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Kimwood Ranch is a unique property full of natural resources and abundant wildlife. The fertile bottom ground and rolling hills provide an abundant habitat for bear, deer, squirrel, quail, wild turkey, wild pig, coyote as well as songbirds, raptors and red tailed hawk.
The ranch began as a commercial cattle operation for Ed, Lillian Kimmel and their boys. Originally, the property was a dairy farm. By the late 70s, Ed and Lillian moved to the ranch full time, residing in the original ranch house built in 1916. Life on the ranch was a joy for the family – raising chicken, sheep, cows and growing fresh vegetables. The lush land allowed for family adventures and future opportunities.
In the 80s, the idea of growing wine grapes sparked Ed’s interest. The neighboring counties of Napa and Sonoma, having spectacular vineyards, inspired the thought that Potter Valley could produce an equal quality fruit and be a viable agriculture for the ranch. Ed took the initiative and spoke with neighboring winemakers and first planted Chardonnay Grapes. In1986 this replaced the permanent pasture, except one field for the remaining cows.
Ed’s dream was fulfilled by harvests in 1989 and 1990 before he passed away in 1991. He loved driving his Ford tractor while workers handpicked the grapes. Loading the big truck with 2-ton bins, and driving to the scales to drop off 6 tons of Chardonnay grapes, bestow memoires and early stories for the Kimmel Family to share around the dinner table.
Ed always wanted to grow a “red” grape so a new vineyard was planted in 1997 comprising Merlot over about 12 acres. The vineyard is elevated across a knoll along Williams Creek where Ed loved to end his day sitting in one of the trucks overlooking his ranch. Red Hill as it is now known is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and a small plot of Pinot Noir.
The ranch property ideal location provides special growing conditions because the vineyards lie on the west side of the valley against the foothills between Redwood Valley and Potter Valley. This pocket of land has excellent soils and is blessed with afternoon breezes that cool the vineyard. The combination of excellent soil, afternoon breezes and proper canopy management produces high quality grapes consistently.
In 2007, Lillian and the boys decided to save a few choice lots to start Kimmel Vineyards with a bottling of Chardonnay and Merlot. Beginning in 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon was added to the available wines along with Cabernet Franc.
While there is a lot of love and history in each bottle, times change and in turn new traditions begin with generations to come. Kimwood Ranch began its next 50 years in 2013. The history of the ranch will remember 2020 as the beginning of the new wines headed by “LILIED”. The story to be told begins.