Pinot Noir specialist Kosta Browne has purchased its first vineyard, a 20-acre block of the Keefer Ranch Vineyard in Sonoma's Russian River Valley, from the Keefer family. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. The purchase is the winery's first move to gain more control over how its grapes are farmed.
“It’s one of the few vineyards every year that we get a very stable crop and very uniform quality out of,” said winemaker Michael Browne. Kosta Browne has been making a Keefer Ranch-designated Pinot Noir since the 2005 vintage. The wines have consistently rated outstanding, sometimes scoring a classic 95 points or higher on Wine Spectator’s 100-point scale.
Nurse Marcy Keefer and her late husband, Robert, bought the land in 1985 in the rolling hills of Green Valley in the southwestern corner of the Russian River Valley. Three years later they planted 30 acres to Pinot Noir and 20 to Chardonnay. The region is one of the foggiest areas in the Russian River and is known for a sandy loam soil called Goldridge, which is responsible for some of the region’s finest Pinots. Keefer sells most of her grapes to other producers such as Failla, Siduri and Loring, while keeping some for her own Keefer Ranch label.
Keefer decided to sell off part of the vineyard because she was getting tired of managing the entire property. Kosta Browne now owns a section called the K2 block, while Keefer will retain the other 30 acres.
With the addition of Keefer, Kosta Browne now owns the source of around 40 percent of its grapes, a major change for a winery that started out with no vineyards in 2000. Founders Dan Kosta and Michael Browne purchased their grapes, eventually bottling seven vineyard-designated Pinots. In another recent deal, the winery inked a long-term lease on 37 acres of the Gap’s Crown vineyard after Bill Price, one of Kosta Browne’s investors, purchased the vineyard. Browne said the winery doesn’t plan to buy more vineyards in the foreseeable future.
According to Browne, the winery will continue to produce single-vineyard Pinots from the Keefer Ranch and Gap’s Crown but, starting with the 2013 vintage, it will blend the best lots from both vineyards under a new estate bottling.