Terroir; From Great Vines Come Great Wines.

Chapter Eleven. Part Three.

“An important part of the pleasure of wine is its reflection of the total environment that produced it. If I find in a wine no hint of where it was grown, no mark of the summer when the fruit ripened, and no indication of the usages common among those who made it, I am frustrated and disappointed. Because that is what good, honest wine should offer. It is not just a commodity subjected to techniques to boost this or that element to meet the current concept of a marketable product.”¹

Gerald Asher, A Vineyard in My Glass

Terroir Puzzle 2 copyThere’s an expression among winemakers that says, “95% of every wine is made in the vineyard.” This simply means that despite the best efforts of man to manipulate wine, its quality ultimately depends on the grapes they start with. Unless of course man takes his 5% and really screws things up, in which case he’ll remind us that 95% of the wine is made in the vineyard. And in case you’re wondering, that’s the vineyard where sour grapes come from.

Read More

The Topsy-Turvy Vineyards Of Babcock Winery.

Bryan Babcock & WineSnark tour Babcock Vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation of the Central Coast.

Bryan Babcock & WineSnark tour Babcock Vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation of the Central Coast.

From the back seat of Bryan Babcock’s Volkswagen I noticed something unusual about his vineyards. The grapes were experiencing an unusually early onset of veraison (when grapes soften and change color) but it wasn’t the patch-quilt appearance of the clusters that caught my attention. Babcock’s Pinot Noir vines appeared to be growing upside-down.

Babcock, a born innovator, explained, “I’ve worked out a system that allows the vines to grow more naturally. I’ve taken the starting point of my growing higher off the ground so that my shoots can grow down naturally … as opposed to working against gravity.” The visual effect can be startling

Read More