If California were to implement a Grand Cru category along Burgundian lines, then Hirsch Vineyard would easily make the grade. When David Hirsch bought his remote 400ha ranch, perched high on the ‘Extreme Sonoma coast’ in 1978 there wasn't a vineyard for miles around and he had no intention of growing vines. But his decision to plant Pinot Noir in 1980 established him as one of California's viticultural pioneers. The vineyard's reputation grew steadily, but the big break came in 1994 when Williams-Selyem, Littorai and Kistler began buying Hirsch's fruit. The subsequent success of those wines (all of which trumpeted the vineyard designation on the label) sparked widespread acclaim for the vineyard and prompted a number of high-profile wineries to establish themselves in the area.
Then, in 2002, Hirsch decided to build a winery and keep the best parcels of fruit for himself (although he still supplies grapes to a list of top Pinot producers), hiring a winemaker while he continued to oversee the viticulture. After a number of years with Ross Cobb, today that winemaker is the talented Anthony Filiberti and he works closely with David's daughter Jasmine.