Spencer Vineyard

Jersey Boys Vineyard

Heirloom vineyard

An Interview With Josh Clark

Josh Clark is part of a dynamic trio that ensures the very best fruit is hand-crafted into exquisite wine from our West Dry Creek estate. This trio includes our viticulturist Kelly Maher, winemaker Thomas Brown, and Josh Clark of Clark Vineyard Management.

Josh started in this business at age 12, when he would spend the day with “the vineyard as his playground.” His father, Tom Clark, has owned the company since 1978. Josh says he “practically grew up on a tractor.” Josh took over the family business in 2003 so that his father could focus on the family’s wine label, Clark-Claudon.

Josh’s job as vineyard manager is to keep everything perfectly in balance in the vineyard. Throughout the year, his crew will be busy planting organic cover crops, pruning or suckering the vines, grapes and canopies, and monitoring the amount of water the vines receive.

Many people agree that great wines are made in the vineyard, so the care and attention it receives is directly reflected in the wine you taste in the bottle. We are proud of the expertise Josh’s years of experience bring to our team.

Kinsella Estates is the only vineyard property Josh farms in Sonoma County.  We asked him how the vineyards in this area differ from those in Napa County, where most of his clients are.

“The Kinsella Estate property is an unique spot because it’s Cabernet. You see Zinfandel all day long in the Dry Creek AVA, but not much Cabernet. This vineyard gets plenty of sunshine and the fruit ripens beautifully. Farming here isn’t much different than the Napa Valley, because we always manage the vineyards block by block. Each one is unique in its soil type, exposure to sunlight and irrigation needs.”

“Because of the way the Heirloom Vineyard is terraced, the vine maintenance has to be done by hand. The sunlight is also a little less balanced than the Jersey Boys Vineyard, so we manage the canopy to allow for more foliage on the sunnier side of the vine, and more exposure on the shadier side.”

The Heirloom Vineyard was planted in 2001 and is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Jersey Boys Vineyard was replanted in 2008, utilizing four clones specifically chosen by Thomas Brown.   Josh tells us that this vineyard receives even sunlight throughout the day and that the soils are well drained. All of our vineyards are irrigated solely by our water reservoir, Spencer Lake.

When asked how 2014 vintage compares with the previous two, Josh says, “This year is about two weeks earlier than last year, which was also early. Everything is looking really good for another great vintage!”

Three vintages in a row of exceptional wines? We’ll take it!