Our motto is mountains, ridges, hillsides and benches. This became increasingly evident once we arrived in Monterey County. The steep mountains that line up along the coast help to trap the coastal fog in the valley and give the grapes a longer growing season, which allows for more natural acid and fruit flavors. The mountains also allow for alluvial soil to slide down from the top of the mountain into the soil of the valley. This makes for a very complex mixture of minerals and rich soil from which the grapes can thrive.
Our first stop was at Hacienda Vineyard where the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes are growing in decomposed granite made up of quartz and feldspar. Much like the grapes near Los Alamos, the grapes here were growing in BIG clusters – “wings, wings and more wings!” Randy exclaimed.
Shoulders are the top two sprouts on the same stem. Wings are above this and independent.
As we drove from vineyard to vineyard I noticed that some lots were completely cut down to the vine and had white tape wrapped around the top of them. I asked Randy why that was and he informed me those vines were having clones placed inside of them. I had never known that you could clone a vine and even change it from one varietal to another. The powerful vine would simply push whatever clone you place inside of it out into the world. We later drove by some other vines and Randy pointed out that they had grown out of their protective wrapping.
I learned so much on my trip with Randy. From grape growing to winemaking, it was truly an eye opening to experience that I’ll never forget. Randy’s passion is contagious and is most evident in the wine he creates. I’m forever grateful that he took time out of his day to take such a green employee out into the fields and show me what a day in the life of Randy looks like. Cheers to a bountiful and healthy bloom!