Before we planted vines, Dr. Susan Hubbard of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted a groundbreaking study of Mila Family Vineyards. Dr. Hubbard utilized hundreds of soil-pit samples, electromagnetic data, ground-penetrating radar, neutron-probe analysis and a cone penetrometer to identify the strengths and weaknesses of every square inch we farm. Hubbard’s work guided us during the years we spent preparing our soils for planting by growing cover crops.
Later, it informed us in dividing our site into 15 distinct blocks, classified according to criteria such as soil type, aspect, elevation, gradient, water-content distribution, root-penetration depth, and microecosystem. By tailoring rootstocks, clones, vine spacing and training precisely to each block on the front end, we have rendered remedial viticultural practices—such as preferential pruning, or harvesting some sections earlier than others—unnecessary on the back end.