Monthly Archive for June, 2013

Wine Weirdos are at it again – this time the Lafond, 2010 Lafond Vineyard Chardonnay and we love them!

To order:

Pinot Noir Today

6.19.13-pinot-noirPinot is looking good. Click image to enlarge.

The Envy of Bordeaux

6.19.13-Petit-VerdotOur 2010 Petit Verdot is a luscious, full-bodied, full-flavored, fruit-driven, aromatic, 100% varietal wine that would pair fantastically with a simply grilled, marbled ribeye steak (I like mine with a little salt, pepper, some olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar on a bed of wild arugula).

Petit Verdot is one of the lesser known, and lesser used, Bordeaux grapes. Its primary function is to enhance the red wines of the Medoc with color and exotic perfume. But because Petit Verdot is the last of the Bordeaux grapes to ripen, it is rarely used at all and is essentially non-existent on the Right Bank.

Consider that grapes are chosen not just for their performance in varying soil types but also as a form of insurance for winegrowers in adverse weather conditions. Merlot, the most planted grape in Bordeaux, is the first to ripen and grows well in the clay-based soils of the Right Bank because they tame its natural vigor. However, in rough years, Merlot can fall victim to late spring frost.

Cabernet Sauvignon ripens later and grows more successfully in the well-drained gravel soils of the Medoc where its roots can dig deep and the scarcity of water promotes more concentrated fruit. Cabernet Sauvignon may, however, fall victim to heavy fall rains after Merlot has been safely harvested. With this in mind it’s a wonder the late-ripening Petit Verdot gets used at all, if it weren’t for its bedazzling personality.

Santa Barbara County is not just blessed with the longest growing season in California, but one of the longest in the world. Bringing a late-ripening grape such as Petit Verdot to fruition is no problem at all. Come in to the tasting room and reap the benefits of our fabulous terroir and experience something the French have to turn to us for.

Carlos Mascherin-Fossek, CS – Santa Barbara Winery
To Order:


Now is the time to remove lateral canes and expose the new clusters. The machine does about 70% of the work and the rest is handwork. Leafing is important to allow airflow through the vines and reduce the possibility of mildew damage. The main canopy will grow and make up the loss of foliage. The machine is a sort of monster with tubes, scissor like knives, suction and blower all working furiously together.6.12.13-leafing-2

Farewell but not Goodbye

4.05.13-shaneSanta Barbara Winery bids, “fare thee well” to Assistant Winemaker Shane Keck who has recently accepted a top position at Fleury Estate Winery in Rutherford of Napa Valley.

Shane first worked for Santa Barbara as a wine steward in our tasting room downtown for a year back in 2005. He then ventured to Stellenbosch, South Africa where he studied viticulture at the Elsenburg Agricultural Training Institute. An invitation to work a harvest at La Motte Winefarm in South Africa’s famous Franschhoek Valley soon followed.

After returning stateside in 2010, Shane moved from our tasting room to the cellar, assuming the duties of Assistant Winemaker. During his three-year tenure as Assistant Winemaker, Shane continued his winemaking education by taking on-line courses offered through UC Davis Extension.

Shane left his signature on our 2010, 2011 and 2012 vintages. He will be missed but promises to visit often. We couldn’t be happier for him and wish him all the best. Go get ’em buddy!

Carlos Mascherin-Fossek, CS – Santa Barbara Winery

French Industrialists who Represent French Companies in America

…as well as a smattering of embassy and consulate officials from Washington, Los Angeles and San Francisco. A very knowledgeable group who have lived on the West Coast for many years.

Pinot Noir Today

6.05.13-pinotnoirThe crop looks good, not spectacular but close to average. Because of a very dry winter the vines are not growing large canopies. This is true especially in young vines because the roots have not grown sufficiently and the drip irrigation affects a limited area, whereas, rain will extend to all the roots. It is an argument for overhead sprinklers which, however, require a great deal of water and are very costly.

We are beginning, now, to balance the fruit levels with canopy size which will require dropping fruit in order not to damage the vine. So, what began as a bumper crop will end up slightly below average. There is always next year.