The Etude Carneros Pinot Noir hails from our estatevineyard tucked away in the far Northwest corner of the Carneros appellation. Unlike customary Carneros acreage, which is largely uplifted bay bottoms with soils composed of clay, the soils on Grace Benoist Ranch are variations of volcanic origin. They are well-drained, rocky upland soils. Combining these soils with the extreme western location closer to the Pacific Ocean makes this site the ideal place to grow Burgundian varieties.
The vineyard parcels on the estate are customized to conform to the various soil types and the changing contours of the topography. Individual vineyards average only 8 acres in size and the spacing is dense to ensure low per vine yields of fully concentrated fruit. As stewards of the property, Etude remain steadfast in our commitment to adhere to sustainable agricultural practices that enable us to farm in concert with the surrounding environment.
What began twenty five years ago as a philosophical state of mind is now a state-of-the-art winemaking facility where the ancient art of winemaking is pursued with a singular passion.
Etude Wines is dedicated to mastering the craft of winegrowing. In classical music, an etude is a composition with a technical focus that allows the musician to practice a particular technique. Similarly, Etude wines are the product of deliberate concentration on the instructive variables of the craft. The end game is not edification alone, but rather the wine itself as a source of enjoyment. Chopin piano etudes are notoriously difficult but sublimely beautiful… this is an example of the practicing craft transformed to art.
Founder and self described winegrower Tony Soter puts it this way: “There’s no better vehicle with which to study or practice the craft of winemaking than Pinot Noir. It is the most challenging, unforgiving and quixotic of all wine grapes, and yet the most delicate and transparent.” “Make no mistake it is a humbling pursuit, but when it’s right, Pinot Noir is a glorious and moving thing. It is in the pursuit of that experience that we all work.”
Working together in this oenological quest for perfection are current winemaker Jon Priest and viticulturalist Franci Ashton. They transform the very finest Carneros and Napa Valley grapes into world-class wines sought out by the most discriminating wine lovers. In addition to its widely acclaimed Carneros Pinot Noir and legendary Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Etude has also developed a loyal following for Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Merlot.