Wine estates — and by this I mean properties whose wines are produced solely from their own fruit — have a life of their own, one that reflects as much the ebb and flow of the vineyards as it does the personalities who direct them.

It is obvious why this should be so: plantings evolve in terms of composition, the age and health of the vines, and the part they play in blends and single-site wines. So do the viticulturists and the winemakers who make decisions about the vineyards and the winemaking process. After all, not many winemakers stay at the same cellar for more than 15 or 20 years...

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