Bee Informed With the Eco Terreno Blog
While the vines are resting, after giving birth to the new vintage just a few short months ago, the cellar is bustling with activity. The wines have begun the process of being moved from either tank to bottle or from tank to barrels and finally into bottles, depending on the varietal and Mark’s maturation recommendations.
Before settling on what proportion of each tank and barrel determines the blends, we must all taste, and we do so happily. Mark has spent the last several weeks bringing various wine samples into the office requesting our feedback. “How’s the aroma, I’m getting apricot and lychee…are you getting that too?” "Do you think this blend could use a little more from barrel 161 or 365?” Needless to say, everyone perks up when Mark enters the office carrying bottles with blending notes scribbled on them.
After final blending notes are gathered and percentages are confirmed we begin the bottling season. Yesterday, the Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc were the first to move into bottles, as they have the shortest fermentation period. We'll follow them with our aromatic white wines, and several weeks later, we shift to the red wines. We will wrap it up in late summer with our Chardonnay.
Naturally, we’ll have a few new surprises going into bottle for both our club members and customers looking for Eco Terreno in their favorite restaurants and specialty wine stores. Stay tuned for more updates on those wines as they’re released!
Our farming practices are guided by the seasonal rhythm of our vineyards. As the land absorbs nutrients from the winter rains, preparing for another growing season, our seemingly dormant vines are gathering strength. With the unseasonably warm weather we’ve experienced in February, bud break is arriving a bit early. Right now, the wine farm is taking a deep breath in, preparing to exhale with the bounties of a new crop.
In preparation, we have spent the past two months thoughtfully pruning each block, casting the dye for two successive vintages. We look at blocks individually to determine the yielding capacity of our vines and their potential to produce grapes that will ripen with expressive flavors. When needed, we control our yields by reducing the number of buds that grow into leafy shoots and grape clusters. For our established, more vigorous blocks, we allow them more room for growth and elect to produce a heavier crop. For young blocks and our oldest vines, we reduce the projected yield and choose to offer focused support to the clusters beautiful, complex juice they provide.
As we have been pruning, our cover crops below the vines are sprouting. Dozens of different plants are specifically selected based on contribution to soil health and the flowers they provide for beneficial pollinators visiting our estate. Our flourishing cover crop also contributes nitrogen to the soil, opening it up for stronger accessibility to rooting plants of all types. When the full bloom of spring has arrived, the vineyard literally hums with activity, ushering in insects and wildlife of all types and sizes.
Soon it is time to mow and allow the nutrients to fully absorb into our focused crop of grapes. No need to worry; the pruned canes are chipped, and along with the dropped clusters of grapes and cover crop, rotated back into the soil providing additional carbon material and further increasing soil health.
As you can tell, we are very excited! In the coming weeks we should see the first signs of bud break in the Chardonnay block, kicking off our 2020 growing season. We will keep you posted on its arrival!
In our second consecutive year of Robert Parker ratings, we are pleased to announce 90 points or higher for every wine submitted! Mark Lyon, winemaker and founder of Eco Terreno, embraces purpose driven and thoughtful farming practices. Through choosing what is healthy for our farm and the people who tend it, our biodynamically-farmed wine exhibits an authentic sense of terroir and finesse. These wines will be released later in 2020.
2017 Leoncito Red Blend - 92 points
2016 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - 92 points
2017 Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon – 91 points
2017 Otono Cabernet Sauvignon - 90 points
Listening to the land is foundational for growing the very best wine grapes. How do we listen to our land?
At Eco Terreno the authentic sense of terroir is driven by our passion for soil health and the vast components that affect it. The increase of recirculated organic matter, biodiversity, and friability (the crumbly texture of soil ideal for underground activity) lays the foundation of success for overall capacity of the land.
As we see the trend of higher temperatures becoming more frequent and intense, erosion is avoided by using cover crops that act as a sponge, holding water to reduce compaction and surface crusting during dry spells. With the added benefit of millions of insects and microorganisms paired with chickens and goats moving about a permanent flowering cover crop, our vibrant soil is alive and abundant with nutrients. The holistic natural surroundings encourage the plants to reach downward into the vibrant soil for food and moisture, creating strong, healthy, and resilient vines responsible for producing some of the best biodynamically-grown fruit in Sonoma County.
We prepare for the gradual yet profoundly impactful changes in our climate by taking rootstock and varietal selection into consideration. It is imperative that our selection of grapes are not only able to survive until harvest, but also age well and produce the highest quality of aroma and flavor.
Mark honors traditional old-world technique combined with new world methods plus the added value of technological advances in wine production. As a result of his expertise and attention to detail, we’ve seen a measured increase in the health of our land, and our land is clearly doing its job. The results speak loud and clear, and we’re honored!