bunch of green grapes hanging from vine

How Farming Affects the Quality of your Cab

From a chemical perspective, wine is naturally a complex substance. You may have heard the popular saying…great wine is made in the vineyard. While it is a little cliche, it is also very true. What happens in the vineyard can determine what the winemaker can and cannot do. Every winemaker wants to make great wine but it is not possible to make great wine from poor quality grapes.

Organic winemakers pick their grapes at the optimal sugar and phenolic ripeness to create naturally balanced wines that require minimal interventions.

Vineyard management decisions can be the difference between a naturally great wine and a high intervention okay wine. These decisions are the biggest determinant of fruit quality. Fruit sourced from a poorly managed vineyards limits the quality and style of wine. In conventional winemaking adjustments or “adds” (acid, tannin, DAP, yeast nutrient, color, etc.) are made to low-quality grapes in order to produce a drinkable wine (aka cellar magic). Minimalist approaches on the other hand, such as organic and biodynamic winemaking have strict standards on the types and level of additives. As a result, the baseline quality of grapes used in minimalist organic winemaking is higher than in conventional winemaking. Organic winemakers pick their grapes at the optimal sugar and phenolic ripeness to create naturally balanced wines that require minimal interventions.

A major difference between conventional and minimalist organic wines is the use of artificial chemicals in the vineyard. In conventional vineyards, these chemicals are used to control pests, diseases, and weeds. This regimen of chemicals is designed to suppress the natural yeasts, fauna, and flora. The system becomes unbalanced and the vines yield fruit of predictable quality. Conventional winemaking emphasizes the reduction of risk. The standard technique is to suppress natural yeasts by adding sulfur and then to inoculate with industrial yeasts once at the winery. In minimalist organic vineyards, naturally (plant, bacterial, elemental ) derived chemicals can be used but it is uncommon. These approaches require winemakers and vineyard managers to understand the microclimate around their vineyards. Most have created built-in systems and strategies to reduce the need for chemical intervention. This holistic approach finds a natural balance in the environment through vine spacing, cover crops, and vineyard orientation.

These minimal intervention farming techniques create healthier soils, more complex wines, and a more natural product. Because there is no cellar magic going on with natural wines, only the very best grapes can be harvested and used in the wines. Many natural winemakers will tell stories of batches they’ve had to dump because the wine did not develop well. This type of winemaking is not for the faint of heart. It takes real dedication and passion for natural wines to stay true to the methods and produce only high quality wine.

BTW, natural and delicious wines don't have to be expensive. Have you tried any of ours yet?

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