Jim Pratt’s (Cornerstone Certified Vineyards) been working as a wine grape grower of the stars for nearly 30 years, which also includes being a veteran of the grapevine nursery business. In 1995, Jim Pratt bought what he would later call the “Pratt Vineyard,” after a career working with Rich Kunde at Sonoma Grapevines (a Santa Rosa-based nursery no longer in business). Today, in addition to his own vineyard, he owns, leases, or manages over 200 acres of six grape varieties (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Dolcetto,) in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast AVAs. His grapes go in Imagery Viognier and MacPhail Pinot Noir. What he’s growing:

  • Chardonnay (selections 2, 4, 5, 15, 75, 77, 78, 95, 277)
  • Viognier (selection 1)
  • Dolcetto (selections 1, 69, 275 )
  • Merlot (selections 3, 181, 343, 348)
  • Pinot Noir (selections 2A, Pommard 4 and 5, 9, 23, 113, 114, 115, 777, 828, Calera, Swan, Mt. Eden)

According to wine writer Virginie Boone, in a story she wrote for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat in 2010, “And so it went through the years, with Pratt becoming one of the more sought-after vineyard managers and growers.”

Today, Cornerstone Certified Vineyard, owned and operated by Jim Pratt, offers clients his vineyard management services, rootstock and budwood cuttings, and wine grape sales. In addition to vineyard management, Pratt also helps with vineyard installation, consults with vineyard owners on their own sites regarding existing or future vineyard plantings. Jim is known and highly respected for practicing meticulous management and is in close communications with his clients and wineries, while  managing world class wine grapes. Clients’ vineyards range from two acres to 40 acres.

Pratt and his crew manage vineyards, whose wine grapes go to the following wines:

Inman Family Wines
Piper Sonoma
Truett and Hurst
Peter Michael
MacPhail Family Wines
River Road Family Vineyards and Winery

His farming philosophy is to give to the customer the best product possible; respect his crew and neighbors; and to remember that his vineyard is a reflection of who he is. (An avid diver, Jim’s favorite wine and food pairing is Pinot Noir and abalone. On the philanthropic side, he enjoys donating the fruits of his diving labor to different charitable auctions.)

In the past, Jim has worked on the SRJC Ag Trust, and had the privilege of being the chairman for the 2005 fundraiser, the AgStravanganza. The event raised over $500,000 for the SRJC Shone Farm and the Warren G. Dutton, Jr. Ag Pavilion.

Crinella Winery:  Jim Pratt and his Cornerstone Certified Vineyard Management Company joined the Crinella team in 2002.  Jim Pratt’s goal: “Our goal was to get the maximum quality from each grape through careful clone selection, vine spacing, limited fruit production per vine and the most effective vineyard layout and design for optimizing the terroir… We’re meticulous about vines with too much fruit… We take additional passes on shoot positioning and leaf thinning, looking at pounds per vine and clusters per shoot rather than so many tons per acre.” Endorsement from Ramona Crinella: “Jim Pratt is one of the best vineyard managers around,” asserts Ramona. “There are a lot of good growers who are strictly farming oriented, but Jim understands the winemaking side, and that makes for a successful collaboration.” The two work closely throughout the growing season, walking the vineyards and tasting grapes daily as harvest approaches. “We want to pinpoint that magic moment for harvest. You can make a good wine on either side, but a great wine is harvested at that ideal time.”
River Road Family Vineyards and Winery: Jim Pratt explains River Road Family Vineyards and Winery’s Gold Ridge Sandy Loam soil ~ It’s unique to this winery’s area in Green Valley, beginning from just north of Forestville and Petaluma and going up to Sebastopol. Hundreds of thousands of years ago it was under the sea as part of the Pacific Ocean. When the Pacific receded, it left great soil: sandstone, down about anywhere from about five to nine feet, with a sandy loam soil on top. So what we have is a moderate clay layer that’s permeable to water. This gives us outstanding drainage, with the sandy loam on top. This is good nutrient content, but not so much that it dictates the vigor of the vine. This way the wine maker and grape grower can actually work together with the soil, take what it gives, and then add this Russian River area climate. We have the best of both worlds; we have great soil and outstanding climate. This gives us a perfect terroir… It also makes for the perfect opportunity to grow exceptional wine, and that’s what we have at River Road Family Vineyards and Winery.
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