Mary Elke planted Donnelly Creek in 1991. Just west of Boonville and adjacent to Ferrington Vineyard,
Donnelly Creek’s fruit forms the backbone of Breggo’s Anderson Valley Pinot Noir cuvee. On its own, this property
delivers the most muscular of Breggo’s vineyard designate Pinot Noirs.
Mary has farmed Pinot Noir since 1978 and makes wine under her own Elke Vineyards label.
Mary and her husband Tom planted their first vineyard in Napa Valley’s Coombsville region, and in 1980
also bought an apple orchard halfway between Boonville and Philo. Soon after, Mary and Tom moved their
family to Anderson Valley full time while commuting down to Napa to tend their vineyard.
The apple orchards were converted to organic farming and Mary Elke’s Organic
Apple Juice company was founded. The juice was sold throughout
California until 1986 when the discovery of an invasive apple pest resulted in a State quarantine
and the loss of two harvests. Drawing on the success of their Napa vineyard, Mary decided to plant
Pinot noir in place of the apples on their Anderson Valley home ranch.
Then in 1990, just a half mile down the road from their home ranch, Mary found the Donnelly Creek ranch
and the vines of her third vineyard were planted. By 1996, Mary was farming over 50 acres of
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris. Originally most of the production went to sparkling wine producers,
but Mary began making her own Pinot Noir under her Elke Blue Diamond label and soon other
Pinot producers were knocking on her door.
Mary continues to oversee the farming and can often be found during harvest behind the
wheel of her tractor. Donnelly Creek is a certified Fish Friendly Farming vineyard.