New Syrah Block at Stolpman


The top corner of the ranch has rested unplanted for a decade now. In winter time, wild mustard grows to shoulder height and gives the vineyard an amazing stripe of yellow during the otherwise dormant season.
From 1993 to 2003, the only Cabernet Sauvignon to ever be planted on Stolpman Vineyards grew on the steep 10 acre block. We decided our ranch is too cold for Cab, and the hills have been fallow since ripping it.
CornasPlantings_CaneThese days, we all have our own ideas for what to plant on the different hill exposures. Dad demands a careful replanting of Nebbiolo, and we’ll eventually track down some suitable Piedmontese cuttings. In the meantime, we came across 50 cuttings of the most superb Syrah we could possibly fathom. Given our obsession with the variety, we couldn’t resist.
Omar_CornasPlantingsRuben, with the help of his 3 year old son, Omar, planted the Syrah cuttings directly into the soil with a bit of compost and water on Friday, February 15th.
We will slowly take cuttings from these first 50 plants until the entire East-facing hill is full of own-rooted, head-pruned Syrah vines. Omar will no doubt be driving a car by then.
CornasPlantings_firstvineBack in 2006 Ruben planted his namesake vineyard down near Ballard Creek using diagonal posts in the shape of triangles. With a vine at the bottom of each of two posts coming together at a point, Ruben cut the amount of shading in half. He learned this technique while walking the vineyards of Cote Rotie.
This new, higher block is much more exposed to direct sunlight than Ruben’s Block. Because of this, Ruben placed the stakes vertically, a la the east facing hill of Cornas. Because the vines are planted so closely together, they will shelter each other from the intense summer sun.
We have high hopes for this new block and hopefully we’ll all be around to enjoy the wine with Omar!