Happy New Year!
The 2016 harvest is now history! Last summer in Santa Barbara County was very mild with a couple of noticeable heat spikes, enabling most grape varietals a slow ripening process leading to optimal maturity for harvesting. By the time we put the wines to bed in barrel or tank for maturation, the aromas and flavors were already showing a certain density and complexity.
Besides my Santa Barbara County-born Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah, I’m introducing a couple of Rhône-inspired blends this year, a red blend and a white, both of which promise to be rich and luxurious. I’m going with the moniker “Cuveé 246” in line with the fact that I work with a number of vineyards along Highway 246 through the Santa Rita Hills to Happy Canyon.
If this past month offers any hint of what’s to come in the way of precipitation, we just might get the rain that we so badly need this year. Even though we drip irrigate, the vines need those chilly post rain days to push them into dormancy. Vines that stay dormant longer tend to have more acidity, leading to length and balance. And that’s what I want.
And so I’ve got my children working on a rain dance. Theresa-Noelle is now 9 and the twins, Charlotte and Buddy, are 6. They’re starting to understand what it is to run a family winery and I think that they’re rather proud of it. Whereas the winery used to serve as their playground, I finally put the the kids to work during this past harvest pulling little green stems called “jacks” out of the fermenters. This will insure that your wine is tasty as always. We’re going for the “yum” factor.
We had a great 2016 with the support of our marketing-brand manager, brokers, and distribution arm in the Central Coast, Southern California, and Nevada territories, such a good year that we quickly sold through all of our wines, leaving our customers wanting for more. That’s the good news – and the not so good news. Gearing up for the new year, we are slightly upping production and, in fact, bottled our 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, our 2015 Chardonnay, and our 2015 Pinot Noir in mid-December. And we’re just about to release the new vintages. Our White Hawk Syrah and the new “246” blends will follow.
Along with Rob Dafoe and Emily Rosendahl of Rake wines, I opened a tasting room in my winery in late spring 2016. The Easy Street Wine Collective is located at 90 Easy Street in Buellton. We’re currently open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 5:30 pm. If you’re planning to visit during the week, please contact us for a tasting and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
Our plans are always a bit more ambitious than time permits, but we’re hoping to roll out a series of wine pairing dinners with visiting chefs this year along with other wine-related events at the winery. We’ll keep you current on our calendar of events with the hope that you’ll join us.
Meanwhile, we wish you and yours a Happy New Year – one that unfolds with promise and peace and always good wine.