We’re gearing up for a grand celebration this month: 30 remarkable harvests!
As we prepare to pop the corks on this special anniversary, we wanted to sit down with our winemaker, Steve Beckmen, and reflect on three decades of winemaking by answering 30 quick questions. Here’s our Beckmen story — so far:
1. What inspired your father to start Beckmen Vineyards?
A farmer at heart, he wanted to get back to working the land.
2. If you could describe Beckmen Vineyards in three words, what would they be?
Family. Tradition. Delicious!
3. What makes the 30th harvest so special for Beckmen Vineyards?
It is a milestone and a proud testament to our enduring passion and success.
4. How are you celebrating the 30th harvest anniversary?
Crafting even more delightful wines!
5. How has Beckmen Vineyards evolved over the last 30 years?
At its heart, Beckmen is a traditional wine company. We have refined our wines over the past 30 years, mirroring the vineyard’s growth.
6. If you could go back to your first harvest, what advice would you give yourselves?
Trust your instincts more, and listen to consultants less!
7. Can you share a memory in memorable story from your first harvest?
The first harvest was late and consisted of very long days – 15 hours at least. The small old equipment we were using took a long time to process and clean!
8. Can you share an interesting anecdote about a harvest past?
Most memories of past harvest involve the crews, the fun, the hard work and the play. It is always about making great wine with great people.
9. Which year was your most memorable harvest, and why?
There have been a few years where we have seen big improvements in quality: 1997, 2001, 2003. More recently, 2018 stands out for its across-the-board excellence.
Ups and Downs:
10. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in these 30 harvest years?
Initially, building our brand. Now, it’s about trying to maintain our relevance in the ever changing world of new wines, wineries and regions.
11. How have you seen the wine industry change over the past 30 years?
There are too many ways to list here!
12. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in 30 years of winemaking?
The art of waiting — patience.
13. Can you share a highlight or standout moment from your journey?
Getting a call from the White House and having our 2007 Estate Grenache served at a State Dinner.
A Glass Half Full Approach:
14. What is your favorite Beckmen wine, and why?
Tough pick! But because of what these wines have meant to the winery, I would say 1997 SBC Syrah, 2001 PMV Syrah Clone 1, 2003 PMV Grenache, and 2003 PMV Syrah Block Six.
15. What are the unique characteristics of wines produced in your vineyards?
Our wines balance depth and richness with finesse and texture.
16. How has biodynamic farming changed the quality and taste of your wines?
It has been a big part of the elegance and texture side of our wine style, bringing more refinement and focus to the wines.
17. What’s one vineyard practice you swear by?
Un-trellised, free-standing Grenache vines.
18. What sets Beckmen Vineyards apart from other wineries in Santa Barbara County?
One of the few estate-grown independently farmed wineries in the County.
19. Can you share a surprising fact about Beckmen Vineyards that most people don’t know?
Pioneers at heart, we were Santa Barbara County’s first to bottle varietal Grenache and Grenache Blanc.
20. What is the best food pairing for your signature Purisima Red Wine?
Being 100% Syrah, it’s a match made in heaven with lamb.
21. How do you decide which grapes to grow in your vineyards?
Our climate and soils have always led the way in our decisions on varieties to plant and craft.
22. What’s the secret to aging wine gracefully?
Consistency in cellar conditions and, of course, patience.
23. How do you balance tradition and innovation in winemaking?
I tilt towards tradition. Sometimes, the most innovative step is going back to the roots.
24. How does the terroir of Santa Ynez Valley influence your wines?
The Santa Ynez Valley is distinguished by its unique microclimates, rich variety of soils, and a longer growing season due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. These factors, combined with cool nights and warm days, allow for the slow maturation of grapes, resulting in the Beckmen wines you’ve come to know and love — ones with vibrant acidity and nuanced flavors.
25. How do you see Beckmen Vineyards evolving over the next 30 years?
While I hope to be crafting wines, I dream of the next generation infusing their style and vision.
26. What’s your favorite part of the vineyard to visit, and why?
Purisima Mountain’s peak. Its 360-degree view of Santa Ynez Valley.
27. How do you ensure sustainability in your winemaking process?
Our winemaking crew is very small and consistent. We try to take good care of each other and, of course, great care of the wines.
28. What does the future hold for Beckmen Vineyards?
Uncertain, but our compass will always be pointed toward excellence — in our vineyard, wines, and service.
29. What’s the most rewarding part of winemaking for you?
The smiles and contentment of our wine lovers!
30. Finally, what’s one message you’d like to share with the Beckmen Vineyards community on this special 30th harvest anniversary?
Keep enjoying the wines, and we promise to continue to make them better and better over the next 30!