Old vines of pinot noir seem to only exist in small pockets around the state. While they are slightly more plentiful in the Russian River, they are certainly not in abundance. Many older pinot noir vineyards were planted to make sparkling wine. The thinking at the time was that the area south of River Road (there was no “Russian River Valley” at the time) was too cold to ripen pinot noir enough to make a quality still wine, but since grapes for sparkling wine don’t have to be as ripe, this was a good place for that. The way these vines were trained to grow makes caring for and harvesting them expensive. This, along with declining production from the vines caused many of them to be torn out.
Here and there, they still exist. Often they are only found in small family owned vineyards, only an acre or two in size. It takes a lot of work to maintain these old vines, but the payoff is enormous. Wonderful flavors explode from the grapes creating wines of great character and intensity.