Planted on the lower reaches of Howell Mountain at 1200 ft elevation, the soil for the vineyard at VIADER is mainly the rocky remnants of this former volcano. The volcanic loamy soils offer superior drainage for each of the VIADER estate varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Syrah. The lack of topsoil stresses the plant and forces the grapevine to concentrate all of its resources into the production of the fruit.
The Vineyard was planted in order to best represent the distinctiveness of this incredibly challenging terroir. The vine rows are orientated East/West, running down a steep 32º slope. These characteristics give the optimum conditions for the ripening of the fruit. The afternoon sun shines directly over the top of the canopy of the grapevines, which filters the light and prevents the grapes from receiving direct sunlight which can damage the fruit. In addition, the mountain breezes can easily flow between the rows, which are positioned up and down the mountain, as opposed to the traditional method of close-to-contour terracing. This is especially important in the hot months before harvest, and during the last months of winter, when temperatures drop and there is threat of frost. Moreover, the volcanic rock component in the ground absorbs the heat, and releases it after sunset. Spacing in the VIADER vineyard is 2,200 vines per acre, planted every 5' x 4' -- approximately four times the average planting density.
Furthermore, VIADER prides itself in producing wines that are organically grown, hand-farmed, with very low yields per acre. Average yields are fewer than 3 tons per acre.