heart hill vineyard
at the gateway to the Willow creek sub-ava in paso robles we have 46 acres of vines planted on steep & rocky hillsides
Heart Hill Vineyard was originally part of a cattle, barley, oat & alfalfa ranch owned by Claude and Richard Booker in the early 1900s. We’ve heard many stories throughout the years about the creation of the Heart but the real story is rarely told. Sometime in the late 1950s, Claude & Dick hiked up on a hill and noticed an oak grove that almost looked like a heart. Brushing aside their hard farmer exteriors they decided to notch out just the top of the copse to make it really resemble a heart. In true Booker fashion this was accomplished with a pair of binoculars, a walkie-talkie, lots of hiking & a chainsaw. Today, the Heart remains untrimmed or managed by us, and is visible from our tasting room. See vineyard map
As a company we aspire to be as hardworking, humble & caring as those who tread the land before us. Although the Booker Brothers no doubt would have rolled their eyes at farming wine grapes instead of barley they set an example of what passion looks like by devoting their life to their land, their animals & their community. Just like the Brothers, we own the land we farm and have a vested interest in its health & preservation; we’re not in this for the short run and while the Heart will stay constant as things continue to change.
climate and soil
Located in the Willow Creek District, Heart Hill Vineyard experiences a warm climate, with cooling afternoon ocean breezes sailing through the break in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range known as the "Templeton Gap". The soil profile at Heart Hill is a prime example of the vast diversity found across the westside of Paso Robles. Although neighboring vineyards have streaks of calcareous soils, Heart Hill Vineyard is comprised of steep, hillside plantings on rocky slopes of siliceous shale. In this type of soil, vines must grow deep and powerful root systems in search of water.
Rootstock and clone selection
Heart Hill is a great representation of why Paso Robles is special, as Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah do equally well. We’ve focused the Cabernet plantings on the south-facing slopes to take advantage of the longer sunlight exposure, and planted Syrah and Grenache on the east and west facing slopes. The keys to high quality viticulture at this site are canopy management throughout the growing season (making sure the grapes are exposed to the right amount of sun) and rootstock selection (we used deep rooting, drought-tolerant rootstock).