Location is everything. Soil is king. What's a winemaker to do?
Place matters a great deal when it comes to winegrowing. The climate, elevation, exposure and drainage of a plot of land make all the difference. As does the soil itself. If you’re a vine, there’s simply no getting away from the dirt you’re rooted in. The hands that care for the vines are equally as important; shaping the canopy, dropping fruit, and turning irrigation valves. Months and months of effort, all in preparation for that fateful meeting where the pick decision is made and the transformation begins.
When the fruit comes into the winery, the cellar crew goes about the painstaking process of sorting it. They are there not merely to separate the grapes from the MOG (material other than grapes: leaves and twigs and bugs and such), they are there to meet the Martins' demand for ripe berries and only ripe berries –nothing green, nothing shriveled, nothing damaged. Patriarch Ken Martin's neighbors envied his Ruby Red Grapefruit sorting lines for decades. Needless to say, his newest masterpiece has had a similar impact around the fermentation halls of Coombsville.
The next step, fermentation, would seem to be a simple matter of getting the yeasts “on and off the dance floor,” as one writer put it. Alex's goal as winemakers is to tell the story of where our wines come from and seemlessly bring them to bottle as the purest experssion of the soil and environment in which they were grown. Sun, rain, heat, cool, and wind all play a role, and our winemaking team focuses on allowing the fruit tell its' story unimpeded by needless meddling.
After fermentation, the process continues with different aging techniques and a barrel program with an impressive variety of cooperage and toast levels. Then comes the endless blending trials, mixing vineyard blocks with different varietals, clones and rootstocks to achieve the right balance of approachability and ageability. This is where Steve, a blending artist with few equals, harmoniously brings it all together.