Flowers: Wilderness Winemakers


The extreme Sonoma Coast is not a place for the light-hearted. Rugged terrain, ethereal mist, towering cliffs and crashing waves all cumulate to create one of the most iconic, beautiful and powerfully raw wine regions known to man.

The first brave souls to plant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir on the first ridgeline by the Pacific ocean have been dubbed pioneers of the Sonoma Coast. They’ve been called wilderness winemakers, purists in the craft, and downright crazy for planting such temperamental grapes in such a harsh environment – and these brave souls were Flowers.

It was in the early 1980’s that the Flowers story started. Joan & Walt Flowers owned a nursery in Pennsylvania and would take frequent trips to California to buy seeds and learn about West Coast plants. It was during these trips that their knowledge of viticulture and wine started, igniting a passion in both of them for West Coast wines. In 1989, they saw an ad in the back of a magazine advertising a block of land for sale on the first ridgeline by the Pacific ocean. This was uncharted territory and many people warned them off such a risky venture. But Joan and Walt were determined and by 1991, the Camp Meeting Ridge vineyard had been planted and was producing promising fruit.

From here, Flowers grew, and with it it’s reputation for expressive and elegant wines. The Sea View Ridge vineyard was planted, and they started to implement biodynamic practices in their winemaking. Their wines have rarely received a score lower than 90. It has featured regularly in Wine & Spirits Magazine’s ‘Top of The List’, and this idyllic winery shows no signs of slowing down.

A recent claim to fame came when the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle named Flowers Pinot Noir as one of her favourite wines, alongside Super-Tuscan Tignanello. With Meghan Mania still in force around the globe, this nod of approval is certainly something we here at Dhall & Nash were fanning ourselves over.

In 2017, Puneet was fortunate enough to visit California and take a trip to Flowers.

“The drive along the Sonoma Coast is quite awesome, with the eerie mist swirling around you, next to steep drops to the sea. We arrive at Fort Ross on the Sonoma Coast, make our way up Timber Cove Road and into Seaview Road. As if by magic we pop out of the ocean mist. Immediately the sun and temperature hit us.

It’s quite impressive. The vineyard sits on either side of a canyon which is literally the San Andreas fault line. The soils are multiple including a lot of soil similar to Burgundy – volcanic schist, but also red iron/clay. The steep hills are not terraced but instead close planted straight down the steep slopes. The whole site is farmed biodynamically. Every 15th row is a crop of flowers with various functions for the ecosystem, and multiple cover crops. The site we have come to is the Camp Meeting Ridge site – 35 acres, elevation 1,400 feet. The Sea View Ridge is about 10 km south and can be seen in the distance from Camp Meeting Ridge.”

We at Dhall & Nash take immense pride in the wines we offer and we feel our American portfolio is certainly a bit special. Each and every one of us have a soft spot for our West Coast wines, with all of them offering us something unique. Flowers has earned it’s spot in our hearts and our cellars, with every sip of their tantalizing wines transporting us to a wild mountaintop, the sea breeze all around, and the ever-present sunshine bathing the persistent fog in a warm glow. A wine-lovers paradise in every bottle.


2016 Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
“The 2016 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast offers up subtle lemongrass, grapefruit and nectarine notes with touches of chalk dust and fresh ginger. Medium-bodied with well-played freshness accenting the creamy texture and quiet intensity of stone fruit flavors, it delivers a long, minerally finish.”
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (91 points)

 

2016 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
“”The 2016 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) is another terrific appellation-level wine from Flowers… Game, incense, tobacco, dried flowers and licorice add layers of nuance throughout.”
Antonio Galloni, Vinous (91 points)

 

2014 Flowers Camp Meeting Ridge Pinot Noir
“This light, elegant wine is perfumed like a rose garden, joined by lavender and dried herb. Its light take is supported by integrated tannin and a lurking tease of smoky meat and toasted oak that adds savoriness to its ethereal character.”
Wine Enthusiast (90 points)