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In 2016 the Brown family secured a small piece of land on Vineyard Drive, which is on the westside of the Paso Robles winegrowing appellation. Brian and Natalie Brown moved in, and began rehabbing the forty year orchard right next to their 1970's ranch house. A year and a half later, Brian's parents, Dennis and Candice Brown, acquired an adjoining fifteen acres on Willow Creek Road, and SōNA was born.
Over the years the family has planted almost fifteen acres of vineyard. They also finished building their estate winery, home of Willow Creek Wine Co, in 2020.
SōNA Vineyard sits at the far west end of the Paso Robles appellation in the Paso Robles Willow Creek District. The farm is located thirty minutes north of San Luis Obispo, about fifteen minutes west of Paso Robles and Templeton.
This area typically stays 10-15 degrees cooler than Paso Robles proper and experiences intense winds in the Spring and Summer. The unique climate allows us to produce wines that are rich and ripe, yet maintain tension and acidity.
Eventually the Browns settled on a name for this site: SōNA. SōNA is an old Irish word which translates to "fortune through luck." The serendipitous series of events which lead Brian, his wife, and his parents to Paso Robles are a representation of SōNA.
"The lucky man waits for the lucky opportunity."
In 2017, four acres of vineyard were planted to Syrah and Petite Sirah. These Rhône varietals grow well on the west side of Paso Robles, but the selections of vines are very unique. The cuttings came from the Library vineyard in St Helena, farmed by Turley Wine Cellars. The Library vineyard was originally planted in the 1800's by immigrant farmers coming to California in search of gold. Since these vines contain some of the oldest clonal material in California, they are arguably the most adapted to our terroir.
In 2019, an additional six acres of vineyard were planted to multiple clonal selections sourced directly from UC Davis. Some of these cuttings were selections that, like SōNA's initial planting, have existed in California for generations but were not available through commercial nurseries. Other cuttings planted were so rare that some of them have never been planted in California outside of the University system.
The farming philosophy at SōNA pulls elements of permaculture, selection massale, and regenerative farming practices. Our goal is to dry farm our fifteen acres of vineyard and pass the land on to our children better than we found it. Our clonal diversity is high and includes many cuttings that are not commercially available and do not exist in other vineyards in Paso Robles or California. For example, in one one-acre block, we have four different clones of Garnacha planted. We also have what we refer to as our "nursery blocks" which are planted to varieties like Grenache Gris, Tempranillo Blanco, and Verdehlo. When a vine dies, rather than buying new vines from a nursery to replace it, we select a strong neighboring vine, take a cutting, and plant it in the ground. We also foster native plants and beneficial wildlife, and elect for native and edible landscaping whenever possible.
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