Skip to content

In the lush landscapes where vines intertwine with celestial rhythms and cosmic energies, a unique approach to winemaking takes root – Biodynamic Wines. Beyond the conventional realms of viticulture, this holistic practice weaves together agricultural wisdom, spiritual philosophy, and ecological harmony. Guided by the principles set forth by Rudolf Steiner, Biodynamic Winemaking emerges as an intriguing journey that transcends organic farming, aiming for a harmonious coexistence between the earth, the vine, and the cosmos.

Join us as we venture into the heart of this distinctive winemaking philosophy. From the intricacies of Biodynamic Agriculture principles to the hands-on techniques employed in vineyards and cellars, we unravel the mysteries behind this sustainable and spiritually enriched approach to crafting wines. Explore the origins, the practices, and the controversies surrounding Biodynamic Wines, and discover a world where every grape tells a story of ecological integrity and cosmic connection.

Explanation of Biodynamic Agriculture Principles

Biodynamic winemaking, an intriguing fusion of agricultural wisdom and ecological spirituality, stands at the forefront of sustainable viticulture. Rooted in the principles of Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, this holistic approach extends beyond organic farming, embracing a harmonious relationship between the vineyard, celestial rhythms, and cosmic forces. As we delve into the world of biodynamic wines, let’s unravel the philosophy that guides this unique winemaking practice.

The Origins of Biodynamic Winemaking

To understand the essence of biodynamic winemaking, we embark on a historical journey to its origins in the early 20th century. Rudolf Steiner’s lectures in 1924 laid the groundwork, introducing a holistic perspective that not only considers the health of the soil and the vine but also acknowledges the broader cosmic influences on agriculture. From these philosophical roots, the movement gained momentum, evolving into a comprehensive system that shapes vineyard practices and winemaking techniques to this day.

Biodynamic Principles in Viticulture

Overview of Biodynamic Farming Practices

Biodynamic viticulture stands at the intersection of agricultural science and cosmic harmony. This holistic approach extends beyond conventional farming, embracing a philosophy that views the vineyard as a self-sustaining ecosystem. Biodynamic farmers prioritize the use of natural and organic materials, steering away from synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Cover cropping, companion planting, and the integration of animals into the vineyard are integral components, fostering biodiversity and creating a balanced microcosm.

The Role of the Biodynamic Calendar

Central to Biodynamic Viticulture is the adherence to a celestial guide – the Biodynamic Calendar. Rooted in lunar and cosmic cycles, this calendar dictates optimal times for various vineyard activities. Planting, pruning, and harvesting align with lunar phases, harnessing the gravitational forces that influence sap flow and growth patterns. The cosmic dance between celestial bodies becomes a rhythm that orchestrates the vineyard’s vitality, enhancing fruit quality and vine resilience.

Importance of Soil Health and Biodiversity

The foundation of Biodynamic Viticulture rests in the soil – a living, breathing entity that sustains the vine. Biodynamic practitioners prioritize soil health through composting, cover cropping, and the application of herbal preparations. The aim is not just fertility but vitality, creating a rich, diverse soil ecosystem. Biodiversity is championed, as vineyards become habitats for a myriad of organisms, from beneficial insects to microorganisms, contributing to a balanced and resilient terroir. In Biodynamic Viticulture, the soil is not merely a medium; it’s a vibrant tapestry that weaves its essence into every grape and, ultimately, into the wine it produces.

Preparations and Compost in Biodynamic Viticulture

Specific Biodynamic Preparations Used in Viticulture

Biodynamic viticulture introduces a unique set of preparations, often referred to as “preps,” that play a crucial role in enhancing the life forces within the vineyard. These preparations, numbered 500 to 508, are meticulously crafted from natural materials, each serving a specific purpose. For example, Preparation 500 involves burying cow horns filled with cow manure during the winter. This preparation stimulates microbial activity in the soil, fostering nutrient absorption and root development. Others, like Preparation 501 (horn silica), are sprayed on the vines to enhance light absorption and photosynthesis.

Composting Methods and Their Significance

Composting is the heartbeat of biodynamic farming, embodying the philosophy of recycling and regeneration. Biodynamic compost is not merely a means of waste disposal; it’s a potent elixir that rejuvenates the soil. Composting in biodynamics involves a thoughtful blend of organic matter, manure, and the biodynamic preparations. This process transforms waste into a nutrient-rich, humus-filled compost that replenishes the soil with life forces. The resulting compost is a cornerstone of soil fertility, ensuring that the vineyard thrives as a harmonious and interconnected ecosystem. Through the alchemical process of composting, biodynamic viticulture strives to mimic the dynamic cycles of nature, closing the loop of sustainability in the vineyard.

The Winemaking Process in Biodynamic Viticulture

How Biodynamic Principles Extend to the Cellar

Biodynamic principles extend seamlessly from the vineyard to the cellar, where winemakers embrace a holistic approach to crafting exceptional wines. The key tenet is to maintain the vitality of the grape and the terroir it embodies. In the cellar, biodynamic winemakers prioritize a non-invasive, thoughtful approach that respects the inherent qualities of the fruit. This involves gentle handling of the grapes, minimal use of sulfites, and eschewing the need for artificial adjustments. The goal is to allow the wine to express its unique character, reflecting the synergy between the vineyard’s biodynamic vitality and the winemaker’s skill.

Natural Fermentation and Minimal Intervention

Biodynamic winemaking places a premium on natural processes, and fermentation is no exception. Natural or wild fermentation, driven by indigenous yeasts present on grape skins, is favored over the introduction of commercial yeasts. This approach allows the unique microbial terroir of the vineyard to shape the wine’s flavor profile authentically. Additionally, minimal intervention is a guiding principle; winemakers refrain from excessive filtration and manipulation, letting the wine evolve organically. This hands-off approach not only respects the integrity of the fruit but also results in wines that are vibrant, expressive, and reflective of their terroir. The marriage of biodynamic principles and winemaking expertise culminates in bottles that tell a story of a vineyard’s vitality and the winemaker’s commitment to authenticity.

Certification and Regulation in Biodynamic Winemaking

Understanding Biodynamic Certifications

Biodynamic certifications serve as a testament to a winery’s commitment to the highest standards of sustainable and holistic viticulture. Organizations like Demeter International oversee the certification process, ensuring that winemakers adhere to the rigorous principles of biodynamics. To receive certification, vineyards must demonstrate not only organic farming practices but also a dedication to biodynamic preparations, biodiversity, and alignment with cosmic rhythms. Certification acts as a symbol of authenticity, assuring consumers that the wine is a product of ethical and sustainable viticulture.

The Differences Between Organic and Biodynamic Certifications

While both organic and biodynamic certifications share a commitment to environmentally conscious practices, they differ in scope and philosophy. Organic certifications primarily focus on the absence of synthetic chemicals, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms. In contrast, biodynamic certifications encompass a more comprehensive approach, considering the interconnectedness of the vineyard with celestial and earthly forces. Biodynamic certification, therefore, includes adherence to strict organic standards while incorporating spiritual and cosmic dimensions into farming practices. Understanding these distinctions helps consumers make informed choices aligned with their values and preferences for eco-friendly and holistic viticulture.

The Debate Around Biodynamics

Scientific Perspective vs. Spiritual/Philosophical Approach

The debate surrounding biodynamics revolves around the clash between scientific rationale and the spiritual or philosophical underpinnings of the practice. From a scientific standpoint, critics argue that certain biodynamic principles lack empirical evidence, challenging the validity of practices like planting and harvesting based on lunar cycles. However, proponents of biodynamics contend that the holistic approach contributes to soil health, biodiversity, and overall vineyard vitality. The tension between these perspectives sparks ongoing discussions about the measurable impact of biodynamics on grape quality and environmental sustainability.

Consumer Perceptions and Market Trends

Consumer perceptions of biodynamic wines play a crucial role in shaping market trends. Some consumers are drawn to the idea of wines produced in harmony with nature, appreciating the holistic philosophy that extends from the vineyard to the bottle. On the other hand, skepticism about the spiritual aspects of biodynamics may lead some consumers to question the validity of associated claims. Despite these varied perspectives, there is a growing trend toward environmentally conscious and sustainable practices in the wine industry. Biodynamic wines, with their unique philosophy, continue to capture the attention of a niche market seeking wines that align with their values of holistic farming and ethical consumption.

The Taste of Biodynamic Wines

Characteristics that Distinguish Biodynamic Wines

Biodynamic wines often exhibit unique characteristics that distinguish them from conventionally produced wines. The emphasis on biodiversity and soil health in biodynamic viticulture can contribute to a more vibrant expression of terroir. These wines may showcase a greater depth of flavors, heightened minerality, and a nuanced aromatic profile. The holistic farming approach, which considers the entire ecosystem, aims to create a harmonious environment that allows the grapes to reflect the distinctiveness of their terroir.

The Argument for Improved Quality and Terroir Expression

Proponents of biodynamic winemaking argue that the holistic practices associated with it lead to wines of improved quality and a more authentic expression of terroir. The careful attention to soil health, biodiversity, and the avoidance of synthetic inputs can result in grapes that are more in tune with their natural surroundings. This, in turn, is believed to translate into wines that genuinely reflect the unique characteristics of the vineyard. The argument extends beyond mere taste, emphasizing a deeper connection between the wine, its origin, and the overarching philosophy of sustainable, holistic agriculture.

Biodynamic Wineries Around the World

Examples of Renowned Biodynamic Wineries

Renowned biodynamic wineries stand as beacons of sustainability and excellence, demonstrating a commitment to both environmental harmony and exceptional wine production. Among these, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti in Burgundy, France, holds a prestigious status. This estate, famed for its Grand Cru wines, meticulously employs biodynamic principles in its vineyard management. The result is wines that not only reflect the unique terroir but also embody a deeper connection to the land.

Venturing to New Zealand, Seresin Estate in Marlborough exemplifies the fusion of biodynamics with the country’s pristine winemaking landscape. Their portfolio of wines, cultivated through organic and biodynamic farming, mirrors the purity of the region. The commitment to holistic practices at Seresin extends beyond the vineyard, emphasizing the interdependence of viticulture and the environment.

In the heart of California’s wine country, Benziger Family Winery has been at the forefront of biodynamic farming in Sonoma County. By integrating biodynamic principles into their vineyard management, Benziger has showcased the adaptability of these practices to diverse terroirs. Their success serves as an inspiration for other wineries in the region to embrace sustainable viticulture fully.

The Influence of Biodynamics on Global Wine Regions

The influence of biodynamics transcends individual wineries, shaping the viticultural landscape of entire regions.

Alsace in France, known for its aromatic white wines, has witnessed a growing interest in biodynamic practices. Wineries here are recognizing the potential of these principles to enhance the expression of the region’s diverse grape varieties. As more vineyards adopt biodynamics, Alsace is becoming a stronghold for sustainable viticulture in France.

Italy, with its rich winemaking heritage, has also seen a surge in biodynamic adoption. Tuscany and Sicily stand out as regions where wineries are embracing these holistic principles. The commitment to ecological harmony in these areas contributes not only to the quality of individual wines but also to the overall biodiversity of the Italian wine landscape.

The global wine community’s increasing awareness of the environmental and qualitative benefits of biodynamic viticulture suggests a promising future. As more wineries worldwide integrate these practices, the industry is on a transformative journey towards sustainability and a deeper connection with the land.

Challenges and Criticisms

Addressing Common Criticisms of Biodynamic Practices

Despite the many benefits associated with biodynamic winemaking, certain criticisms have been raised by skeptics and industry observers. It’s essential to address these concerns to provide a comprehensive understanding of the practice.

  • Esoteric and Ritualistic Nature
    • Response: Biodynamic practices, rooted in anthroposophy, may appear esoteric to some. However, proponents argue that the rituals and preparations have practical applications in enhancing soil health and vine vitality.
  • Lack of Scientific Evidence
    • Response: The scientific community sometimes questions the empirical evidence supporting biodynamics. While scientific validation is ongoing, many winemakers emphasize the observable positive effects on soil structure and grape quality.
  • Cost and Labor-Intensiveness
    • Response: Critics argue that biodynamic practices can be costly and labor-intensive. However, supporters contend that the long-term benefits, such as improved soil fertility and resilient vines, justify the initial investments.

Challenges Faced by Biodynamic Winemakers

Biodynamic winemakers encounter specific challenges in their pursuit of sustainable and holistic viticulture. Acknowledging and overcoming these hurdles is integral to the continued growth of biodynamics.

  • Pests and Diseases
    • Challenge: Biodynamic vineyards may face challenges in pest and disease management without the use of synthetic pesticides.
    • Mitigation: Implementing biodiversity, companion planting, and natural predators can contribute to pest control.
  • Climate and Weather Variability
    • Challenge: Biodynamic practices can be sensitive to weather variations, impacting the timing of activities like planting and harvesting.
    • Mitigation: Winemakers adapt by closely monitoring weather patterns and adjusting their biodynamic calendar accordingly.
  • Market Perceptions and Consumer Education
    • Challenge: Communicating the benefits of biodynamic wines to consumers and dispelling myths can be challenging.
    • Mitigation: Wineries invest in educational initiatives, transparent labeling, and storytelling to connect consumers with the holistic philosophy behind biodynamics.

Navigating these challenges requires dedication, innovation, and a continuous commitment to the principles of biodynamics. As the movement gains traction, winemakers are actively addressing criticisms and refining their practices for a more sustainable and resilient future. Our winemaker, Brian Marquez explains, “As a winemaker, I find inspiration in the rhythm of nature and the dance of the seasons. Looking towards a future in biodynamic winemaking allows us to be in sync with the vineyard’s heartbeat, creating wines that resonate with the energy of the land.”

As the embrace of biodynamic winemaking continues to grow, the future outlook for this holistic approach appears promising and influential in shaping the wine industry. Winemakers, inspired by the principles of sustainability, ethical farming, and a deep connection to the land, are actively integrating biodynamics into their practices. The unique characteristics and flavors imparted by biodynamic wines, coupled with a dedication to preserving terroir, position them as not only a trend but a long-lasting and meaningful contribution to the world of viticulture.

In the coming years, we anticipate witnessing further innovations and advancements in biodynamic practices. Winemakers will likely continue refining their techniques, leveraging technology, and collaborating to overcome challenges. The impact of biodynamics is not limited to individual vineyards; it extends to influence global wine regions and contributes to a broader conversation about the relationship between agriculture, nature, and the production of exceptional wines.

As consumers increasingly seek transparency, sustainability, and a deeper connection to the products they enjoy, biodynamic winemaking is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future landscape of the wine industry. The journey towards a more harmonious and holistic approach to viticulture is underway, and the story of biodynamic wines continues to unfold, inviting wine enthusiasts to savor not only the wine itself but the philosophy and practices that go into each bottle. We at Wiens look forward to it, with our owner, David Steinhafel at the helm stating, “Our commitment to biodynamic practices is a reflection of our dedication to crafting wines that not only showcase exceptional quality but also embody our responsibility to the environment. It’s about respecting the past, living in the present, and nurturing a sustainable future for generations to come.” Cheers to a future where the principles of biodynamic winemaking contribute to a more sustainable and enriching wine experience for all.

In a world where sustainability is becoming increasingly vital, the wine industry is no exception. As stewards of the land, winemakers are acutely aware of the environmental impact of their craft. Wiens Cellars, our small, family-owned winery in Temecula, California, stands as a shining example of the commitment to sustainable winemaking practices. Our owner, David Steinhafel explains it best when he says, “Our dream as winery owners is to not only craft exceptional wines but to do so with a deep commitment to environmental stewardship. We believe in leaving a legacy of sustainability for future generations.”

In this comprehensive exploration, we delve deep into the realm of sustainable winemaking and explore the eco-conscious initiatives that make Wiens Cellars a beacon of environmental responsibility and social awareness in the world of wine.

Understanding Sustainable Winemaking

Sustainable winemaking is not just a buzzword; it’s a holistic approach to winemaking that focuses on the long-term well-being of the environment, the economic viability of the winery, and the equitable treatment of the community. It’s a commitment to balance, often summarized in the three pillars of sustainability: environmental stewardship, economic feasibility, and social equity.

Environmental Stewardship

  • This pillar emphasizes the responsible and conscientious management of natural resources and ecosystems. In the context of winemaking, environmental stewardship involves practices that protect and preserve the environment. This includes sustainable farming methods, responsible water management, biodiversity conservation, and minimizing the use of harmful chemicals. By prioritizing environmental stewardship, wineries aim to reduce their ecological footprint and safeguard the delicate balance of nature.

Economic Feasibility

  • Sustainable practices should also make economic sense for wineries to be viable in the long term. Economic feasibility ensures that wineries can maintain profitability while implementing sustainable initiatives. This includes efficient resource management, cost-effective energy solutions, and waste reduction measures. By achieving economic feasibility, wineries can continue to thrive and invest in further sustainable practices.

Social Equity

  • Social equity in sustainability focuses on the well-being of communities and stakeholders involved in winemaking. It emphasizes fair labor practices, community engagement, and ethical business conduct. Wineries that prioritize social equity ensure that their employees are treated fairly, and they often engage in partnerships and initiatives that benefit local communities. This pillar highlights the importance of fostering positive relationships and contributing positively to society.

Together, these three pillars create a balanced and holistic approach to sustainability in winemaking, ensuring that the industry not only produces exceptional wines but also operates in a manner that respects the environment, supports economic growth, and promotes social well-being.

Sustainable Practices in the Vineyard

Sustainable practices in the vineyard encompass a range of eco-conscious techniques aimed at minimizing environmental impact and promoting long-term soil and grapevine health. These practices often involve organic farming methods, water conservation measures, and biodiversity-enhancing initiatives, ensuring that vineyards thrive while respecting the delicate balance of nature.

Organic Farming Practices

  • The journey to sustainable winemaking begins in the vineyard, where every grape takes its first breath. Sustainable practices take root in the form of organic farming techniques that minimize the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. The commitment to organic farming is not just about avoiding chemicals; it’s about fostering a more harmonious relationship between the vineyard and the ecosystem it inhabits.
  • Organic farming practices nurture the soil with compost and natural fertilizers, encouraging the growth of cover crops to prevent erosion and enhance biodiversity, and meticulously managing pests and diseases using natural methods. Eschewing synthetic chemicals safeguards the soil’s health and biodiversity, creating an environment where the grapevines can thrive naturally.

Water Conservation and Management

  • In California’s arid climate, water is a precious resource. Wiens Cellars recognizes the vital importance of water conservation and management in sustainable winemaking. The winery employs state-of-the-art technology and practices to carefully monitor and manage water usage in the vineyards. Soil moisture sensors, weather data, and advanced irrigation techniques allow precise control over water delivery to the grapevines, ensuring that every drop is used efficiently.
  • Additionally, rainwater harvesting systems and wastewater treatment facilities further reduce reliance on external water sources and minimize impact on local aquifers and ecosystems. Through these efforts, wineries can not only conserve water, but also contribute to the broader goal of responsible water management in their respective region.

Biodiversity and Habitat Preservation

  • Vineyards are not standalone entities but integral parts of larger ecosystems. Wiens Cellars recognizes this interconnectedness and actively promotes biodiversity and habitat preservation in and around its vineyards. The winery dedicates portions of its land to natural habitats, creating safe havens for native plants and wildlife. These areas not only enhance the ecological balance but also provide essential pollination services for the grapevines.
  • Moreover, Wiens Cellars has undertaken initiatives to restore and protect nearby waterways, ensuring that the delicate balance of local ecosystems is maintained. By fostering biodiversity and habitat preservation, the winery not only enhances the health of its vineyards but also contributes to the preservation of California’s diverse natural landscapes.

Sustainable Practices in the Winery

The commitment to sustainability extends from the vineyards into the winery at Wiens Cellars. The winery’s eco-conscious initiatives within its walls are as integral to the sustainability journey as the practices in the vineyards.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

  • Energy efficiency is a cornerstone of sustainable winemaking. Wiens Cellars has implemented a range of energy-saving measures, from LED lighting to high-efficiency HVAC systems. These initiatives not only reduce the winery’s carbon footprint but also result in cost savings that can be reinvested in sustainable practices.

Waste Management and Recycling 

  • Waste management and recycling are essential components of sustainable winemaking. At Wiens Cellars, a comprehensive waste management program is in place to minimize waste generation and maximize recycling. This program encompasses everything from the recycling of glass bottles and cardboard packaging to the composting of grape pomace and vine pruning. In addition to traditional recycling, Wiens Cellars explores innovative solutions to reduce waste even further.

Sustainable Packaging Options

  • The commitment to sustainability doesn’t end when the wine is bottled; it extends to the packaging. Although Wiens Cellars has yet to secure a fully sustainable packaging solution, we are constantly aware of our carbon footprint.

Our winery also encourages consumers to embrace sustainability by offering refillable and reusable wine bags. These initiatives reduce the environmental impact of packaging and promote responsible consumer choices.

The Benefits of Sustainable Winemaking

Sustainable winemaking isn’t just a feel-good practice; it yields a trove of tangible benefits. These benefits extend far beyond the vineyard and winery, encompassing environmental, economic, and social advantages. It leads to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, responsible resource management, cost savings through efficient practices, and contributes positively to local communities, fostering a more eco-conscious and socially equitable wine industry.

Environmental Benefits

  • Preservation of Soil Health and Biodiversity: Sustainable winemaking practices prioritize the health of the soil and the biodiversity of the vineyard ecosystem. Healthy soil not only benefits grapevines but also supports a diverse range of microorganisms and organisms in the soil, contributing to a balanced and vibrant ecosystem.
  • Responsible Water Usage and Conservation: Sustainable wineries carefully manage their water resources to ensure responsible usage and conservation. This includes monitoring soil moisture, using advanced irrigation techniques, and implementing water-efficient practices. By optimizing water use, wineries reduce their environmental impact and help conserve precious water resources in regions where water scarcity is a concern.
  • Protection of Natural Habitats and Ecosystems: Sustainable vineyards take measures to protect and restore natural habitats and ecosystems in and around their vineyard areas. This involves creating safe havens for native plants and wildlife, preserving nearby waterways, and ensuring that the delicate balance of local ecosystems is maintained. By safeguarding natural habitats, wineries contribute to the overall health and diversity of the regions they inhabit.

Economic Benefits

  • Cost Savings Through Energy Efficiency and Waste Reduction: Sustainable winemaking practices often result in significant cost savings for wineries. Energy-efficient operations, such as using LED lighting and optimizing cooling systems, reduce energy bills. Additionally, waste reduction measures, such as recycling and reusing materials, minimize waste disposal costs. By adopting these practices, wineries can operate more economically and efficiently.
  • Increased Efficiency and Resource Management: Sustainability in winemaking enhances overall efficiency and resource management. This includes precise water management to avoid waste and streamlined production processes to reduce resource consumption. Improved efficiency ensures that resources are used wisely, benefiting both the winery’s bottom line and the environment.
  • Enhanced Marketability and Consumer Appeal: Sustainability has become a key factor in consumer purchasing decisions. Wineries that embrace sustainable practices often enjoy increased marketability and consumer appeal. Eco-conscious consumers are more likely to support and choose wines from wineries that prioritize sustainability, leading to higher sales and brand loyalty. By aligning with sustainability, wineries position themselves as responsible and forward-thinking industry leaders.

Social Benefits

  • Contribution to Local Communities Through Employment and Partnerships: Sustainable wineries play a significant role in their local communities by providing employment opportunities and forming partnerships with local businesses. This not only boosts the local economy but also strengthens the social fabric of the region. By engaging with and supporting their communities, wineries become integral parts of the areas in which they operate.
  • Fostering Positive Relationships with Neighbors and Stakeholders: Sustainable wineries prioritize positive relationships with neighbors, stakeholders, and local authorities. This involves open communication, addressing concerns, and being good neighbors in terms of noise, traffic, and environmental impact. By fostering these relationships, wineries create harmony and mutual support within their communities.
  • Promoting Responsible and Ethical Business Practices: Sustainability in winemaking extends to responsible and ethical business practices. This includes fair labor practices, ethical sourcing of materials, and transparent business conduct. Wineries that prioritize social equity demonstrate a commitment to doing business in an ethical and responsible manner, which not only benefits their employees and stakeholders but also contributes to the overall well-being of society.

Sustainable Winemaking at Wiens Cellars

Wiens Cellars is a shining example of sustainable winemaking in action. As passionately put by our Winemaker, Brian Marquez, “We continually strive to capture the essence of the land in every bottle, respecting the delicate balance of nature with each winemaking decision.” The winery’s commitment to water conservation, biodiversity, and eco-conscious practices in the winery reflects a deep dedication to environmental stewardship, economic feasibility, and social equity.

Sustainable Practices at Wiens Cellars:

  • Precise water conservation measures and responsible water management.
  • Promotion of biodiversity and habitat preservation in the vineyards.
  • Comprehensive waste management and recycling programs.
  • Thoughtful selection of sustainable packaging options.
  • Engagement with local communities and partnerships that enhance social equity.

The Impact on the Wines Produced at Wiens Cellars

Sustainability isn’t just a noble ideal at Wiens Cellars; it’s a fundamental aspect of the winemaking process that directly influences the wines produced. The consistent goal of sustainability results in grapes that express the true character of the vineyard and the Temecula terroir. Water conservation ensures that the vines receive just the right amount of hydration, contributing to the concentration and balance of flavors in the grapes. Biodiversity in the vineyards creates a harmonious ecosystem where grapevines thrive naturally.

In the winery, energy-efficient practices and renewable energy sources minimize the winery’s environmental impact and help maintain the integrity of the grapes during production. Waste management programs reduce unnecessary waste and reinforce the winery’s eco-conscious values. Sustainable packaging options reflect the commitment to sustainability from vine to bottle.

As we raise our glasses to toast the wines of Wiens Cellars, let us also raise our awareness of the importance of sustainable winemaking. By choosing wines from wineries like Wiens Cellars that prioritize sustainability, we not only savor exceptional wines but also support practices that safeguard the environment, bolster local economies, and promote social equity. It’s a commitment to a more sustainable and harmonious future, one bottle at a time. Cheers to the eco-conscious journey of sustainable winemaking!

In every sip of Wiens Cellars’ wine, we taste the fruits of responsible stewardship and a commitment to preserving the delicate balance of our planet. So, the next time you uncork a bottle of Wiens Cellars wine, remember that you’re not just enjoying a superb wine; you’re partaking in a sustainable journey that enriches both your palate and the world around you.

In the rolling hills of Temecula Valley, a remarkable transformation takes place every year – the journey of a grape from the vine to the wineglass. This journey is not merely a scientific process; it’s a symphony of nature’s finest and human craftsmanship, a fusion that culminates in the creation of a delightful elixir we know as wine… & right now, we’re at the peak of it!

In this article, we will delve into the intricate journey that a grape undertakes, guided by the passionate hands of Wiens Cellars. Our family-owned winery in Temecula, CA, has perfected the art of turning grapes into liquid poetry, and we’re here to unveil the stages of this journey that lead to each exquisite bottle we produce.

The Life Cycle of a Grapevine

Every great journey begins with a single step, or in this case, a single seed. The life cycle of a grapevine spans across various stages, each essential in its own right. From bud break to flowering, fruit set to veraison, the vineyard’s rhythm is a dance between the elements and the nurturing hands of the vintners. These stages are the prelude to the grape’s transformation, setting the stage for the grand symphony of flavors that will be played in each bottle.

What are the stages of a grape vine’s life cycle?

  • Bud Break: Spring’s tender touch awakens the vine from its winter slumber on the trellis, and the first buds emerge with the promise of new life. This stage sets the foundation for the vine’s annual cycle, as these buds will eventually give rise to shoots and leaves that capture sunlight for energy.
  • Flowering: As the sun’s warmth envelops the vineyard, clusters of delicate flowers open & appear. This fleeting yet vital phase showcases nature’s potential for creation. Successful pollination during flowering ensures that these flowers will develop into grape clusters, encapsulating the essence of the vine’s vitality.
  • Fruit Set: The tiny green berries that emerge after flowering represent the manifestation of the vine’s reproductive success. These nascent grapes hold the promise of sweetness, acidity, and complexity. The vine dedicates its energy to nurturing and protecting these young berries, setting the stage for the coming months.
  • Veraison: With the arrival of summer, the vine reaches a pivotal juncture. The onset of veraison marks the transition from growth to ripening. Berries transform, softening and changing color as they accumulate sugars and flavors. This stage is a delicate balance between natural processes and meticulous timing, as the winemaker observes the evolution of each grape.
  • Harvest: The zenith of the grapevine’s journey arrives with the harvest, a culmination of months of anticipation and cultivation. Each grape cluster, now imbued with the terroir’s essence, is handpicked with care. The role of this stage is to ensure that the grapes are at the peak of their flavor and maturity, laying the foundation for the winemaking process.
  • Post-Harvest Recovery: After the excitement of harvest, the vine takes a breath. As leaves turn vibrant shades and eventually fall, the vine redirects its energy to replenish its reserves. This recovery period is essential for the vine’s health and readiness for the next grape growing season.
  • Dormancy: With the approach of winter, the vine enters a period of dormancy, resting and conserving energy. This stage prepares the vine for the cycle to repeat, as it gathers strength to awaken once more during bud break.

Then, it happens all over again! Each stage in the grape’s journey is a chapter in a story of resilience, growth, and transformation. From the delicate emergence of buds, to the vibrant culmination of grape harvest, the vine’s narrative unfolds with precision and purpose, offering winemakers the raw material to craft wines that encapsulate the journey of both grape and grapevine.

The Variety of Grape Varieties

Like characters in a story, different grape varieties play distinct roles in the winemaking process. Wiens Cellars boasts a diverse array of over 30 varietals, from the bold Bordeaux classics to the enchanting Italian gems. Each variety brings its own personality to the mix, contributing unique aromas, flavors, and textures to the final blend. The vintners at Wiens Cellars understand these varieties intimately, crafting wines that showcase the best of each grape’s character.

Let’s dive deeper into 6 of our more well-known varieties:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: Revered as the king of red grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon delivers rich black fruit flavors, firm tannins, and a robust structure. Its aging potential makes it a favorite for producing age-worthy wines.
  • Chardonnay: A versatile white grape, Chardonnay exhibits an array of styles from buttery and oaked to crisp and unoaked. It’s known for its ability to reflect terroir while offering notes of green apple, citrus, and vanilla.
  • Merlot: Often associated with smoothness and approachability, Merlot offers soft tannins, red fruit aromas, and a plush texture. It’s a key player in Bordeaux blends and stands on its own as well.
  • Sauvignon Blanc: Sauvignon Blanc’s hallmark is its vibrant acidity and aromatic profile, ranging from zesty citrus and green apple to herbaceous and grassy notes. It’s a popular choice for producing refreshing and aromatic white wines.
  • Pinot Noir: Prized for its finesse and complexity, Pinot Noir is notoriously finicky to grow but rewards with delicate red fruit flavors, earthy undertones, and a silky texture. It excels in expressing the nuances of its terroir.
  • Syrah/Shiraz: Syrah (Shiraz in Australia) boasts bold, dark fruit flavors, pepper spice, and a range of complexities from smoky to floral notes. It can produce both robust and elegant wines, depending on the region and winemaking style.

Harvesting Wine Grapes

The turning point in a grape’s journey is the harvest. Timing is of the essence, as the decision of when to pick influences the wine’s balance, acidity, and sweetness. At Wiens Cellars, this moment is carefully chosen, respecting the grape’s natural rhythm. As our Head Winemaker, Brian Marquez puts it, “Wine is born in the vineyard, but it’s during the harvest that we set its course.” The harvesting process is a labor of love, where each bunch is handpicked to ensure only the finest grapes make their way to the press.

When should you harvest grapes?

The art of harvesting grapes involves a crucial decision influenced by a delicate equilibrium of factors. Winemakers assess the grapes’ sugar levels, measured in degrees Brix, to gauge their ripeness. Concurrently, they consider the grapes’ acidity, pH levels, and the development of phenolic compounds like tannins and color pigments. The goal is to strike the perfect balance between ripe fruit flavors and the retention of sufficient acidity, as this balance shapes the wine’s potential for complexity and aging.

What’s the process of harvesting grapes?

Harvesting grapes is a meticulous endeavor that demands the deft hands of skilled pickers. While mechanical harvesters are used for efficiency, handpicking remains a hallmark of quality for premium wines. Hand harvesters selectively choose clusters, ensuring only the healthiest and ripest grape bunches are collected. Once gathered, the grapes are swiftly transported to the winery to prevent oxidation and maintain their freshness.

How do harvesting techniques impact the final wine?

Harvesting techniques wield a profound influence on a wine’s character and quality. Early harvesting may result in wines with higher acidity and fresher fruit flavors, suitable for crisp whites or sparkling wines. Delayed harvesting yields grapes with elevated sugar levels, leading to richer, more opulent wines. Additionally, the choice between handpicking and mechanical harvesting can impact grape integrity; handpicking allows for careful selection, preserving grape quality, while mechanical methods enhance efficiency but may be less selective. The chosen technique, combined with the precise moment of harvest, shapes the flavor profile, structure, and aging potential of the resulting wine.

From Grape to Glass

With the grapes harvested, the transformation from fruit to nectar begins. The delicate process of crushing and pressing extracts the precious juice that carries the essence of the vineyard. Fermentation, the magical conversion of sugars to alcohol, is a pivotal step. At Wiens Cellars, fermentation is more than a chemical reaction; it’s an art form guided by the hands of skilled winemakers who orchestrate the process to perfection.

Crushing vs. De-Stemming

  • Crushing and Pressing Grapes: The process of crushing and pressing grapes is a fundamental step in winemaking, where the transformation from grape to wine begins. After meticulous harvesting, the grape clusters are directed into a crusher that gently breaks the skins and releases the juice, creating a mixture known as “must.” This initial contact between juice and skin extracts essential compounds like flavors, colors, and tannins. Subsequently, the must is transferred to a press, where varying degrees of pressure are applied to separate the liquid portion from the solid components, such as skins, seeds, and stems. The extracted juice, now infused with the essence of the grapes, serves as the starting point for fermentation, propelling the grapes’ journey towards becoming wine.
  • De-stemming and Pressing: Before pressing, some winemakers opt to de-stem the grape clusters, removing the stems to prevent excessive tannin extraction and maintain a desired flavor profile. De-stemming is particularly common with red grape varieties, as tannins are concentrated in the stems. After de-stemming, the grapes are then directed to the press. Here, the pressure applied varies based on the desired outcome. Gentle pressing, often used for white wines, ensures minimal contact with the skins to preserve delicate aromatics. For red wines, more forceful pressing may occur, as extended skin contact contributes to color, structure, and tannin extraction. This multi-faceted process underscores the winemaker’s choices in crafting wines that embody their vision and desired style.

Fermentation

Fermentation is the alchemical process that transforms grape juice into wine, embodying the heart of winemaking. It begins with the introduction of yeast into the juice, where these microorganisms feast upon the sugars, converting them into alcohol and carbon dioxide. As fermentation progresses, the juice undergoes a symphony of chemical reactions, releasing a spectrum of aromas and flavors locked within the grapes. Beyond alcohol, yeast produce secondary metabolites that contribute to the wine’s complexity, including aromatic compounds and compounds that influence texture and mouthfeel. Fermentation not only bestows the wine with its alcoholic content but also shapes its character, making it a pivotal step in crafting wines that are diverse, expressive, and captivating.

Aging and Bottling

As the wine evolves, the aging process imparts depth and complexity. Oak barrels, carefully selected by the winemakers, add layers of flavor that harmonize with the wine’s characteristics. Time becomes an ally as the wine matures gracefully. Bottling is the crescendo of this phase, capturing the culmination of years of hard work and anticipation. We’ll break it down for you really quick:

The Process of Aging Wine

Aging wine is a patient endeavor that allows the wine to mature and evolve, transforming its flavors, aromas, and texture over time. During this phase, the wine rests in controlled environments, often in barrels or tanks, where it interacts with the compounds extracted during the fermentation process. Through oxidation and slow chemical reactions, the wine’s harsh edges soften, tannins integrate, and flavors harmonize, resulting in a more balanced and complex profile.

The Role of Oak Barrels in Aging

Oak barrels play a pivotal role in the aging process, imparting unique characteristics to the wine. As wine interacts with the wood, compounds like vanillin and lignin are extracted from the barrel, lending flavors of vanilla, spice, and toast. Additionally, the porous nature of oak allows for controlled oxygen exchange, contributing to the wine’s development and enhancing its texture. The choice of oak, whether French, American, or other, influences the final flavor profile and structure of the wine.

The Process of Bottling Wine

Bottling marks the culmination of the aging journey, as the matured wine is carefully prepared for its final presentation. The wine is first removed from its aging vessel and filtered to remove any sediment or solids that may have developed during the aging process. It’s then bottled under controlled conditions to maintain its integrity. The wine bottles are typically sealed with corks or other closures, protecting the wine from oxidation while allowing for a gradual aging process in the bottle. Once bottled, the wine is labeled, and each bottle becomes a vessel of the journey it has undertaken, ready to be enjoyed by connoisseurs seeking to savor the culmination of the winemaking art.

The Journey of a Grape at Wiens Cellars

Wiens Cellars’ commitment to quality resonates throughout the grape’s journey. The legacy of the Wiens family, passed into the hands of the Steinhafel family, is a testament to the enduring values of family, quality, and integrity. Our owner, David Steinhafel explains, “In every cluster of grapes, there’s the potential for an exceptional bottle – it’s our job to uncover that potential.” Our hands-on approach, from the meticulous grape selection to the aging process, ensures that each bottle reflects the essence of the Temecula Valley terroir.

What is our process at Wiens Cellars?

At Wiens Cellars, the journey of a grape is an intimate symphony of care, dedication, and craftsmanship. It commences with the meticulous cultivation of vineyards that are sustainably managed and nurtured throughout the grape’s life cycle. The grapes are harvested by skilled hands, ensuring that only the finest clusters are selected. Once gathered, the grapes embark on a transformative path where they are delicately crushed, and their precious juice is extracted, bearing the imprint of Temecula Valley’s terroir. Under the guidance of experienced winemakers, fermentation takes place, bringing the grapes one step closer to their final incarnation as wine. The aging process unfolds in carefully chosen oak barrels, where the wine matures, absorbing nuanced flavors and textures that harmonize with its origin. Finally, the wine is bottled right here at the winery, capturing the essence of the grape’s journey from vine to glass, ready to be enjoyed by enthusiasts who appreciate the artistry that Wiens Cellars’ commitment infuses into each bottle.

How does our process differ from others?

Wiens Cellars’ commitment to the journey of a grape resonates profoundly in the final wine. With hands-on involvement from vineyard management to bottling, we ensure that each grape is treated with the utmost care, fostering a depth of character that is uniquely expressive of our California terroir. Our focus on small-batch, artisanal wine production allows for meticulous attention to detail, ensuring that only the finest grapes contribute to our wines. The result is a portfolio of wines that carry the hallmark of Wiens Cellars’ philosophy – wines that encapsulate the grape’s journey from its birth in the vineyard to its transformation in the cellar, culminating in bottles that tell a story of family heritage, passion, and a profound respect for the art of winemaking.

With every bottle uncorked at Wiens and around the world, the story unfolds—a narrative of growth, transformation, and family heritage. Through meticulous vineyard care, delicate harvesting, and the art of crushing and pressing, the essence of the land’s terroir is captured and transformed into wines of distinction. This journey continues as wines age in oak barrels, shaped by Wiens Cellars’ commitment to quality and integrity. The next time you are wine tasting, we invite you to savor not just the wine, but the intricate journey each grape undertook, an ode to the grape, the land, and the artistry of winemaking that culminates in each exquisite glass.

It’s hard to believe, but bud break is already here! We always get a bit excited for bud break because it signals the start of another season, and it’s just so cool to watch nature in action. Sometimes the farming aspect of making wine is forgotten or not thought about often, but it is the most important piece of making good wine. Without the ability to grow good fruit, there cannot be good wine, and it all starts with these tiny little buds each year.

budbreak1.jpg

What is Bud Break?

Bud break is the magical moment in the vineyard each Spring when new shoots emerge from the buds on the vines. It is the start of a new season, the first stage of the new cycle of the growing process. After storing energy in their roots and trunks all winter, the vines erupt with little green leaves, which will resume photosynthesis to sustain the energy needed to grow new shoots that support the grapes that will be harvested in the Fall. These tiny leaves make their debut when the temperatures are warmer and the days are longer- usually mid-March. This year, we have had many unseasonably warm days, so an early bud break isn’t a surprise.

Bud break happens at different times for each vineyard depending on the varietal and the location based on the temperature. We see the first bud breaks with our Estate Chardonnay vines because we are at a lower elevation with warmer temperatures here at the winery. The higher elevation vineyards, like Sage Vineyard, will have bud break later- possibly up to three weeks later. Bud break will also happen earlier on certain varieties that have a lower base temperature threshold. Chardonnay vines have a lower base temperature threshold than a varietal like Cabernet Sauvignon, which has a higher base temperature threshold. Base Temperature Threshold is basically the temperature threshold below which grapevines will not grow roughly 46°-50°F. Some other factors influence bud break, such as soil/root temperature, number of buds and position left after pruning, and vine age.

With bud break being a little early, it does put the tiny buds at risk of freezing if we have a frost. The buds are very delicate and can be destroyed with even just one night of below-freezing weather. As exciting as it is, we will also let out a sigh of relief as soon as we know we do not need to worry about frost damage to the buds. So, fingers crossed, we don’t have any frosty nights in any of the budding vineyards!

If you get the chance to come in person for a visit within the next two weeks, make sure to take a look at the vines and the little buds. You’ll get to witness the very beginning of the 2021 vintage!

budbreak_4.jpg

The Wiens Family Cellars Vineyard, located on the property of our main Tasting Room is located in the Buck Mesa area of Temecula Valley sitting at 1,350 feet elevation right off Rancho California Rd in the heart of Temecula Valley Wine Country. After searching for a place in Southern California to move the original winery location in Lockeford, CA down to, the family purchased the vineyard in April 2003. It is an ideal location- approximately 30 miles from the ocean with warm days and cool nights that provide a great environment for grape growing. Afternoon and evening ocean breezes flow through the Rainbow Gap causing a large diurnal shift which our grape vines flourish in. We receive an average of 12” of rain a year and the vines are deep irrigated using domestic water. The soil is a sandy loam soil which is great for the vines.


35C2DEFE-7EC1-4C37-A756-69962616C49E_Original.jpg

Originally, nine of the ten acres were planted with Chardonnay vines in the mid 1970’s. We decreased the acres planted to 6.3 acres when we built the main tasting room in 2003. In 2010, we doubled the vine density by adding new rows of vines between existing rows. The varieties we grow at the Wiens Family Cellars Vineyard are:

Chardonnay: The original Chardonnay vines planted here in the mid 1970’s are still producing quality grapes today. Our Chardonnay is unique in that we age on oak, while suppressing the secondary (malo-lactic) fermentation.  This allows us to accentuate the natural flavors in the wine with oak, rather than the buttery notes present in a “ML” chardonnay. The French oak used lends some creamy vanilla notes, that balance nicely against crisp, green apple notes, making our Chardonnay a little lighter bodied than most California Chardonnays, while retaining good typicity.

Montepulciano: Our 2018 Montepulciano is estate grown. We typically don’t get enough fruit to make a stand-alone Montepulciano, but 2018 was an exception. This is estate grown fruit, and produces a medium bodied red, with floral, and red fruit notes, and nice ageing acidity. The 2018 vintage is scheduled to be released around March of 2021.

Mourvedre: Our Estate Mourvedre is used in many of our blended wine like our Domestique, which is a GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre blend). GSM blends originated in the Côtes du Rhône region of France but are made all around the world today. GSM blends are known for their vivid fruit, strong aromas of ripe fruit, some herbs, and a pepper finish.

Petit Verdot: Our Estate Petite Verdot is blended into our blends like our Crowded. Petite Verdot Is known for high tannins, deep color, and black fruit flavor and aroma.

Syrah: Syrah tends to be a difficult variety, with its proclivity toward producing funky, smoky notes during fermentation and ageing. While this tendency can be a bad thing, we respect this as part of the variety, while simultaneously working to incorporate these aromas and flavors into a more cohesive, balanced wine. We will intentionally add more oxygen during, and after fermentation, keeping the yeast, and lees healthy and happy, and use lighter toast French oak, which tends to impart less of the smoky notes typical in heavier toast American oak. This allows a touch of the smoky, gamey character to interplay with the fruity, herbal notes, giving the finished wine a complex and clean, yet unmistakably “Syrah” profile. 

Next time you’re here for a visit take a walk out into the vineyard and see the vines up close in person. You can tell which vines are the oldest Chardonnay vines by their size- their trunks are much larger than the newer vines.

Our San Ignacio Vineyard is located 9 miles Northeast of the winery and sits at an elevation of 2,300-2,350ft, approximately 900’ higher than the winery. We chose this property because of its proximity next to a ridgetop that has a consistent breeze which helps to lessen frost danger in the spring. It has similar daytime temperatures as Temecula valley floor, but without morning fog, and a slightly dryer climate. The sandy loam soil allows for good drainage, has the preferred PH range, and contains a good amount of natural nutritious organic material. We planted four Bordeaux grape varieties in 2013- Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot, with the intent to create big, bold, age worthy red wines. The clones we selected were for their deep color, intense fruit flavors and aroma.

One of the challenges with this vineyard is there is very little well water available, so vines are as close to dry farmed as possible. Because of the dry conditions, the vines produce pea sized berries with concentrated flavor that create rich intense wines. Although the yields are low, and we have to work harder to get them, the fruit we harvest is incredible and consistently produces Reserve quality wine. Our Reserve blend Unforgiving, a blend using 100% San Ignacio grown grapes, is named after these challenging and “unforgiving” conditions.


IMG_3673.jpg

 

The four varieties planted at San Ignacio are:   

Carmenere: Our San Ignacio vineyard is our first vineyard we planted an Italian clone of Carmenere, known for its red and black black berry flavors, crimson color, and herbaceous green peppercorn notes in. Used in our “Unforgiving” blend and other future blends the Carmenere adds color and “pepper spice”.

Cabernet Sauvignon: Our San Ignacio Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon produces high intensity fruit that is used in our blends like our 2017 Grand Rouge and in future releases like the 2018 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The San Ignacio Cabernet Sauvignon fruit has shown Reserve potential each harvest.

Malbec: Also used in the Unforgiving blend, the San Ignacio Malbec adds to this Bordeaux style blend that showcases ample concentration, body, and age worthiness as a delicious reward for all of the hard work.

Merlot: The 2018 Reserve San Ignacio Merlot is scheduled to be released in January 2021. Expect Red fruit and peppers, with incredibly smooth tannins, making it a big red that can still appeal to a wide audience.

Do you know we farm a total of 110 acres of vineyards all throughout the Temecula area? They are located East of us in Sage, West of us in La Cresta and De Luz, and right here in the Valley- including the 10 acres our Tasting Room sits on. Although our vineyard’s locations are relatively close (within 20 miles of the winery), they were strategically chosen based on the differences in their soil composition, climate, and elevation. These differences allow us to grow many different grape varietals in locations that suite each varietal best, including wines like the Cabernet Franc grown at our Sage Vineyard.  

Our Sage Vineyard is located 12 miles Northeast of the winery in Sage. At an elevation of 2,500-2,550, it sits about 1,000 feet higher than the winery. This additional elevation creates a slightly different climate with a higher day to night temperature shift than here at the winery. Although there are similar daytime temperatures, and an afternoon breeze like the valley floor, there is generally no morning fog. Since the Sage area is drier, and has less soil nutrients in its primarily sandy loam soil, vines produce smaller quantities of intense fruit giving our Cabernet Franc its concentrated strength and elegance unique to this property. This smaller quantity, yet intense fruit from the Sage Vineyard has become some of our most popular reserve wines.


Sage Vineyard Soil

In addition to the Cabernet Franc grown at our Sage Vineyard, we also have nine other varietals planted including:

Alicante Boushcet- A semi-rare variety that was cultivated in France in 1866 by Henri Bouschet as a cross of Petit Bouschet and Grenache. It was heavily planted in California in the 1920’s for export to the East Coast because of its thick skin and its resistance to rot during transport. We grow a small quantity of it because of its deep and intense red color. We field blend it with our Barbera and/or Sangiovese to add color.

 

Chardonnay- Chardonnay does well in most of our Temecula vineyards including Sage. Our 2019 Reserve Chardonnay is made from 48% Sage Chardonnay which provides boasting elements of mineral, tangerine and honeysuckle, complemented by lush cream notes and toasted oak derived from barrel aging. Our 2019 Reserve Chardonnay is the perfect balance of full oak body and flavors, countered by lean acidity to provide a crisp, clean finish.  

 

Barbera- Our Sage Vineyard produces Barbera fruit with good acidity, making this wine a perfect accompaniment for more acidic dishes, such as Italian tomato-based dishes. The 2016 Reserve Barbera is 76% Sage Barbera blended with 18% Sage Petite Sirah and 6% Sage Alicante Bouschet making it a 100% Sage Vineyard designate. The 2016 Reserve Barbera has intense flavors of blackberry pie, rosemary, and graham crackers.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon- Sage vineyard regularly produces some of our best reserve wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon. The rocky, well-drained soil and bigger diurnal shifts (difference between day temperature and night) produce much less fruit, yet much higher quality with balanced sugar and acidity. The berries are small and allow more skin to juice ratio making these wines highly concentrated and full bodied.

 

Petit Sirah- The arid, rocky granite terrain at the Sage Vineyard makes for a Petite Sirah with incredible concentration and depth. Our 2014 Reserve Petite Sirah was made with 100% Sage Vineyard fruit and showcased aromas of white pepper and roasted rosemary that lead into a dense palate of ripe blackberry, blueberry and French vanilla, with bold, age-worthy tannins on the finish.  

 

Sangiovese- Our Sage Vineyard Sangiovese is used in our popular blends such as our red Crowded and Reflection. Our 2015 Sangiovese is a blend of Temecula Valley and Sage Vineyard Sangiovese and shines with notes of black plum, mulberry and fresh herbs building into a generous palate of crème de cassis, earth notes and warm spice, making this vintage a true crowd pleaser. 

 

Sauvignon Blanc: The aromatics of our Sage Sauvignon Blanc in particular change significantly throughout the ripening process, so in order to attempt to capture the full range of aromatic potential, we harvest our Sauvignon Blanc in two lots.  The first is harvested slightly under-ripe at 19 brix, fermenting out to give top notes of lemon grass and green pepper, while the second lot is harvested a little over-ripe at 24 brix, giving us notes of ripe apricot and pineapple. When the two lots are blended back together, they balance each other out perfectly.  Lightly oaking enhances the nose by adding some creamy vanilla notes, while rounding out the palate, giving the finished wine a little more weight. 

 

Viognier: Viognier has a tendency to become rich, viscous, and overpowering if left on the vine too long, so we intentionally harvest our Sage Vineyard Viognier a little earlier than most. This allows us to retain enough acidity to cut through, and balance out some of the richness, and gives us a wider spectrum of flavors and aromas that may get “cooked out” if left to over ripen.

 

Zinfandel: The Sage Vineyard Zinfandel is used in a few of our blends and was a Reserve single variety in 2015. Notes of rose petal potpourri, cinnamon bark, raspberry purée, and balanced acidity are present with most Sage Vineyard Zinfandel vintages.