Monthly Archive for February, 2010

Same Label new Image for Santa Barbara Winery

Installing our first Frost Protection Blower

David has been installing these large blowers which are supposed to push the air 50 feet high. The concept is to create an upward draft removing the cold air, that sinks to the ground, and replacing it with the warmer air above.

We are installing two in one of our Pinot Noir blocks – the block is about 20 acres. This is an experiment and if it works, even moderately well, we will install others. Our hope is that we wont have to test it and temperatures will not drop below freezing.

There are other choices. The gold standard is water but that requires huge amounts of water, a large reservoir, many many pumps and overhead sprinklers. None of which we have.

As water freezes, enclosing the grapes it gives off heat as it changes from liquid to solid. The problem is you have to keep pumping until it gets warm enough to melt the ice or goodbye the grapes.

Tall vertical fans work but they generally push the problem to your neighbor or another part of your vineyard. Helicopters really move the air but the hourly cost is astronomical. So, we are trying these horizontal blowers which can be powered by a tractor, are movable and don’t break the bank. (click images to enlarge)

Lafond Winery, Lafond Vineyard, 2007 Pommard Clone Pinot Noir

Lafond Winery releases Lafond Vineyard 2006 Pinot Noir

Nestled in the Santa Rita Hills of the western Santa Ynez Valley, Lafond Vineyard is ideally situated to produce Pinot Noir exhibiting
the unique and exotic flavor profile one finds in only a few regions of the world.

Specific areas within our vineyard exhibit elevated concentration and complexity due to soil and exposure to the elements. We have also planted eight distinct clones of Pinot Noir, each with subtle differences in flavor and aroma.

The Lafond Vineyard Pinot Noir is Winemaker Bruce McGuire’s selection of those vines that fully express the character found in our vineyard.

The 2006 Pinot Noir was harvested on ten days from September 24 th to October 2nd. 2006 yielded an average crop size with small clusters. Bruce chose four clones from five of the least vigorous vineyard lots (clones 667, 777, 115, and 4) to make this highly structrued wine.

He experimented with parallel shoot positioning, which showed very well, increasing succulence and fruit intensity. The potential of this Pinot Noir should start to show itself as soon as 2009 with aging rewarded through 2013.

The complexity and depth of flavor make this Pinot Noir a great match with savory foods such as lamb, Copper River salmon, hearty sushi, and dark mushroom dishes.

Suggested Retail 48.00/750ml
To order:

Scenes from Valentine Day at Lafond Winery Sunday February 14, 2010

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New Release – Santa Barbara Winery 2008 Santa Barbara County Chardonnay

Click image to enlargeWinemaker Bruce McGuire was able to travel throughout western Santa Barbara County choosing several vineyards (including Scheid Vineyard up in Monterey County) for this multi-vineyard blend.

These vineyards meet Bruce’s standards for viticultural practices and growing conditions suitable to make this full-bodied yet eminently approachable Chardonnay. All the grapes for this wine were pressed as whole clusters and 55% of the wine fermented in stainless steel without undergoing malolactic frementation.

These two steps lend brightness to the fruit intensity that then integrates with the mouth pleasing weight and supple flavors enhanced by barrel fermentation. Our Santa Barbara County Chardonnay is a good all around choice to satisfy a wide variety of foods.

With enough structure to age for five to seven years, we think this wine is very enjoyable two years after the vintage year. This is truly a Santa Barbara County blend from warmer Los Alamos to cooler Sta. Rita Hills.

This nicely balanced wine is a great choice for service with roast chicken, sea bass, and pasta. Try with a mixed fruit and nut platter featuring a selection of light to mild semi hard cheeses.
Suggested Retail: 15.00/750ml
To Order: Santa Barbara Winery

Chocolate and Wine Pairing, Valentine Weekend, at Santa Barbara Winery

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Chocolate Pairing – 6 wines and 6 different chocolates, paired by manager Suzanne Firzgerald, was very successful. Although, after 6 truffles no one was very interested in buying more chocolates.

The chocolates were made the day before by chocolatier Jean-Michel of ‘Chocolats du Cali’ in their Carpinteria location. It is an event that we are sure to repeat. If you missed this one and would like to be notified the next time call us at 805 963 3633 or send us an Email.

Photos 2/12/10

Santa Barbara Winery, The Fight for a Name

Foster’s (beer) new label continues to cause confusion. Many have written in support and we would like to  thank the blog  ‘A Long Pour’ for their excellent and informative article.
This is an excerpt of the article. The full article can be read at A Long Pour:

With more wineries entering the market every year, and more Corporations doing the same, clashes between the two groups are inevitable. Santa Barbara Winery has operated in Santa Barbara, of course, since 1962, Founded by Pierre Lafond, it is the oldest winery in the county.

The family owns and operates two wineries; Santa Barbara Winery focusing on value based Rhone varietals, and Lafond Winery, which operates out of the prestigious Santa Rita Hills. Santa Barbara Winery has its tasting room and winery based in downtown Santa Barbara, not far from Kalyra, Oreana, Carr Winery, and others. Recently however, the winery has felt that the name they’ve spent almost fifty years building has been threatened.

With Santa Barbara County producing some of the highest scoring Pinot Noirs, Syrah, and other varietals, the potential for profit remains tremendous. Like many other entrepreneurs, the corporate world has also taken notice. Recently, a new brand has emerged on the Central Coast. Santa Barbara Wine Company officially launches this month with a vintage of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

For obvious reasons, Santa Barbara Winery has been deeply concerned about the potential for confusion in the market place, given how similar the two names are. “We are deeply disappointed and upset that Foster’s is attempting to create a label so similar to ours using the Santa Barbara name” Joanie Hudson, Director of National and International Marketing for Santa Barbara Winery told me via email. Some have suggested the added marketing of the name ‘Santa Barbara” could be a windfall for Santa Barbara Winery, But Joanie doesn’t agree.

“Confusion in the market-place is never a good thing and in the market-place David does not slay Goliath, just the opposite.” There is also concern that although the grapes are to be sourced from Santa Barbara County, the wines are to be produced outside the County in Paso Robles, a fact confirmed to me by a company spokesperson. I have heard some rumblings that Santa Barbara Wine Company is taking steps to gain full and restricted use of the name Santa Barbara on wine labels. But my area of greatest concern comes from their marketing approach…

Valentine’s Day Weekend Chocolate and Wine Pairing

We’ll pair a special tasting list with artisan chocolates from local chocolatier Chocolates du Cali Bressan. Come sample some wine and luxurious chocolate to celebrate the long romantic weekend.

Saturday 2/13 – Monday 2/15 10-5pm
Tasting Room, Santa Barbara Winery

Wine Club members 7.50
Non-members 15.00

From Choclats du Cali website:

Those of you already familiar with “Le CaliBressan” from France can now enjoy Jean-Michel’s delicious artisan chocolates created fresh right here in the United States! If you are not already acquainted with us and our chocolates, please explore the surprising imagination of Chef Jean-Michel and his “zesty” wife Jill.

Jean-Michel’s experience and creative culinary skills have earned him many world-wide accolades in magazines, brochures, and traveling guides, including “Rick Steves,” and the well known French tour guide, “Michelin Vert.”

Wednesday February 10, 2010

I was at the vineyard today to see if yesterday’s solid rain had caused any damage – it hadn’t. The ground cover which we planted to control erosion is thriving. Portions which have been mowed are growing again rapidly. Unfortunately, today the ground is still a little too wet for the tractor but thanks to the sandy soil we can probably resume mowing tomorrow.

The photos are of the ground cover – not too exciting – but I show them to illustrate the variety of herbs and grasses that we use. Most are legumes  – stabilizing and at the same time returning nutrients to the soil.

The vines are still dormant but here and there you can see the buds starting to appear. It is still very cold at night and we would rather they waited a few more weeks. The frost threat, however, lasts well into May.

Lafond Vineyard Photos February 2, 2010

We have had some rain and the ground cover has thrived and it is time to cut it back. There are also signs of very early budding, but only in the warmest areas. The ground cover will continue to grow but with the prospects of budding, maintaining a low cover crop helps reduce the threat of frost damage.

High vegetation impedes the flow of air and allows the coldest air to settle in the vineyard rather than moving on. We plan on installing some horizontal fans in the lowest areas of the vineyard to encourage this flow of air. The frost season from February to the end of April is white knuckle time for most vineyards.