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September 15, 2020 | Winemaking | Team Member

Do Grapes Like to Struggle? (VIDEO)

They say grapes like struggling. They hate struggling. Everybody hates struggling. What grapes like is climatic shifts. So, Bucks Bar in June is ungodly hot, because the wind drops in the canyon. So it’s really hot. But by this time of year it’s 10 degrees colder than Fair Play. It has interesting dynamics where I can see how that is going to develop flavors I can use in my winemaking.  

Vineyards that stick on a promenade. We have these river canyons and things that stick out, knolls that stick out, conspicuous... those are going to be the places where you get the most flavor development, because they have the most interesting things going on. Nooks and crannies, holes, things that don’t see a lot of sun... that’s probably great for champagne.  

Things that are on the knoll are going to get the most sun, the most wind, the most UV exposure, they’re going to get the most beat up. That’s what the grapes want. They feel those stresses. They don’t want to be stressed. It’s like, it puts hair on your chest, like you want that challenge. The grapes want to be struggling to produce the best thing, but not struggling to live. In America we see it as struggling to live. No, no! That’s just going to produce a weak grape vine. 

You want a grape vine that is struggling to produce excellence. That tends to be in those exposed places. I’m not the only person that thinks this. There is something about that place. If you look at the way it’s drawn the Cosumnes River goes like an arrow and it hits that wall and turns around it. The wind comes ripping over the top of that. When it rains five inches here it rains two feet there. It gets hotter and it gets colder and it gets windier.  

It has great soil, the plants should grow great, and the environment should stress them. That’s the things I’m looking for. 


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