2015: Vineyard in Balance

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Walking the vineyard on July 13, 2015 the vines themselves appear to be in perfect balance. Perhaps the most important word in fine wine, most wine drinkers don’t realize that balance – seamless deliciousness – must come from the vineyard. A balanced vineyard creates a balanced wine. How can a vineyard be in balance? The grape clusters are small and loose, hanging with space between Read More →

Mourvedre Revisited

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In the 90s, after we tasted the stand-out success of Syrah, we planted a two acre test block of Mourvedre. After 10 years we concluded that the vineyard is too cold for the varietal – most years we failed to get it adequately ripe. We grafted the vines to Syrah. Today, on the heels of three warm vintages and armed with new approaches to viticulture, Read More →

Fatalistic Farmer

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  The Looming Threats Judging by the past three glorious vintages and the moment’s decent national economy, wine quality and subsequent demand is stronger than ever. In this respect, Stolpman Vineyard’s future is looking great. However, at the end of the day, we are farmers. Doom always lurks around the corner. Customers constantly inquire about the drought. For now – thanks to our quality-oriented decision Read More →

Tacos + Mariachis – A La Cuadrilla Fiesta

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The entire Stolpman Vineyards team spent the evening of May 30th enjoying the vineyard to celebrate La Cuadrilla. On the lawn under the magnificent Oak, we gathered to relax and take in the natural beauty of the vineyard. Of course, we enjoyed plenty of wine together, the fruit of our combined labor. The day prior, Ruben slaughtered a lamb to slow cook in a vat Read More →

East V West

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Still Sun v. Late Blustery Wind Throughout May, night time temperatures dip into the low forties. Well before 9am the fog burns off. Then, for a fleeting moment, mid-morning on the vineyard defines perfection: seventy degrees and an ocean breeze. Around noon that breeze whips into a fury – first in gusts and then filling in to become a wall of constant arctic invasion. On Read More →

History of Stolpman Sangiovese

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Tom Stolpman describes himself as an Italophile – he loves everything Italian, but especially, Italian wine. Tom’s passion served as the sole motivator to plant Italian varietals on our Ballard Canyon property in the mid ‘90s. He chose perhaps the two most heralded grapes from the top of the Boot – Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. While the cold nights and gale force winds of Ballard Canyon Read More →

The Sangiovese Scare

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Even before we bottled the inaugural 2013 vintage of Carbonic Sangiovese, rumors of Estate Sangiovese’s discontinuation spread throughout our mailing list. Over the past 15 years, Wine Club members have become fiercely devoted to the Estate bottling. Upon hearing my enthusiastic rantings about a new style of Sangiovese made to drink chilled, folks feared the hipster Carbonic bottling might eat into the Estate production. A Read More →

One isn’t Always the Loneliest Number – The Art of ‘Thinning’

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One Cluster per Shoot Thinning all of our Syrah to one cluster per shoot might be the most striking example of Stolpman’s dedication to quality at the sacrifice of quantity. Key to Dry Farming Ruben will not water any of our Syrah once the vines set grapes in mid-May. The vines’ fight through the summer will yield naturally concentrated, vibrant, and nuanced Syrah. Thankfully, Syrah Read More →

Omar Oliver – The New Kid & his Block

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We are now 3 years deep into our unprecedented Syrah experiment! Short white cylinders protect tightly spaced vines spanning up the steep hillside in perfectly straight lines. Each plant roots downward within two meters of 8 neighboring vines. Stacked on top of one another to force competition, the vines immediately penetrate limestone subsoil. In 2013 we started with 50 special Syrah cuttings. 49 grew, and Read More →

Ballard Canyon: Ruben Solorzano’s Wild Empire

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Beautiful Weeds In early spring the vineyard lies covered in an array of weeds speckled with bright mustard and purple lupine. La Cuadrilla moves through the chest high forest concentrating only on pruning. Ruben and the team take great pride in the wild appearance of the land. We leave the weeds and planted pea-shoot cover crop until the forecast indicates an end to winter rain. Read More →