1983. Silicon Valley. Carol and Vic Farrow are looking for property in the country – perhaps 10 acres somewhere in Sonoma County. An escape from the city. When their realtor approached them with the opportunity to acquire 300 acres just north of Healdsburg in the heart of the Alexander Valley, they were skeptical. Upon first sight, however, they fell in love with its rugged beauty and so was born Farrow Ranch. Just where the valley floor begins to curve up into foothills of the Mayacamas coastal mountain range, the southwesterly facing slopes of Farrow Ranch would be the perfect site for growing Bordeaux grape varietals.
Carol’s brother-in-law, Dave Collin, moved his family from Minnesota in 1985 to begin the restoration and development of the property. The first vines were planted in 1987 with Farrow Ranch becoming the first in Sonoma County to implement the now-standard open trellis planting system allowing for precision shoot positioning on each vine.
Today there are 75 acres planted to vineyard at Farrow Ranch with the Devil Proof Malbec block situated on a hillside slope of volcanic soil ideally suited to this varietal…a combination of Suther loam and Pleasanton gravelly loam. This block was planted in 2002 with a mix of Clone 4 and Clone 595 Malbec grafted to 1103P grapevine rootstock. A large steep hillside sits just adjacent creating great air movement through the vines and taking full advantage of the wide diurnal temperature swings the region is famous for. The growing season from April through October is filled with warm, breezy, sun-drenched days. The marine influence of the Pacific sends its cool, restorative moisture in from the coast following the path of the Russian River and settling as fog in the valley for a few hours most nights. While its not uncommon to see a 30-40 degree temperature swing from 4pm to 4am each day during these months, the Malbec vines thrive in this environment leading to a harvest of perfectly ripened fruit each fall.