Our winemaking philosophy is based in our firm belief that fine wines are first made in the vineyard. By this we mean that crafting great wines requires superb quality grapes - which can only come from unique, well-tended vineyards. In the cellar, we may be very gentle with a lot (Pinot Noir), or we may be a bit rough with another (Cabernet Sauvignon). We want to capture the intensity that comes from these vineyard sites, but in a balanced fashion so that our wines enhance, not overpower the meal or occasion.
Our Natural Winegrowing Techniques
Depending upon the location, we farm everything we make either sustainably or organically. These are not the easiest or least expensive practices, but we believe we are temporary stewards of the land and have found these practices enhance the development of "local flavors" in our wines.
- We encourage cover crops and add organic matter to naturally replenish the soil with nitrogen and increase diversity of flora and fauna while preventing erosion. These cover crops also reduce need for fumigation and support beneficial insects for pest management; they help conserve water and soil, creating the basis for sustained production and fine quality wines.
- We encourage the proliferation of natural predators to control vine pests and rodents.
- We reduce insect pests, powdery mildew and bunch rot through leaf removal and canopy management. Character and balance in the grapes are enhanced by improved sunlight and air penetration.
- We crop thin and remove shoots to naturally control vigor and limit yield per vine, increasing flavors and aromas.
In Our Cellar
While we believe the finest wines are "made in the vineyard" through proper sustainable and organic farming activities, our cellar techniques are critical to ensure the diligence exercised in the vineyards does not go to waste.
For starters, and to ensure the finest quality, we hand prune and hand-harvest every vineyard we work. We also hand-sort the grapes in the vineyard to cull inferior bunches. When the grapes arrive at the winery they are carefully weighed and sorted by hand (again). These steps may seem trivial, but the vast majority of wines in the world never see such expensive luxuries.
We use only French barrels and for most wines, use them judiciously. We want the grape and vineyard flavors to be in balance with the toasty French oak