Our estate vineyard is planted on the hilltop mesa overlooking the tasting
room, orchard and lower vegetable gardens. The vineyard is a set of rolling
and undulating hills, each planted to a grape varietal best suited to
that particular location. The vines are all planted on their own roots,
set into the classic 8'x10' spacing.
Vineyard Manager Armando Zepeda has
been farming the vineyard since it was first planted, and seems to know
each vine personally. Armando is joined in the vineyard by soil consultant
Harvest generally begins in October of each year,
followed by the planting of a cover crop of barley, sweet pea and fava
beans for the winter months. January brings the pruning crew, with each
vine cane-pruned, with bud-break arriving in April, fruit set in May
and veraison in August.
The vineyard maps show the changes over the years. The original vineyard plan was relatively simple, with largish blocks containing a single grape varietal: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. This reflects our original focus on Bordeaux-style wines.
Over the years, our understanding of what grows well in our part of Santa Ynez Valley and our tastes in wine have evolved and we have grafted some of the original vines to other varietals. The biggest change is the addition of the Rhône varietals Syrah, Grenache Noir, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc and Viognier. Malbec was added to our palette of red Bordeaux reds and the Musque clone of Sauvignon Blanc added to give greater complexity and aromatics.