The Dream Team

Jim Pratt

Director of Vineyard Operations

Jim Pratt, of Cornerstone Certified Vineyards, has been working as a wine grape grower of the stars for nearly 30 years. He is also 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 wine grapes in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations, including The River Road Family Vineyards and Winery property.

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

At River Road Family Vineyards and Winery, Jim offers meticulous operational skills for our world class wine grapes, guidance with all of our vineyard management duties, advice about rootstock and budwood cuttings, as well as recommendations with existing and future vineyard plantings. His farming philosophy is to give 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.)

Jim Pratt explains River Road Family Vineyards and Winery’s Goldridge 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 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 winemaker 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.