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In the words of Charlie Heintz: 

“This is a project that I have been wanting to get done for over 20 years. The completion and the use of this water source went into service the summer of 2009 and made a big difference in keeping all the vines in good shape in a dry year through harvest.  The addition of "extra" water will also allow us, at a future point, to plant out the rest of Heintz Ranch which would add an additional 15 acres of vineyard for total planted acres to 65.  Along with having enough water to farm it is how we collect and store the water from winter rain runoff that is the best. No ground water pumping. I keep a close eye on this pond and the water level.  This pond holds water really well, I do not see any signs of leakage. It takes about 12 inches of heavy rainfall to bring in a couple million gallons of water.  I think that I am the only guy standing out in the rain watching water go into a pond.  I am very happy with how this project turned out.”

The Heintz vineyard pond is designed to store vineyard runoff for irrigation, and to prevent offsite sedimentation. 

It also provides recreation for the owner’s family and wildlife habitat.  The pond site is in a naturally concave landform, situated approximately 600 feet from the crest of a flat top ridge. This  terrain was poorly suited for vineyard but ideal as a pond site.  The entire contributing watershed is situated on the subject property; the watershed is planted in vineyard.

Pond construction is a combination of excavation and embankment dam with an earthen liner of native clay-rich soils. The maximum pond capacity is approximately 21 acre feet. The pond spills through a grouted rock lined spillway terminating at a natural swale landform.  The 12 foot wide embankment crest is surfaced with gravel to allow vehicular access for maintenance. Three vineyard drains are directed to the pond. Construction was completed in 2008.


Owner:  Mr. Charlie Heintz   Location:  Occidental, Sonoma County


Permitting Agencies:  Sonoma County Permit & Resource Management Department and North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.


Civil Engineer:  Lescure Engineers, Inc., Jeffrey S. Loe, PE, 707-575-3427

Geotechnical Engineer:  Bauer Associates, Bryce Bauer, GE, 707-887-2505

General Engineering Contractor:  SIerra Pipeline, Mason Knechtley, 707-829-2189



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