Category Archives: Vineyard Revolution

Nebbiolo, The ‘Tough’ Guy.

    Nebbiolo might be the toughest European vinifera grape for New World winemakers to craft. Attempts to make compelling expressions of the grape seldom result in wines with any resemblance to the Piedmontese greats. This didn’t stop Tom Stolpman from trying: Back in 1995, Dad took a stab at crafting a New World Barolo when he ambitiously (crazily) planted 10 acres of Nebbiolo. For Read More →

Own Rooted Vines: The Risk

Today, Stolpman Vineyards stands at 41% own-rooted, with over 100,000 vines on their own European Vinifera roots. While this exposes us to the risk of phylloxera, we believe that Ballard Canyon’s arid climate, combined with our practice of withholding irrigation for six months every year, greatly reduces the likelihood that the bug could live and thrive in our vineyard. The root louse is much more Read More →

Heat & Wind

The beginning of May brought with it the first heat-wave of the year, with temperatures on the vineyard climbing above 90 degrees. The warmth and sunshine turbocharged the vines, with Sangiovese and Grenache both beginning to bloom. Potentially disastrous, the heatwave was followed by a storm. High winds were forecasted in front of the weather system. Because we are situated on Point Conception west of Read More →

Winter Rain and its Implications – Drought, Weeds and Sheep

A panelist at Rhone Ranger’s 2016 San Francisco Seminar said it best, “there is only one vintage in California, and that is Napa Cabernet.” One only needs to look back to 2011 to find a prime example. Sections of Napa Valley received 5 inches of rain during Cabernet harvest. That same storm brought less than .5 inches to the greater Santa Ynez Valley, yet California’s Read More →

Flow Theory: One with the Vine

Vineyard Manager Ruben Solorzano returned from his research trip to Burgundy brimming with excitement and new ideas. Ruben identified the major difference in approach between French vintners farming old, healthy vines versus those that routinely rip out mature vines due to lack of productivity: The former group fixates on the natural flow of the vine’s energy. Ruben immediately implemented Flow Theory technique into our younger Read More →

Simon and Sirch Method: A Revolution in Pruning

Simon & Sirch Pruning Method from Stolpman Vineyards on Vimeo.   This January we were honored with a visit from “The Italian Pruning Guys”. The group travels the world teaching vintners the Simon and Sirch method of pruning. The method has been developed to extend vines’ lifespans. I was shocked to learn that the average vine lives less than 20 years in Europe.  Increasing a vines’ Read More →

Defining the “Red Wine Drinker’s White”

In 2016, Roussanne clusters hung on the vine through October.  La Cuadrilla waited for the Roussanne to ripen for almost a month after finishing the red harvest.  The crew passed the time picking olives and taking down bird nets.  This delay explains a lot about the behavior of our Roussanne wines.  With the longest hang-time in Ballard Canyon, the extra month of maturation allows for Read More →

2016: The Tale of Two Vintages

In early September, the 2016 Santa Barbara County vintage appeared to be a moderate one.  The grapes picked then will turn into bright, fresh wines with high acids.  Then, a moderate offshore heat-spike hit the weekend of September 17, followed by a slightly more pronounced heat-spike the very next weekend. The vintage can now be clearly divided in half: grapes harvested before heat (BH) and Read More →

New Fermenting Methodology in 2016

Harvesting Based on Taste We spend much of our days walking the vineyard rows, constantly tasting grapes. West faces, east faces, hilltops – each side of the vine – and grapes from varying positions on clusters; all examined. We taste the sweetness and flavor profile, paying close attention to the softening texture of the skins and seeds – both will define the tannin structure of Read More →

2016 Vintage Update: Diving In

Across Santa Barbara County, the cold nights and moderate day time highs have resulted in phenolic and sugar ripeness at high acid levels. The resulting wines should be bright and vervy, and, age-able for decades. September 7th marked the first Syrah harvest night at Stolpman. We kicked off with the crown of Ruben’s block and some own-rooted high-density Syrah destined for the Estate bottling. By Read More →