Category Archives: Vineyard Revolution

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 →

High Density Saga pt.1 – Weeding

The head-pruned high-density saga This growing season we face the practical challenges of farming 11 acres of newly-planted high-density head-pruned vines.  In previous years, only Ruben’s Block, totaling 6,000 vines, was planted in this fashion.  Throughout the winter and early spring, we added another 66,000 babies.  The vines are planted at 3×2.5 foot spacing to increase root competition.  Each small vine will produce only 2-3 Read More →

Carbonic Sangiovese and the Growing Niche for Chilled Reds

Our Chilled Red Wine Program Carbonic Sangiovese stirs up a bit of controversy.  When presented as a cold, more substantial alternative to Rose, people often fall in love with the cherry fruit purity and light, refreshing finish.  When people pop the cork expecting a rich, coating, more traditional California red – especially if the bottle is at summertime room temperature – reactions become mixed, often Read More →