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Video: 2019 Winter at our Vineyard & Winery

Posted: Feb 1, 2019

Fol­low along with wine­mak­er Steve Beck­men as he describes what’s keep­ing him and the team busy in the win­ter months of 2019.

In the Vineyard

Wine­mak­ing is a cycle, and as we enter the new year the cycle con­tin­ues with prun­ing all 150 acres of Beck­men grapevines. Our crew pass­es through the vine­yard twice: once for the ini­tial pre-prune of the canopy — clear­ing out the tall canes and brush — and sec­ond for the crit­i­cal final prune cut. Prun­ing is a very impor­tant step as it sets up the crop size for the year ahead. For every one bud we leave behind, there will hope­ful­ly be a cou­ple of clus­ters of grapes come spring. A lot of oth­er fac­tors will effect the crop size through­out the grow­ing sea­son, but this is the first step to set the stage for the 2019 vintage. 

The grapevines may be bare and dor­mant, but our cov­er crops are grow­ing beau­ti­ful­ly due to the steady rain we received in the begin­ning of Jan­u­ary. Every Decem­ber, we plant an organ­ic cov­er crop between the rows of grapevines as a nat­ur­al way to feed and add nitro­gen back into our soil. The crop is a mix of grass and legumes (climb­ing peas, vetch, and beans), which will con­tin­ue to grow until they start to flower. Then, we will mow each row and run a disc to incor­po­rate the ben­e­fi­cial, organ­ic plant mate­ri­als into the soil. The legumes have nitro­gen fix­ing nod­ules on their root sys­tems, improv­ing the health of our soil in the most nat­ur­al way possible. 

In the Winery

We are gear­ing up for bot­tling sea­son! A lot of work must hap­pen before the wine goes into the bot­tle; we’re busy fin­ish­ing blends (some­times a blend of all one vari­etal, some­times a blend of dif­fer­ent vari­etals), emp­ty­ing bar­rels, fill­ing tanks, and fin­ish­ing wines. We will be bot­tling dif­fer­ent wines for two to three days every month for the next six months. Our wines are bot­tled via a mobile bot­tling line, so if you see a semi-truck parked next to the win­ery you know what we are up to!

Bar­rel man­age­ment is also an impor­tant task dur­ing the win­ter months. We taste every­thing in bar­rel, mak­ing sure the wines are devel­op­ing well as they age and mature. We check the sec­ondary fer­men­ta­tion (mal­o­lac­tic fer­men­ta­tion, where mal­ic acid is con­vert­ed to lac­tic acid) which hap­pens after the pri­ma­ry (alco­hol) fer­men­ta­tion. This sec­ondary fer­men­ta­tion enhances the tex­ture and feel of the wine, adding a rounder, creami­er qual­i­ty. All of our red wines will go through this sec­ond step, while we inhib­it it in most of our white wines.

Click here to learn more about the four wines released this quar­ter and watch Steve present each wine – how it was made, its fla­vors and aro­mas, sur­pris­ing fun facts – for the very first time.

Want to see more of our videos? Check out the Beck­men Vine­yards YouTube chan­nel to view more videos from our win­ery and vine­yard, as well as videos about our new wine releases.

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