Bells Echo Ranch was one part of the original Sanel Valley Rancho, which covered the entire Sanel Valley of Mendocino County, procured in 1844 by Fredinado Feliz. The 180 acre ranch originally supported cattle grazing, is nestled in its own private valley of the Pacific Coast Mountains, 3 miles west of the Historic town of Hopland. The premium vineyard is in the shadow of local landmark, Duncan Mountain and borders scenic Feliz Creek.
The first vineyards were planted on the land over fifty years ago. Vineyard replanting began in 1989. The current vineyards are arranged on the gently rolling valley floor at the elevation of 575 feet, around the untouched steeper grass hillsides dotted with stands of majestic native oaks and madrones. Today, over 50 acres of mature vines are producing premium Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, Petite Verdot, and Syrah grapes.
The vineyards slope gently toward the south and drain naturally toward Feliz Creek. The southern exposure warms the vineyard during the day to provide deep color and uniform ripening. The sun ducks behind the western mountain ridge in the late afternoon to protect the fruit from the extreme western exposure. The evening Pacific Ocean breezes provide natural cooling of the vineyard. This very unique micro-climate results in a long hang time for the grapes to develop intensity, deep colors and balance. Traditionally, the fruit at Bells Echo is often the last in the valley to be harvested.
We believe sustainable farming practices used in the vineyard respect the environment, soils, plants and people, and a commitment to genuine quality. Vertical trellis systems with moveable wires allow even, uniform exposure of the fruit and are employed throughout most of the vineyard. The vines are irrigated with a drip system, supplied by two ponds totaling 58 acre-feet above the vineyard. The ponds are filled each winter naturally from the Ranch Watershed.
Over the years, the varieties of rootstock and fruitwood have been carefully selected to be "site-specific" for the unique soils and climate of Bells Echo, to produce a fruit of diversity and complexity. The vines are pruned and meticulously managed to limit the fruit each vine produces to further maximize flavor intensity and balance.
We employ a year-round, dedicated 2-man vineyard crew of Ramon and David. They have worked the vineyard for 15 years and 6 years respectively, and have learned its nuances. We believe that a consistent and quality vineyard starts with providing the same respect and consistency to the people who touch the vines.
We are very fortunate to have Patrick Rogers as our vineyard manager. Patrick has farmed Mendocino soils for 25 years, and is truly dedicated to the wine growing community. Quality aesthetics and stewardship of the earth are his mantras.
We are traditionalists in our wishes to establish long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. We are dedicated to Bells Echo Vineyards producing unique, intriguing fruit. We delight in seeing and tasting this fruit being made into equally exciting wines. We enjoy the experience of working closely with the winemaker, from pruning, watering, shoot, leaf and cluster management, all the way to harvest. We believe as a team our vineyard can produce the best grapes possible that become the best wines possible.