Small Lot Pinots: Helfer Vineyard

A virtual tent of bird netting covers 1 acre of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Fred Scherrer likes to source fruit from the many small, family-owned vineyards within a few miles of the winery. It is hard to capture the care and passion that these people put into their land.


Don Helfer has been tending to this immaculate high-density vineyard in the Russian River Valley since the early 1990s. It is only minutes from Scherrer Winery on Vine Hill Road – home to Kistler, Dehlinger and Alberigi Vineyard.

Dehlinger was where Fred Scherrer worked for many years and actually made his 1st vintage of Zinfandel in 1991. Fred’s guitar playing buddy, Marty, is the Vineyard Manager there.

Kistler is the clone of Chardonnay that Don planted. Scherrer makes a single vineyard bottling with this gorgeous fruit.

Fred’s friend, Eric Sussman of Radio-Couteau, has a single vineyard Alberigi Pinot from across Vine Hill Road. Eric also plays guitar.

Today's picking crew: Don Helfer and me (not pictured)

On a foggy cool Wednesday in late September, Don and I picked 4 rows of the Dijon clones 777 and 667 Pinot Noir; enough for a single barrel.

Don actually has a “day job” and devotes most of his spare time on the vineyard. He went to work right after this pick!

Four Rows picked by the time the fog burned off

About 1 barrel of Helfer Pinot Noir

We’ll visit Gunsalus Vineyard on Saturday morning.

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2 Responses to Small Lot Pinots: Helfer Vineyard

  1. Damien says:

    Enjoying the blog, grunt! I did some of the same work with Fred in 2006 and captured the Chardonnay harvest from the Helfer’s that year. Take a look at the pics here:

    Enjoy your time with Fred!


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