The partners of Lockwood Vineyard, Paul Toeppen, Phil Johnson and Butch Lindley, who have cumulative vineyard management experience of over 90 years, first planted the large 1,850 acre San Lucas Vineyard in 1981 after concluding that the parcel was perfect for growing premium grapes. They chose a remote area nestled at the base of the Santa Lucia mountain range, in Monterey County, and developed one of the largest premium estate vineyards in the world.
The San Lucas Vineyard consists of a unique soil that was recognized by the U.S. Geological survey in 1946 and is only found in two small areas of Central California, San Lucas Vineyard and a coastal cliff region near Big Sur. The "Lockwood Shaly Loam," consists of crushed fossilized seashells similar to chalk and limestone. This soil is uniform to depths of greater than 20 feet, and due to its low nutrient and mineral content, the vines are restrained and must work hard for survival. The added vine stress and excellent water drainage from this soil creates grapes with structure and complexity.
Due in part to San Lucas Vineyard's proximity to the Monterey Bay and warmer weather to the south, the vineyard's climate is designated "Warm Region 2" and experiences mornings of 50°F and midday temperatures of 110°F - a diurnal swing of 60°F in a matter of a few hours. As a result of vineyard location, multiple varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Merlot thrive with unprecedented success.
Located within California's Central Coast winegrowing region, Monterey County runs from the Monterey Bay into the Santa Lucia and Gabilan mountain ranges. It encompasses eight sub-appellations; Carmel, Chalone, Santa Lucia Highlands, Arroyo Seco, San Bernabe, San Lucas, San Antonio Valley, and Hames Valley.
Monterey County gained its reputation as a premium wine producing region in 1960 when Professor A.J. Winkler, a viticultural authority from the University of California at Davis, published a report classifying grape growing districts by climate. Monterey County was classified as both Regions I and II, comparable with the likes of Napa, Sonoma, Burgundy and Bordeaux. Due to the increasing demand for high-quality wines from California in the U.S. marketplace, this recognition came at an opportune time.
Monterey County experiences an earlier budbreak, a shorter frost season, less rainfall, and just the right amount of warm days to generally bring about harvest approximately two weeks later than in many other California wine regions. The result is fully ripened fruit with intense flavors and optimal sugar-to-acid balance.