At Duncan Peak, we have exclusively farmed organically since 2014. In 2019, Duncan Peak Vineyard successfully became a Certificated Organic Vineyard after the transition period.
Our farming practices consider the whole ecosystem and its animals. We farm responsibly to reduce greenhouse gas. And we use natural compost to feed our vines and use cover cropping to keep the soil healthy.
Working closely with organic specialists enables our farming to promote a living, breathing ecosystem. We strive to create a balanced and healthy environment. For example, Duncan Peak maintains various flowering plants along the vineyard border to provide habitats for beneficial insects that protect our vines and encourage pollination by visiting pollinators.
Our firm belief is that our wine’s exceptional quality starts from the ground up. Rich clay loam soil is one of the greatest assets at Duncan Peak Vineyards. We choose to make our wine from estate-grown grapes because we trust the quality of our land, our water, and our efforts.
Quality is key to our brand, so we are involved in every step of the farming and winemaking process. But, of course, it helps that enjoy every moment of it.
Our commitment to producing the highest quality wines is exemplified by our time in the vineyard and the cellar. But more so, we are committed to our land, caring for it, nurturing it, and developing a deep relationship with the plants and creatures that call it home.
The oldest vine we planted was in 1987 and continues producing grapes today. The deep roots system supports the vines’ water and nutrients needs. As a result, the vines have dense, concentrated tastes and inky red color.
The wines of Duncan Peak carry the rich and complex flavors of these aged vines. Because old vines produce fewer clusters than young vines, these vintages grow more exclusive with each passing year – and for a good reason. As the vigor of the old vine declines every year, the quality of the fruit becomes better year after year. This rich aroma and flavorful taste are part of what makes our wines extraordinary.
Every April, dozens of sheep come into the vineyard and help us to eliminate weeds. Sheep grazing is a sustainable way of farming, reducing carbon emissions and energy use while giving the animals healthy grazing land to enjoy in the spring.
But our connection with the wildlife of Duncan Peak goes deeper than natural farming methods. We strive to find balance and harmony with our surrounding wildlife. As a result, you can find different animals on the property throughout the year, from wild turkeys and deer to majestic cranes resting in our pond. They are no strangers to us, nor are we to them. We are especially fond of our hummingbird friends, who spread pollen from plant to plant – you’ll see many nectar feeders on our property for these beautiful creatures. Duncan Peak is proud to provide a sanctuary for these animals and thankful for their continued presence on our land.
There are two water sources on the Duncan Peak property. Our reservoir collects rainfall in the winter and spring to use for vine irrigation. The reservoir helps reduce our impact on the aquifer and save water. In addition, gravity diverts the water to the field, reducing our vineyard’s energy use.
The second water source is spring-fed. The spring waters flow gently through the land, watering the cover plants of our vineyards and providing drinking water for the wild animals that are our neighbors. While we have access to well water, we avoid it due to its high boron content that can alter the taste of our wines.
Shortly after Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821, Alta California became a Mexican Federal Republic territory. Between 1821 and 1848, over 600 land grants were awarded to rancheros throughout California.
As a reward for his military service, Don Fernando Feliz received one of these grants from the Mexican government. Don Fernando Feliz stood atop the pinnacle of his new land where all the eye could see was his to cultivate. The highest point on which he stood would later become known as Duncan Peak.
After the conclusion of the Mexican-American war in 1848, California became a territory of the United States. During this time, Elijah Duncan had moved to Mendocino County, where he purchased land from Don Fernando Feliz. This newly acquired land by Elijah would become Duncan Ranch.
For generations, the Duncan family used most of the land for ranching. Duncan Ranch was home to countless cattle and sheep throughout its untamed plains. The Duncan family used the fertile grounds along the Russian River to grow hops. This popular crop would later lend its name to the town of Hopland.
In 1962 the Lenczowski family acquired Duncan Ranch from Bessie Duncan. The Lenczowski's would continue using the land for cattle and sheep for many years. The head of the family, Hubert Lenczowski would spend his formative years growing up on Duncan Ranch before deciding he wanted something different for this coveted patch of land.
In 1987, Hubert Lencsowski and his wife, Resa Lenczowski, both Harvard graduates, began growing Cabernet Sauvignon. Hubert and Resa became inspired by the elegant wines of the Bordeaux region of France. Soon after the first harvest, the Lenczowski's became a certified and bonded winery with the state of California. Duncan Peaks Vineyards was born and made its first marvelous appearance in the winemaking world.
Tragedy struck in 2012 as the Mendocino Fire claimes the southern block of Duncan Peak Vineyards. Within this block were the two acres of Cabernet Sauvignon planted by Hubert and Resa Lenczowski. Hubert had reached retirement age when the fire swept Duncan Peak Vineyard. With no family willing to take over the vineyard, Hubert decided he would sell both the ranch and the winery.
In 2014, the Jiang family purchased Duncan Peak Vineyards from Hubert Lenczowski. With their knowledge and experience spanning three generations in china, the Jiangs saw untapped potential in Duncan Peak Vineyards. With much work ahead of them, the family began to plan the future of the winery and vineyard.
Due to the growing business overseas in China, Max Luo would return home after completing his Master's Degree at UCLA. His sister, Jane Jiang, would take the reins as she studied alongside some of California's most revered educators in Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis. Duncan Peak Vineyards would enter a five-year dormancy during this period.
During the five-year dormancy of Duncan Peak Vineyards, Max established valuable business partners throughout Asia. Following Jane's success at UC Davis, she worked with over ten different wineries spanning the United States and Australia.
Max and Jane would oversee the rebirth of Duncan Peak and restore the vineyard to its previous glory. Together, this brother-sister duo could combine their collective experiences and share this hidden gem with the world again.
Utilizing modern technology and traditional winemaking methods, combined with the vineyard's unique characteristics, a new chapter for Duncan Peak Vineyard begins. In 2021, renowned winemaker Kale Anderson was brought onto the team as the lead winemaker. With Kale Anderson being the youngest winemaker to receive 100 points from Robert Parker Jr, the sky became the limit for Duncan Peaks.