H o w W e K n o w
W e A r e I n T h e
R i g h t V i n e y a r d
and how the vineyard reaches into the winery
The short answer is that it is a feeling of connection.
The long answer is to discuss what is the nature of connection.
Our very close and dear friends grow the grapes
that we grow-up into the wines we offer.
They are the families that planted the vineyards,
so there is a connection there that you can't buy.
How we met these fine folks are funny stories,
but let's not make the long answer ultra long.
Let us just say that friendships create an even more
tender connection that adds to the basic feeling of connection to the land.
Here is the operative essence of our style of connection:
Because we make such limited amounts of wine, the vineyard owners, our friends,
let us have the run of the site. And we love that, because at the beginning of
each growing year, Krassi and I go out for a picnic and a picking
of the blocks, or the rows, or a portion of a row.
Each year we look around and say, are we missing something?
Is there some part of this wonderful vineyard that we have overlooked?
Asking these questions, the vineyard reveals the answers with things like:
the age of the vines,
specific facings that we may not have which will give different ripening qualities,
a different soil or drainage, Next Page
a new clone that is coming into production or we haven't tried,
and we readily include answers where we can't articulate the reason, we just feel it.
Making wine from a new block will mean even more work, so we avoid the
tendency to make blocks like baseball trading cards, or buying shoes.
There has to be a compelling reason. And if compelled, we gladly accept
the new member into the family.
Then we turn our attention to the blocks from which we already harvest,
or more properly put,
the row or rows we harvest from within that block.
We ask ourselves:
Do we want to add or subtract a row?
Do we want to move the row we harvested last year to one or more rows to the
North or South, East or West?
What are the previous vintages telling us?
With the picnic and picking we have laid the foundation for that harvest,
we now have our rows.
There is much work and fine tunning of the vines and crop to come during
the growing year, but let's fast-forward to the picking day. If at all possible,
Krassimira and I are there to help pick the grapes and drive them to the winery, where
we crush that row into a small bin fermenter.
( This is the point that we may become what some people consider as
We have the illusion that we are still in the vineyard as we continue the
process in the winery. We know right where those grapes came from in that
fermenter that will be pressed individually to that specific barrel.)
What I have described directly above is the basic problem with crazy people,
everything makes perfect sense to them and not necessarily to others.
Our 'craziness' comes from knowing these blocks, which are rows, which become
single barrels, from the get-go. We have the connection to the vineyard by
having the illusion that we are still out there.
We watch the vines progress barrel by barrel and give nudges or leeway
where appropriate. We do this for about 14 to 15 months,
or until the wines have made their initial stage of revealing themselves.
Then with much more sobriety than we exhibit in our picnic mode,
we taste, re-taste, taste in the context of food, and contemplate what is best.
One of two traditional paths are taken. Should we bottle the barrel separately,
or would it improve by marrying it to other barrels, other rows of vines.
This is the question we ask ourselves.
Would this barrel be happier if it were Pinot du Jour?
Would it by happier if another winery owned it?
And then we do it, whatever the doing or non-doing is.
With great interest we watch the progress again for another 8 to 9 months until
bottling. Now the wine is really guiding itself, we are now hovering stewards.
Because we have committed ourselves, we will never know if we should have
done it differently. But what silly second guessing.
By using one of these two traditional bottling approaches,
Specific Barrel bottlings or Married Barrel bottlings
we know that we are making pure, un-engineered wines.
This is the agrarian approach.
The vineyard is speaking in a way that is clear,
it is not muffled as it can be when one starts to fiddle around too much.
The wines are what they are,
they won't get bottled under the Trademark unless they are