ROAR Vineyards

Driving Highway 101 from San Francisco southward, you will eventually find yourself in the lush farmland of the Salinas Valley. Looking west across the fields, on the horizon is a beautifully green range of small mountains, laced with fog. The Santa Lucia Highlands AVA stretches a mere 18 miles along alluvial benches between the Santa Lucia Mountains and the valley below. Just three miles wide, it is one of the smallest major Pinot Noir regions in the world.

The climate here is dictated by our proximity to the deep Monterey Bay. From it, cold ocean air floods down the Salinas Valley, bringing fog in the mornings and blowing winds throughout the afternoon into the evening. These strong, steady winds wick the moisture to prevent mildew, and also keep temperatures relatively cool all year long. As a result, our vineyards have some of the longest hang times for Pinot Noir in all of California.

ROAR’s vineyards lie in the heart of the appellation. Rosella’s Vineyard, our home ranch and oldest site, is the northernmost that we own and farm. Next is Garys’ Vineyard, a treasured co-owning partnership with the Gary Pisoni family. Soberanes Vineyard is just south of Garys’, with similar soils but different clones and row orientation. Lastly, we own and farm Sierra Mar, our southernmost and highest plantings. See the full SLH Map here.

Rosella's Vineyard

Rosella’s Vineyard is the first property we planted to vine, and is the northernmost of our vineyards. Planted in 1996, it wraps around the family home and is named for Rosella, Gary’s wife. Its rows of vines ascend from River Road up the hillside toward the mountain ridge, often laced with fog. Plush lemon trees flank its western edge. The sandy loam soil allows good drainage, encouraging deep vine roots that add complexity in the wines. Here we grow Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah. Our wines from Rosella’s Vineyard are known for their expressive aromatics and smooth suppleness on the palate.

Rosella's Vineyard  View
Farmed ByGary Franscioni & Sons
Year Planted1996
AcreagePinot Noir: 38, Chardonnay: 9, Syrah: 2
Elevation400 feet
Clones113, 667, 777, 23, Pisoni, Pommard
SoilsArroyo Seco sandy loam
Row Direction10° West of North
Row Spacing5' x 8'
Wines ProducedPinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah
Rosella's is amongst a handful of California's greatest Pinot Noir vineyards, providing grapes of great complexity and wines with a unique combination of power and grace. Any winemaker would be ecstatic of working with fruit from this remarkable site. – Adam Lee | Winemaker

Garys' Vineyard

Established on a handshake between two lifelong friends, Garys’ Vineyard was planted in 1997 and quickly rose to fame as a desirable source for quality Pinot Noir. This vineyard exemplifies the enduring friendship and farming partnership between Gary Franscioni and Gary Pisoni, now carried on by their four sons. Standing a the foot of the vineyard, the fifty acres of rows progress in a “V” shape over the rocky alluvial soil, up toward the Highlands’ summit. Planted completely to Pinot Noir, Garys’ Vineyard is known for bold, spicy aromatics and rich berry flavors that only improve over time. 

Garys' Vineyard  View
Farmed ByGary Franscioni & Mark Pisoni
Year Planted1997
AcreagePinot Noir: 50
Elevation400 feet
ClonesCalera, Pisoni
SoilsArroyo Seco sandy loam
Row Direction10° West of North
Row Spacing5'×8'
Wines ProducedPinot Noir, Syrah
Comparatively modest in size against other heavy-weight vineyards at only 50 acres, this Soledad-based vineyard packs a punch so hard that it's named after not one, but two people named Gary. – Jonathan Cristaldi | Food & Wine

Soberanes Vineyard

Just south of Garys’ Vineyard, where windswept oak trees dot a rolling slope, lies Soberanes Vineyard. The vineyard is named after a local land grant that occurred the late 18th century, where nearly 9,000 acres were acquired for just 100 head of livestock. Another partnership between Gary Franscioni and Gary Pisoni, it was planted in 2008 with row orientation set to true north, compared to 10 degrees west of north in Garys’ Vineyard. In the mornings you’ll see a blanket of fog here, and in the afternoon the steady winds from the bay continue to keep vines cool when the sun is shining.

Soberanes Vineyard  View
Farmed ByGary Franscioni & Mark Pisoni
Year Planted2008
AcreagePinot Noir: 27, Chardonnay: 7, Syrah: 3
Elevation300 feet
Clones667, Pisoni
SoilsArroyo Seco sandy loam
Row DirectionTrue North
Row Spacing5'×8', 5'×6'
Wines ProducedPinot Noir, Chardonnay
Soberanes embodies the extreme conditions of the Santa Lucia Highlands: coarse granite rocks under your feet, crisp ocean winds and heavy fog. The wines show this character with vibrance and beauty. – Mark Pisoni | Viticulturist

Sierra Mar Vineyard

Sierra Mar is the southernmost site that our family owns and manages. It is our highest in elevation at up to 1,100 feet above sea level. In 2007, Gary Franscioni painstakingly planted it, and drilled a well which pumps water three miles up the hillsides to make irrigation possible. The heavily sloped terrain and thin soils encourage deep root systems and drainage. Its elevation often places Sierra Mar around the fogline, adding to its diversity and mystique. This slightly warmer site also experiences heavy winds in the afternoon along with cooler nights help retain natural acidity.

Sierra Mar Vineyard  View
Farmed ByGary Franscioni & Sons
Year Planted2007
AcreagePinot Noir: 35, Chardonnay: 9, Rhônes: 3
Elevation1,100 feet
Clones943, Calera, Pisoni, Swan
SoilsDecomposed granite & gravelly loam
Row DirectionTrue North
Row Spacing4.5'×8'
Wines ProducedPinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Viognier, Grenache
A dramatic hillside vineyard with multiple exposures and one isolated, striking plot that looks like a setting for an opening scene in a James Bond movie. – Robert Parker | Wine Advocate

Pisoni Vineyard

We source Pinot Noir from this mountain site through our longtime partnership with the Pisoni family. Tucked into the southern mountains of the Santa Lucia Highlands, the Pisoni family has meticulously farmed this high-elevation site since Gary Pisoni first planted vines in 1982. He was one of the very first to pioneer Pinot Noir in our appellation, believing it had great potential for quality. Here the rugged terrain has thin soils of granite and gravelly loam, with bits of schist and quartz. All this, to produce low yields and tiny clusters that translate into depth and intensity in the wines.

Pisoni Vineyard
Farmed ByMark Pisoni
Year Planted1982
Elevation1,300 feet
SoilsDecomposed granite & gravelly loam
Row DirectionTrue North
Row Spacing5'×10'
Wines ProducedPinot Noir
Grapes from the Pisoni Vineyard are among some of the most highly sought in California. – Antonio Galloni | Vinous