Extraordinary Vineyards - Donelan Wines

Extraordinary Vineyards

Extraordinary Vineyards

Named after the black volcanic glass in the bedrock beneath the vines, our estate vineyard is one of the most unique in California. Here, the vines grow on a steep perch above the Franz Valley floor in the Knights Valley. While Obsidian is one of our warmest sites, it is also our most free draining soil, which leads to extremely low vigor, tiny berries and a flavor concentration that is nothing short of ethereal.

Learn about the latest release of Donelan Wines Obsidian Vineyard Syrah.



Vine Age

30+ years




800 ft

Finding Extraordinary Sites

For us, identifying a top-notch vineyard is like hearing a great song for the first time. It’s immediately identifiable. It has no blue-print for duplication. It won’t let go of you.

In a word, it is genuine.

From these extraordinary vineyards, we produce compelling wines year after year, doing our best to read their cues and allow their terroir to shine. The map below illustrates the depth of our obsession. From the cool-climate, redwood fringed Perli Vineyard in the Mendocino County AVA to a collection of wild sites we love in the Bennett Valley AVA, our journeys across Northern California have been exhaustive — but they have been so worth it.

More Stories About Our Vineyards

Perli Vineyard

Growing 1,700 feet above sea level in old redwood forest is Perli Vineyard, home to our 2.2-acre parcel of Tripp’s Block Pinot Noir in the Mendocino Ridge Appellation. Perli is among Mother Nature’s finest and wildest. It’s a rocky mosaic of steep slopes atop the coastal fog line, where cell service is rare and bears are aplenty. We’ve been working with owner and farmer Steve Alden for over a decade now up at Perli. The extreme growing conditions produce small harvests and tiny grape clusters, but monumental flavor.

Devoto Vineyard

One of our favorite sites is Devoto Vineyard, where a portion of Two Brothers Pinot Noir and Genevieve’s Block Chardonnay walk the line between the Green Valley appellation (of Russian River Valley) and Sonoma Coast appellation. Green-thumbed Stan Devoto has been farming apples, flowers, and grapes on the property for years. Genevieve’s Block is on a west-facing hillside above Sebastopol, where cool waves of fog hug the grapes and allow for extremely slow ripening each vintage. The Goldridge soil in this area is known for fantastic draining abilities and produces Pinot Noir with great verve.

Henry David Vineyard

Henry David Vineyard gave us butterflies when we were first introduced to it. Picture rolling, gravel hills planted to heritage clones of Pinot Noir, dotted with roses and mulberry trees, and filled with wildlife. It’s a stunning home for our Cushing’s Block single-vineyard Pinot Noir. Bennett Valley has become a key AVA for us. Cool mornings and moderate temperatures allow for extended hang-time without producing over-ripeness. The tiny, toy-like Pinot clusters burst with seductive flavors of ripe blackberry, black currant, and fig.

Judge Vineyard

Another property from our Bennett Valley portfolio, Judge Vineyard stands out with how meticulously it’s cared for by proprietors Joe and Gail Judge living on the property. Judge Vineyard is tucked in the most northwestern part of the AVA, making it one of our coolest Syrah sites. We pull fruit from three distinct blocks, each planted to a unique clone of Syrah. This melange of Clone 877, Clone 174, and Estrella River Selection allows for vineyard built-in complexity. The chilly climate, lingering fog, and gravelly loam allow for ample hang time increasing fruit concentration and providing the tannin that gives Judge Syrah it’s signature velvety mouthfeel.

Richards Vineyard

What the Richards Vineyard has taught us is that, sometimes, the best thing we can do as winemakers is to step aside and let terroir do the heavy-lifting. Richards Family Vineyard is nestled in the Schultz Valley near Annadel State Park in Sonoma Valley. The rocky soils once provided footing for a lavender farm. Most of the lavender was replaced with Syrah, but several rows remain, leading us to believe they leave their own mark in each vintage. This site has given us extraordinary, award-winning Syrahs year after year.

Go to Donelan Richards Vineyard Syrah

Kobler Family Vineyard

In the heart of the Green Valley of the Russian River Valley, this vineyard grows Syrah and Viognier that create gorgeous and savory offerings.

Go to Donelan Kobler Family Syrah

Go to Donelan Kobler Family Viognier

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