Pounds Per Vine
Melville refers to vineyard yields in terms of “pounds per vine”, as opposed to the more conventionally used “tons per acre”. In recent years, tons per acre has become less relevant as more densely planted vineyards, such as those belonging to Melville, have come into production throughout premium growing areas.
Traditionally, vineyard plantings in California using 12 foot rows and 8 foot spacing between vines yield approximately 500 vines per acre. Melville’s estate, which is planted 8 feet by 3 feet, yields over 1,800 vines per acre. While the majority of ultra-premium winegrowers are content with three to four tons per acre (500 vines per acre), Melville pushes their field to produce the same output, but with quadruple the amount of vines. Hence, less fruit per individual vine. By farming approximately three pounds per plant, Melville is confident that their vineyard site will be expressed to its fullest potential in the wines. Furthermore, dropping excess fruit several weeks prior to harvest also aids in yield control.