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Video: 2019 Spring at our Vineyard & Winery

Posted: May 1, 2019

Spring is an excit­ing time at our estate vine­yards, as the vines wake up from their win­ter dor­man­cy and new growth begins to flour­ish. This year was espe­cial­ly stun­ning due to the record rain­fall San­ta Bar­bara Coun­ty received in the win­ter months, cre­at­ing lush cov­er crops and abun­dant weeds. Dis­cov­er what we’re up to in the vine­yards and win­ery this time of year in the video below.

In the Vineyard

The spring months are can be 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.

With the intense rains we had this win­ter, we have a lot of cov­er crops and weeds to con­tend with. Since we don’t use her­bi­cides on our bio­dy­nam­ic vine­yards, we have a lot of work to do! 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.

Once the vines start to grow, we will start shoot thin­ning. 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.

In the Winery

We will begin our assem­blage – blend­ing our dif­fer­ent lots pri­or to bot­tling – for our 2018 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.

Click here to learn more about the four wines released this quar­ter and watch Steve present each wine – how it was made, its fla­vors and aro­mas, sur­pris­ing fun facts – for the very first time.

Want to see more of our videos? Check out the Beck­men Vine­yards YouTube chan­nel to view more videos from our win­ery and vine­yard, as well as videos about our new wine releases.

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