Jumping off into Generation 4


  The project started in January of 2013 with only 50 special Syrah cuttings. As we prepare the steep hills for planting the fourth generation of vines, the extent of the project is now plainly visible. An army of metal stakes, orderly spaced at 3 x 2.5 foot intervals, covers the entire ridgeline, 15,000 strong. In the evening sun, the metal reflects a gleaming white. Read More →

Cuadrilla BBQ


We gathered in the shade of our famous oak tree the afternoon of Friday, October 30th. After taking the day off, all of our vineyard workers arrived with their families to enjoy a party held in their honor. Another year of hard work has passed, and meanwhile, our customers have purchased yet another vintage of La Cuadrilla. The Cuadrilla blend accounts for 10% of our Read More →

Concrete Post Press


Throughout California, low yields defined the 2015 vintage. Vines concentrated ripening energy on a few small clusters each. Intense wines will surely result. Tiny grapes translate to higher skin-to-juice ratio, more tannin. In short, 2015 presents the opportunity to create blockbuster wines, but to do so, the juice must be handled delicately. With potential for such strength, the wines’ profile might be dominated by robust, Read More →

A Light Harvest Finished Early


2015 Vineyard As Cuadrilla selects the last golden clusters of Roussanne, we officially conclude the 2015 harvest prior to October 1st. Two weeks earlier than ever before, and finishing at extremely low yields, 2015 wine will carry a pronounced vintage stamp. The lighter yields gave La Cuadrilla the opportunity to pick each block across the vineyard at optimal ripeness. Instead of prioritizing our favorite blocks, Read More →

The Whole Cluster Question


Taking advantage of our dry California conditions, we’ve recently pushed the envelope of whole cluster fermentation. Sashi has increased the percentage of stems each vintage beginning in 2011. Originals Syrah now ranges between 2/3 and ¾ stem inclusion and Ruben’s block remains 100%. Without rainfall and irrigation all summer, by the time we harvest, the stems are lignified to a yellow-brown. Instead of astringent green Read More →

Our Savior Ruben Solorzano


The story of the 2015 California vintage is one about dramatically low yields.  The prolonged drought and an unusually cold spring combined for very few grapes hanging on vines.  Vintners identified low cluster counts early on, but as the Pinot Noir harvest began, weights averaged 60% of the already light forecasts.  The bunches are tiny without much juice. Pinot Noir is one of the most Read More →

Para Maria de los Tecolotes


Para Maria Those who visit the vineyard catch only fleeting glimpses of Maria Solorzano. She zooms through the vineyard on her ATV inspecting blocks, occasionally jumping off to check in with La Cuadrilla members spread out on foot across the hillsides. As forewoman of Stolpman Vineyards, Maria executes all of Ruben’s viticultural ideas. While Ruben consults on other properties, Maria takes care of the home Read More →

2015: Vineyard in Balance


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


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


  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 →