Farming the Ancien Way
Great wines start in the vineyard. Youíve probably heard this before, but it bears repeating. Itís a mantra, a guiding principle, and one that we take to heart. Assuring the highest standards of quality in our vineyards is our first, foremost, and top priority. Our farming program is based on four basic ideas: farm only the right plots of land, develop a deep knowledge of the vineyard through experience and experimentation, farm each vineyard to its perfect state of balance, and support family farms.
We specialize in making wines from small, highly selective plots of land, that we have chosen for their unique combinations of soil and climate. By not farming a single, large, and contiguous estate vineyard, we are free to roam widely, looking for places, however small, that are perfectly suited to Pinot Noir, which is a grape especially sensitive to its growing environment. We are currently sourcing grapes from ten different vineyards, in seven different American Viticultural Appellations (AVAís), or officially designated wine growing regions.
Finding a great vineyard is one thing, but getting to really know the vineyard takes time. We work with our growers, nurturing a long term relationship with them as people and families and with their vines. In fact, we are currently farming four vineyard plots that we helped plant and have planted one more this year, so we have been in these vineyards since their inception. This type of experience is invaluable in the winery. It means that there is a dynamic relationship between Kenís vision for a finished wine and the development of that wine throughout the entire vintage cycle. Potential problems in the winery are prevented before they occur, in the vineyard, insuring that the best possible fruit is delivered to the winery at harvest time.
A vineyard is a living thing. It has a inextricably related to its environment, its soils, its climate, its farmers. When these factors are in balance, the vineyard will produce its highest quality of fruit and also maintain its own, long-term health. Knowing the proper, most balanced yield for a vineyard can only be learned through experience and experimentation. There is no formula and no recipe. The current fascinations with ultra-low yields, dry-farming, and extra-long hang times may make sense in some vineyards and yet be totally out of line in others. We approach each vineyard with an open mind, looking to learn what we can about its own, individual and unique point of balance, without attempting to force it into a pre-designated program.
Finally, we purchase all of our grapes from family owned and operated vineyards. Family farmers have a direct connection to the land and a personal interest in keeping it health and alive. We work with them to make sure that they receive a fair price for their grapes, enabling them to continue to farm the land in a balanced and responsible way. We simply find that we get the best grapes from responsible family farming.