With the release of their 2004 Bohemian Vineyard Pinot Noir , Tom & Sue Cleary launched an exciting new chapter in a multigenerational story about a family and their very special plot of land.
In 1945, Tom's grandparents, Valentine and Julia, purchased 40 acres of land in Freestone, CA and established a small cattle and sheep ranch on that property. At the time - much as it is today - Freestone was a quaint little community nestled in rolling wooded hills with a 19 th century ambience. It would be safe to say that visions of vineyards were in nobody's imagination in those days!
Over the next few decades, the Cleary family ran the V-C Ranch, with ownership eventually transferring to Tom's parents during that period. In 1983 -- almost 40 years after the original property was acquired -- a third generation of the family collectively purchased 36 adjacent acres, 11 of which were bought by Tom.
By the early 90s, some visionary viticulturists realized that Freestone held huge potential for growing superior Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. The area's cool foggy nights and warm sunny days are reminiscent of parts of Burgundy where these varietals thrive. In addition, Freestone's rolling hills and combination of sandy loam and clay soils allow the proper drainage and lower fertility that are particularly critical to the temperamental Pinot Noir grape.
One of these visionaries was Warren Dutton of nearby Dutton Ranch who, in 1996, approached the Clearys with a proposal to develop vineyards on their land. After careful consideration, the family accepted and, beginning with Tom's parents' property, the Dutton Ranch Management Team proceeded to develop the first Freestone vineyards. In 1998, Tom & Sue engaged the Duttons to begin work on their land. Over the next three years, seven acres of Pinot Noir vines were planted and thus was born Bohemian Vineyard , named after the scenic Redwood Highway corridor from which the property is accessed.
As the vines matured, the Duttons' predictions were realized as the quality of the crop proved to be stellar. It was not long before word got out and, since then, the Cleary family vineyards has been producing grapes for world-class Pinot Noir producers such as Capieaux Cellars, David Bruce, Patz & Hall, Roessler and Helen Turley. By 2004, the Clearys had developed their own winemaking ambitions and thus decided to reserve a portion of their annual harvest to fulfill those dreams.