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Beckmen TJ budding merlot

2020 Spring at our Vineyard & Winery

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. 

Beckmen pmv eastward april small
Springtime on our certified biodynamic Purisima Mountain Vineyard, with wild mustard and cover crops flourishing.
Beckmen TJ budding syrah
Budding Syrah.
Beckmen TJ april growth
Facing South on the Thomas and Judith Beckmen Estate Vineyard, with Cabernet Sauvignon to the left and Grenache to the right.

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.

Beckmen spring tractor weeding staff hr
Longtime employees Jorge, Hugo, and Abel chat with Tom Beckmen, owner.
Beckmen TJ hugo tractor
Hugo drives the tractor, weeding between Cabernet Sauvignon vines.

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.

Beckmen TJ may cabernet
The same Cabernet Sauvignon block a month and a half later.

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.

Puncheon barrels 2019 vintage
Two puncheon barrels inside our estate barrel room.
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