In our Estate Vineyards
Springtime is a beautiful season on our vineyards, as our vines wake up from their winter dormancy and budbreak occurs. The spring months are also a challenging time of year due to the danger of frost on these tender, young green shoots. We get some cold nights in the Santa Ynez Valley, and if the temperature dips below 36°F – when ice can form – an alarm will alert Steve Beckmen’s cell phone, notifying him to turn on the sprinklers at the Thomas and Judith Beckmen Estate Vineyard. By spraying water over the vineyard, it allows the air around the vine to stay warmer than it naturally would be. On Purisima Mountain Vineyard, we have no frost protection; the cold air simply settles at the bottom of the vineyard.
Managing our weeds and cover crops is an important springtime task. Our beneficial cover crop will be tilled, incorporating the nutritious plant material into the soil. For most of the vineyard’s weeds, we use a tractor implement that works between the vines like a knife, going just under the surface of the soil to cut the weeds down. In other areas, where the space between the vines is tight or the vines are too young, our vineyard crew will hand hoe the weeds.
We will start shoot thinning once the vines start to grow. Shoot thinning is removing the unwanted sucker shoots and excess shoots that we do not want on the vine, leaving only the shoots that will be carrying fruit for this year’s harvest. The shoots we keep will then be tucked into the vertical shoot positioning trellis system; we’ll position the shoots between two pairs of wires like a hedge for the vines where appropriate.
Inside our Winery
We will begin our assemblage – blending our different lots prior to bottling – for our 2019 red wines, which is a really fun time as a winemaker! During harvest, we pick and ferment our grapes in small lots, enabling us to capture the individuality of each particular block in both of the vineyards. Each lot is kept in separate barrel programs, so when it comes time to blending, we can take samples from all of the different barrels to create the final blend. This attention to detail creates wines with more depth and distinct layers of flavor; a certain lot could include anywhere from 1 – 2 barrels to 15 – 20 barrels, which is reflected in the different bottlings and price points of our portfolio.
Posted In:Wine 101