Seco gravel base mixed with sandy loam provides excellent drainage. It starts at 200 feet elevation but rises another 300 feet into the highlands, overlooking the town of Gonzales. The Upper Bench designation refers to the gently sloping upper bench where the union of climate, soils and the Pommard clone produce small crops that translate to complex wines. Since it’s only a little over a decade old, “the vines figure to get even better with age,” states Jones.
E-16 also buys fruit from growers in Bennett Valley, Anderson Valley, Russian River Valley and from nearby El Dorado County. These partners all share a commitment to sustainable viticulture and inherent varietal expression.
We are pleased to share this complex Pinot Noir with our Pinot Noir Club members.
Map of the area
Daniel Moore - Winemaker
Daniel Moore is an established winemaker of nearly four decades, who was an early champion of Pinot Noir and sustainable farming practices. He met E-16 Winery owner Robert Jones in the early 1990's during Jones’ visit to the Russian River Valley to study cool-climate Pinot Noirs and found the two had similar feelings and beliefs about the classic grape. After a stint as winemaker at Martinelli Winery, Moore became owner/winemaker of the well-respected Z Moore Winery and winemaker for Sonoma’s Lynmar Winery until he started his own wine consulting business. Today, Daniel continues to oversee vineyard operations for both brands, including a year-round collaboration with grape growers providing exceptional fruit for E16. Each seasonal decision, from winter pruning and spring shoot positioning to summer cluster thinning and fall harvest, has a profound effect on wine quality and its age-ability. Moore’s greatest asset is his attention to detail and an extremely light touch with regards to handling grapes. He believes that this light handling is the best possible way to capture the full expression of a grape’s persona.