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Muns Vineyard

Ed Muns represents an example of the current heart and soul of vineyard development in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Ed is a former executive with Hewlett-Packard, who along with high-tech publicist, Mary Lindsay, planted 13 acres of Pinot Noir in 1998 on a ridge at 2,620 feet, making it one of the highest vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountain appellation. Initially, Bill Murphy (Clos Le Chance, CK Vines) assisted with the planting and management, but Ed is on his own now.

Several years ago Ed was searching for property in the Santa Cruz Mountains and the one he finally chose was not love at first site. There was a home on the property, but the remnants of a vineyard were completely overgrown with brush, bushes and trees. Ed never really intended to grow grapes upon retirement, but the vineyard sparked his interest. It took more than two years of work to clear the property for planting. Dijon clones 114, 115, 667 and 777 thrive here with cooling breezes, and cool nights all year long. Because of the altitude, fog is rare. There is also a smattering of heritage clones planted.

The obstacles for successful growing of grapes here are multiple. Frost is always a threat and there is essentially no way to combat it. Gophers thrive here and require a crew to constantly trap them. Ed’s dog, “Pinot,” takes out several a day when he puts his mind to it. Deer love Ed’s vines and if they find a break in the fencing, they can consume a 1/2 acre of new growth in an evening. Of course, birds are rampant in the nearby trees and brush, and netting of the vineyard is absolutely necessary. It is no wonder, that a number of Silicon Valley dreamers left the tech world to start their own vineyard in these mountains, but left sheepishly within a couple of years. Ed says, “It sounds romantic, but it is a lot of thankless work. There is constantly something to do like maintenance, spraying for mildew, clearing new weeds and growth, pruning, training, and on and on.” In the 1970s, this land was used for a Christmas tree farm, so trees keep popping up in the vineyard!

Ed’s first harvest was in 2003 and his original intent was to sell the grapes to locals like Soquel Vineyards, Sonnet and Silver Mountain. He soon discovered that he couldn’t break even just selling grapes, so in 2003 he started his own label, Muns Vineyard. The initial vintage was made by Soquel, but the wines are now made at Silver Mountain by Tony Craig (see page 16).

I visited and walked Ed’s vineyard and I found it to be one of the more pristine vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. No question in my mind that this vineyard will be producing some remarkable Pinot Noirs for many years to come.

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