La Cuadrilla 2022
BACKGROUND - LA CUADRILLA “THE CREW”
When Tom Stolpman purchased the land that is now Stolpman Vineyards, he declared that if his dream of owning a vineyard was to come true, it would positively affect everyone involved. He asked vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano to employ our vineyard workers year-round, so the team members could have a steady job, a career, and raise their families locally and with security. Ruben Solorzano took Tom’s idea a step further: he aimed to further engage our workers. He wanted our crew members to learn the lifecycle of the vine and become engaged and passionate about their work. A man of action, Ruben started a training program in which he gave one Cuadra - a small vineyard block - to his team, so they would take responsibility for their land. Each crew member became the farmer rather than just the worker. A few years later, once the crew had independently mastered vineyard management, Ruben revealed his grand experiment to Mr. Stolpman. Thrilled, Tom declared that all of the wine made from the crew’s training Cuadra would be given to the team members for their own consumption. Having the self-titled wine at the dinner table served as both a source of pride and a chance to appreciate fine wine, the fruits of the crew’s labor! Beginning with the 2009 vintage, we expanded the Cuadrilla program to blend in more wine from the vineyard in addition to the training Cuadra. Today, at least 10% of the vineyard’s production goes into the blend. The profits are returned to the crew members, divided by seniority, in the form of both a year-end bonus as well as weekly bonuses on each paycheck. The big year-end bonus allows the crew members a chance to add to their savings and overall cushion, while the weekly bonus aims to increase the quality of everyday life for La Cuadrilla and their families. Because Ruben rotates the Cuadra to a different area of the vineyard each year, the blend of La Cuadrilla may change each vintage. Inspired by the perpetual evolution and innovation, creative director Kari Crist designs a new black and white image for each vintage’s release. The photos always relate to the Cuadrilla members.
LABEL : THE MOTHER VINE
In 2013, we planted one special pre-clonal cutting in the middle of a half-acre hillside. The following winter, we trenched the vine’s growth underground and then up 3 adjacent posts, keeping the original mother vine connected to her 3 daughters. The buds buried underground naturally grew roots, and the buds near the shoots’ ends, sticking back up in the air, grew leaves and eventually clusters. We repeated this process each year and in 2023, the Mother Vine is up to almost 1,000 interconnected vine heads. The dream is to produce a few hundred bottles from this one vine spawning a half acre. She will be complete at over 2,000 heads around 2031, and this project would never be feasible without the meticulous, long-term dedication of La Cuadrilla.