A Pioneer in the Russian River Valley since 1918
Nick Leras’s family has farmed wine grapes in this rich soil since 1918. With his lifetime of wisdom, experience and impeccable standards, Nick personally tends to his grapes and performs all aspects of grape growing. His family vineyard embodies earthiness and minerals, the signature of Pinot Noir grown in the Russian River Valley.
Proven Growing Practices Year After Year
The vines of Leras Vineyard are dry farmed and trellised by a modified Scott-Henry system. The split canopy provides the vines the correct balance for the fertile soil… and balanced vines ultimately produce balanced wines. Lack of irrigation further concentrates the grapes and adds to the depth of layered flavors in the wines from this vineyard.
“Russian River Valley Terroir ~ The Best in the World”
Great wine begins in the vineyard. The Russian River Valley is blessed with rich valley soils, moderate winters, abundant sunshine and evening fog that makes our valley the best place to grow grapes… it produces the finest wines in the world. Fog flows through the channel cut by the Russian River; it’s this natural air conditioning that allows our grapes to develop full flavor maturity while retaining natural acidity over a growing season 15-20% longer than our neighboring areas.
Pinot Noir is the grape considered responsible for producing some of the most delicious, respected wines. The name translates from the French words for the pine and black—both alluding to the tightly clustered dark purple pine cone shaped bunch of fruit. It is an old-world red wine grape which is considered by experts to be only one to two generations removed from wild vines. So old, some say, that the ancient Romans started caring for this vine species around 100 AD.
Pinor Noir is an early budding vine, known as the heartbreak grape for many reasons including Botritus, more commonly known as bunchrot. To combat this issue we selectively pull leaves and shoot thin on the “morning” sun side of the vines to get a better air flow and movement.
Since Pinot Noir grapes are very susceptible to spring frosts that could kill the vine, at the end of February to March, we chop cover crop (which was planted between vine rows) and get our wind machines and sprinklers ready for frost protection. As an additional safeguard, we have sensors located in the fields that will warn us—either manually or by phone—when the temperatures drop to a dangerous level.
At Leras Family Vineyards, we’re proud to practice sustainable farming, planting cover crops and tilling them back into the soil for organic material; we also use the cover crop to lessen water run off and soil erosion.
Tending Our Grapes by Hand
It is with the greatest pride that we carefully tend our grapes by hand year after year to deliver the best possible fruit so our wineries can produce the finest wine possible. Our pruning and shoot positioning, thinning and leaf pulling, and harvesting are all done with the human touch and in the cool of the early morning temperatures. It is all about tender loving care for our grapes.
“I personally thank you for taking your time to learn more about our history and our vineyard practices.”
~ Nick Leras