The Hilt Estate is made up of three distinct vineyards: Bentrock, Radian, and Puerta del Mar. The two distinct ridges, Bentrock and Radian, define the property and are the primary sources for all our wines. These ridges include an extensive range of altitudes, mesoclimates, hours of sunshine, and soil types. Our wines are produced separately in order to capture the different characters of our ridgeline vineyards.
Each vineyard parcel on The Hilt Estate is unique, all share three highly desirable characteristics. First, our grapevines do not have the easy life of plants grown in fertile soil; poor soils force the vines to send their roots deep in search of nutrients, resulting in better fruit. Second, our plentiful sunlight and maritime climate, with its strong winds and cool days and nights, means that grapes ripen slowly while retaining their acidity. Finally, our vines are carefully selected for low vigor, to produce grapes with concentrated, complex flavors. The estate is planted with a diverse selection of clonal materials, from which Matt Dees chooses the pinot noir and chardonnay grapes to create The Hilt’s wines.
Radian’s terroir is rugged and extreme. At its highest points, the Radian vineyard reaches nearly 700 feet, and here vines are more exposed to the wind. The resulting grapes express these wild conditions, with more austere, structured tannins. Radian covers just over 100 acres, with a tiny portion planted to chardonnay (6.1 acres), and nearly 95 acres planted with pinot noir.
Vineyards for The Hilt wines are all high in altitude, but Radian’s ridgelines are the steepest, reaching nearly 700 feet at its highest points. Outcrops of diatomaceous earth and rocky soils dominate Radian and ultimately help define the type of fruit the vines yield. The rocky soils at the top of Radian offer good drainage and heat retention, an aspect critical to the production of ripe fruit at high altitude with cold, whipping winds.
Situated over 500 feet above sea level, Bentrock is comprised of long, rolling hills. Though the altitude is high, the ridges are not steep. Vines flow gently down the hillsides, gathering ample sunlight yet ripening slowly because of altitude and moderate cooling breezes. Bentrock vineyard is nearly 92 acres, with close to 80 acres planted with pinot noir and just over 13 acres planted with chardonnay.
Bentrock vineyards range from 400-500 feet. In contrast to the steep, rocky Radian vineyard, Bentrock is made up of long, rolling hills that are reminiscent of some of Burgundy’s most prized vineyard sites. These high elevations allow for a long, cool ripening season, so the grapes can accumulate ample sugars while still retaining fresh acidity. Clay, sediment, and shale make up the majority of Bentrock vineyard along with outcrops of diatomaceous earth (fossilized ocean skeletons aka plankton) that is prized for its high silica content and porosity.
Puerta del Mar’s is home to some of the estates finest pinot noir and chardonnay vines. Alongside these vines is the estate’s winery, where winemaker Matt Dees brings the personalities of The Hilt’s wines to life.