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Beckmen pmv b4 syrah

Springtime in the Vineyard

Posted: Mar 30, 2021

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, how­ev­er, we have no over­head sprin­klers for frost protection. 

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Syrah budbreak in Block Six on Purisima Mountain Vineyard.
Beckmen pmv b9 spring2
Chardonnay budbreak in Block Nine on Purisima Mountain Vineyard.

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. 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.

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Cabernet Sauvignon vines before weeding.
Beckmen TJ B5 hoeing
Members of our vineyard crew weeding between Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines.

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 B7 spring pulling
Shoot thinning Grenache grapevines near our tasting room.

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.

In the spring months, we will spray a manure com­post (BD 500) across the vine­yard, pro­mot­ing soil fer­til­i­ty and micro­bial life. For wet­ter years when we get a lot of rain­fall, we will also use a net­tle spray (BD 504). Some vines strug­gle to pick-up the nutri­ents they need, and sting­ing net­tle allows them to take up what’s read­i­ly avail­able around them. 

We are proud to be the fifth largest cer­ti­fied bio­dy­nam­ic vine­yard in Cal­i­for­nia. Vis­it www​.deme​ter​-usa​.org to learn more about this holis­tic, proac­tive approach to farming. 

Beckmen barrels spring2021
Inside our estate barrel room.

Inside our Winery

Dur­ing the spring months we begin our assem­blage – blend­ing our dif­fer­ent lots pri­or to bot­tling – for our 2020 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 of our portfolio. 

Beckmen upper pond april
A look across one of our vineyard ponds to our private gazebos, available by reservation for picnics and enjoying wine by the bottle.

Visit Our Working Winery Estate

We are safe­ly open for out­door wine tast­ings and gaze­bo reser­va­tions by appoint­ment only. 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 Thurs­day — Sun­day. You can book your reser­va­tion on our web­site or call us at 8056888664 ext. 200. We look for­ward to see­ing you soon!

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