Throughout the winemaking journey, we fell in love with the Central Coast. It is our home, and we are dedicated to honing our craft and making our lives here. From a viticultural perspective, the Central Coast is inherently unique due to its diurnal temperature swing.
During the growing season, it is not unusual to witness a 50 degree difference in daytime high and nighttime low. This swing helps our fruit’s acidity stay in check. When nighttime lows are above 65F, respiration in the plant continues, only being fueled by malic acid consumption which can greatly decrease the total acidity at harvest. Cold nights cause respiration to cease, as the plant no longer needs to cool itself. In addition, the soils throughout the coastal areas are well drained and from a marine parent material. This morphology helps increase the concentration of flavor, aroma, and other phenolics.
Wine quality begins in the vineyard. As we are diligent in the cellar with our winemaking practices, we are even more exacting in the vineyard. Grower selection begins with the program of our wine. We first must select areas within our appellation that have the right soil, exposure, and varietals planted for that mesoclimate.
Once the regions are selected we form a bond with our growers. The grower and the winemaker must have aligned philosophy with growing practices. This begins with pre-plant, row orientation, rootstock selection, and soil ecosystem management. The major strategies in the vineyard are pruning, crop load, canopy management, fertility, and harvest dates. We work very closely with our growers, visiting each block several times per month during the growing season to ensure farming goals are met. We are especially involved with the timing of the canopy management and crop adjustments.
We believe this diligence and care are key to great wine.
Don Hofer has been farming our blocks of Grenache and Tempranillo on the West Side of Paso Robles since 2005. This region is generally a few degrees cooler than the rest of the appellation during the day. Our blocks have an Eastern exposure. These exposures receive less intense morning sun which is crucial for varieties like Grenache and Tempranillo that are prone to sunburn and bleaching. The soils of Kiler Canyon Vineyard are marine in heritage and are composed of limestone parent material.
The vineyard rows are oriented North/South to equalize sun exposure on East and West sides of the canopy and the 20 degree Northeast/Southwest rotation from North/South compensates for high ambient afternoon temperatures.
Joe Plummer planted his vineyard in 2002, and is a notoriously meticulous farmer. The vine rows are oriented to the sun’s path at veraison providing a great deal of protection from harsh sunlight on hot days. This orientation allows us to remove the majority of the leaves in the fruit zone without risking burn to the fruit.
Plummer Vineyard is perfect for warmer climate varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Franc. His vineyard typically ripens late for the Estrella District of Paso Robles, allowing us to focus solely on flavor and tannin ripening.
Spanish Springs, approximately 1.5 miles Northeast from the Pacific Ocean, is a very unique site for cool climate varieties. We chose this site for our Albariño because of its similarities to the vineyards of Rias Baixas in Spain, well known for their exceptional Albariño.
Typically this vineyard tops out at 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and quickly cools off at night. Its proximity to the ocean brings a slight breeze on most days which helps with rachis elongation and disease mitigation. The South facing Albariño in Spanish Springs boasts long hang-time without becoming overripe. One of the benefits of this site in particular is its ability to produce lush flavors and aromas, great mouthfeel, and racy acidity.