In Our Vineyards
Springtime is a period of growth and renewal in our vineyards, as our vines wake up from their winter dormancy and their buds come out to say hello. The spring months are also a challenging time of year due to the danger of frost on the 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 overhead sprinklers for frost protection on only roughly 10% of the grapevines.
Managing our weeds and cover crops is an important springtime task. Our beneficial cover crops will be tilled, incorporating the nutritious plant material into the soil. 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.
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 best shoots to carry on until fruiting. 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.
Applying BD Preparations
One of the key components to biodynamic farming is applying eight different preparations to our farm. These“preps” are made from herbs, mineral substances, and animal manures, applied to the vineyard and/or the soil in minute doses, similar to homeopathy for humans.
Spring is when we incorporate our compost into the vineyard. The compost is made from the manure of our farm animals (cows, pigs and chickens) along with the BD compost preps 502 – 507. This is applied through our drip system to enhance fertility and encourage the growth of microbial life in the soil.
Once there is some vine growth later in the spring, herbal teas are applied to help with any micronutrient needs, sap flow, and overall health of the vine. These herbs include nettles, chamomile, and dandelion that we harvest from around the farm.
We are proud to be the fifth largest certified biodynamic vineyard in California. Visit www.demeter-usa.org to learn more about this holistic, proactive approach to farming.
Inside Our Winery
During the spring months we begin our assemblage – blending our different lots prior to bottling – for our 2021 red wines, which is a really fun time as a winemaker! It allows us a sneak preview of the next vintage.
The barrel room remains a reflection of the vineyard. 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 of our portfolio.
Visit Our Working Winery Estate
We are open for outdoor wine tastings and gazebo reservations. Reservations are recommended. The spring and early summer months are a beautiful time to visit our vineyard; the grapevines create a picturesque view as their young shoots continue to grow, and you can see the young grape berries go through the flowering, fruit set, and veraison stages.
We are open for wine tastings and gazebo reservations every day. You can book your reservation on our website or call us at 805−688−8664 ext. 200. We look forward to seeing you soon!