The Atlas Peak viticulture area is located in the Vaca Mountain Range, which forms the eastern slopes of the Napa Valley.
At 2,100 feet above sea level, Elan Vineyards enjoys a unique micro-climate. The vineyard receives cooling mountain breezes from the San Francisco Bay, which offer refuge from the hot summer daytime temperatures. While coastal fog regularly blankets the Valley, it is unusual here at the altitude of the vineyard. The vines receive more sun exposure during the growing season, but without the high temperatures that sometimes occur in the Napa Valley.
The nights are cool at our high altitude, even in the summer months. A 20-degree temperature drop from the daily highs is common. Patrick believes this variation allows the fruit to mature slowly, resulting in well-balanced wines with remarkable complexity.
Elan Vineyards' soils are volcanic and shallow. These conditions limit vine growth and stress the vines, producing small amounts of fruit with exceptional, intense varietal character. At Elan Vineyards we normally harvest less than three tons of grapes per acre.
Our farming practices are very labor intensive. For example, when 80-85% of the fruit is through veraison, a French term meaning the change of the color of the grapes, we perform what is called a "green harvest". During this process, we remove the clusters which are behind in the ripening cycle. This is a very slow process, however, it enables uniform ripeness and flavors.
At Elan Vineyards our philosophy is that great wines are made in the vineyards, which explains why such meticulous care is taken in our sustainable farming practices.