Distinctive wines that embrace the Santa Cruz Mountains terroir
Undoubtedly one of the most pristine vineyards in the entirety of the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation, Muns Vineyard is perched at an astounding 2,600 feet and offers one of the most unique wine grape growing locations in the region. Its founders, Ed Muns and Mary Lindsay, are extremely dedicated to their 13-acre vineyard and, over time, it has become a real passion and labor of love.
Ed Muns never expected to get into the wine industry, but found himself purchasing an old abandoned vineyard site in the late 1980’s. He was a retired executive from Hewlett-Packard and was looking for a property where he could move to and enjoy his Ham Radio hobby full time. Ed had been an avid Ham Radio enthusiast since he was a youngster and was actually quite skilled at the activity - he’s even set a few world records!
The property Ed envisioned buying had to be high enough in elevation to support antennas and towers, so he spent time looking at topography maps and circled various high-elevation spots that met his needs. It was 1989, and the first property Ed looked at was a remote, rugged site in the Santa Cruz Mountains. At 2,600 feet, the elevation was perfect, but when Ed arrived at the property it was not love at first sight.
There was no home and much of the site was overgrown with brush, bushes, trees, and an old abandoned vineyard. What was he going to do with that? Ed kept looking, but eventually came back to that initial site. Perhaps it was the breathtaking 360 degree views of Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, and Loma Prieta, or perhaps it was the lure of one day resurrecting the old vineyard. In any case, Ed Muns decided to purchase the Santa Cruz Mountains property and broke ground building a home there later that year.After enjoying a few years of his new Ham radio friendly location, Ed slowly became more intrigued by the old vineyard and wondered what he could do with it. He asked his partner Mary Lindsay if she thought they could resurrect it, and they decided to give it a try.
Mary Lindsay was then a marketing consultant for nearby high-tech companies and also offered her services to a few local wineries within the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation. She was excited by the opportunity and the two began the arduous task of refurbishing the old vineyard. While clearing the land, the couple educated themselves by meeting with other local wine grape growers and Ed enrolled in some extension courses at the esteemed UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology. They also got in touch with wine industry maverick John Caldwell, who suggested Ed and Mary plant a variety of Pinot Noir clones on the mountain property, which could then be blended together to make a premium, complex wine.
John Caldwell was responsible for introducing some of the most prized rootstocks and grapevine clones to California, and is a known expert in the field. His advice for Ed and Mary’s Muns Vineyard proved to be extremely rewarding.
In 1998, Ed and Mary made the first planting at Muns Vineyard, a tiny three acres of Pinot Noir, and continued to add vines until they reached a total of thirteen acres in 2005 (twelve acres of Pinot Noir and one acre of Syrah). While they did receive help from a vineyard management company getting started, Ed and Mary decided it would be much more rewarding, and they could better control the quality, if they did the work themselves. Muns Vineyard is still exclusively cared for by Ed and Mary, and they only receive outside help when its time for harvest.
While, the original plan was to sell all of the Muns Vineyard fruit to neighboring wineries, Ed and Mary couldn’t resist saving some of the top quality grapes for themselves. In 2004, they made the first commercial vintage for Muns Vineyard, 120 cases of Pinot Noir. It was a blend of the four different Pinot Noir clones planted on the vineyard, which offered incredible complexity, a rich palate, and a nicely balanced, wide range of flavors and aromas. Each of their Pinot Noirs since have been made on this same blended model and distinctively represent the terroir of this special site.
Today, Muns Vineyard’s production is still very small (well under 500 cases) and includes one Pinot Noir and one Syrah. Each wine is award-winning, and with such limited availability, extremely hard to find outside of the Santa Cruz Mountains region. Most of the grapes on the property are reserved for such esteemed estates as Beaureguard Vineyards and Thomas Fogarty Winery, and the Muns Vineyard continues to secure just a tiny amount for their own label. We hope you enjoy getting to know this special artisan producer and their uncompromising passion for growing premium grapes on their tiny Santa Cruz Mountain vineyard. We are exceptionally excited to have our Pinot Noir Series Wine Club members embrace this Pinot Noir at home with family and friends.
Tony Craig - Veteran Winemaker
Tony Craig has been the winemaker for Muns Vineyard since 2005. Originally a Shakespearean actor from the English town of Newcastle, Tony found his way into the world of wine by absolute chance. After moving to California from England and hoping to find work in Hollywood, Tony soon realized that he needed to pursue a different career. He answered an ad in the newspaper for a cellar worker at David Bruce Winery and was immediately hired. Within just 14 months, Tony was a part of the winemaking team and eventually became head of the vineyard-designate Pinot Noir program. He held the position for twelve years before going out on his own and becoming a consultant winemaker for a number of small brands. Tony also makes Pinot Noir for his own label, Sonnet Wines.
At Muns Vineyard, Tony is committed to producing premium, age-worthy Pinot Noirs. He chooses to age the wines in Eastern European oak barrels, which aren’t as overpowering as French oak, yet they still provide the tannic structure needed for balance and aging. The oak imparts slightly spiced cinnamon and nutmeg flavors and a smooth, silky mouthfeel. Pinot Noir has long been Tony Craig’s specialty, and Muns’ Pinots are among his best work.
About the Vineyard
Perched at 2,600 feet in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Muns Vineyard is the highest Pinot Noir vineyard in the appellation. Its elevation places it above the fog line, and its western facing slope receives the cool breezes from the nearby Monterey Bay that Pinot Noir grapes love. Plus, the nearly forty degree temperature swings from day to night keep the fruit ripening evenly with bright flavors and a nice balance of acidity.
The 13-acre Muns Vineyard is extremely distinctive in that it is planted to four different Pinot Noir clones, with three different rootstocks. These variations, when blended together, create a wonderful terroir-driven Pinot Noir of great complexity.
The Santa Cruz Mountains (SCM) appellation is unique from many other wine growing regions in that vineyards are few and far between. While driving through Napa or Sonoma, for instance, visitors may see a plethora of different vineyards while driving down one road, but in SCM, these vineyards are tucked into the terrain, often hard to get to, and completely surrounded by native vegetation. As a result, these vineyards are very influenced by the terroir and wines are usually very low production. It is for this reason that SCM wines are especially hard to find.