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Bee Informed With the Eco Terreno Blog

Liz Goebel
 
May 27, 2021 | Liz Goebel

A Yeast Feast: Native vs. Cultured Yeasts in Wine Fermentation

After 30 years of conventional-style winemaking at Sebastiani Vineyards, Mark Lyon’s vision for Eco Terreno has been all about exploring new methods, with an emphasis on finding ways to keep the process as natural as possible. Considering we farm biodynamically, it’s no surprise! We love natural. So why not take it even further? For the 2019 vintage Chardonnay, our winemaking team decided to experiment with bringing native yeast into the equation. While manufactured “cultured” yeasts are typically used by winemakers for their ability to ensure fast, consistent, and robust fermentation, native yeasts – naturally found on the berries and in the vineyard - bring a sense of place, terrior, and spontaneity. Fun fact – just a single grape can have 50,000 yeast particles!

Although the native yeast fermentation process is longer, not to mention unpredictable and potentially risky, patience and a bit of faith is often rewarded with enhanced aromatics, added texture, and heightened complexity. Whites and rosés in particular tend to finish with a creamier mouthfeel and a softer, smoother palate.

Roughly translated to “the wild one” in Spanish, our 2019 Lo Selvestre Chardonnay alludes to its native yeast fermentation – the first Eco Terreno wine released with this distinction! Rich yet silky with a medium-to-full body, creamy texture, and balanced bright acidity, Lo Selvestre is a perfect example of the direction our wine is heading.

To even further emphasize an authentic sense of place each time a bottle of Eco Terreno is opened, our winemaking team is currently developing our own special yeast. Isn’t science awesome? Exclusive to our farm, the custom native yeast will not only provide consistent native fermentation; it will give our wines distinctive nuances that can only be found in our unique corner of the Alexander Valley.

Is your mouth watering yet? We invite you to join us in celebrating International Chardonnay Day. Cheers!

Time Posted: May 27, 2021 at 9:00 AM
Rob Izzo
 
February 28, 2020 | Rob Izzo

Hooray, Bottling Has Begun!

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!

 

Time Posted: Feb 28, 2020 at 10:34 AM
Rob Izzo
 
February 28, 2020 | Rob Izzo

Hooray, Bottling Has Begun!

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!

 

Time Posted: Feb 28, 2020 at 10:34 AM
Rob Izzo
 
February 27, 2020 | Rob Izzo

The Importance of Pruning

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!

Time Posted: Feb 27, 2020 at 9:52 AM
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