Since David and Ross Cobb founded Cobb Wines in 2001, they have focused exclusively on making pinot noir from hand-tended, independently owned vineyards located on the far Sonoma Coast. Emphasizing the broader microclimate of the Freestone-Occidental region, this coastal winegrowing area is profoundly influenced by its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Though Cobb’s vineyard sources are usually above the coastal fog that blankets the Pacific Ocean in the summer, they offer some of the coolest growing conditions for pinot noir in California—conditions that contribute to excellent acidity and a complex, aromatic expression of pinot noir.
Adding to their cool-climate structure and sophistication, these wines also benefit in another way from the influence of the Pacific. With the ocean moderating heat spikes and temperature fluctuations, the region sees a relatively modest difference between diurnal temperatures compared with inland regions. While grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon are more tolerant of large daytime and nighttime temperature swings, the Cobb Wines style of pinot noir benefits from more moderate swings and slow, even ripening in cool conditions. On the Sonoma Coast, where evening temperatures usually stay above 50° Fahrenheit during the growing season, ripening continues at night, allowing the grapes to slowly ripen for up to 24 hours each day. This nighttime ripening adds to the development of flavors, aromatics and color—important factors in pinot noir’s overall complexity.
In addition to its own Coastlands Vineyard, Cobb Wines works with four other small vineyards. Though these vineyards share certain elements including the temperate coastal climate, they each offer individual soil types, subtly different microclimates, and unique combinations of pinot noir varieties (for a total of approximately 25 different selections among the five vineyards). This offers Cobb Wines the opportunity to explore individual expressions of Sonoma Coast winegrowing.
In keeping with their respective backgrounds in marine ecology and sustainable agriculture, David and Ross use sustainable farming standards as their agricultural benchmark. As a result, Coastlands Vineyard is "certified sustainable" in Sonoma County. The Cobb family also guides farming practices in all five vineyards. Because of this, sustainable practices are utilized in each vineyard. In combination with their focus on environmentally conscious practices, the Cobbs emphasize meticulous viticultural techniques and low yields in these coastal vineyards, with crops generally averaging just over two tons per acre across the board.