Winemaker's Update

– Matt Brady, SAMsARA Winemaker

Winemaker’s Update – July 31, 2018

A slightly later harvest

“What’s been happening in the past two weeks: we’re getting to that critical time of the year when harvest is right around the corner and things are happening quick in the vineyards. Veraison has started (beginning of ripening where green grapes turn to red grapes) and we have a good idea of what our yields look like. Pretty moderate and average yield, across the board. Chardonnay is a little light but everything is looking good. It’s been a pretty cool and moderate season, all year, up until the last 3 or 4 weeks, we got a couple heatwaves. That being said, on those low 90 degrees Santa Ynez days, it’s still in the low to mid 70 degrees out in Santa Rita, especially the western part of Santa Rita, where most of our vineyards are. So, we’re not quite as far behind in the season as we started out as, but it’s still looking to be a slightly later harvest compared to the last few years.”

Very first vintage of Chardonnay

“Beyond that, there’s a lot going on in the cellar. We’re getting ready to bottle our very first vintage of Chardonnay. There haven’t been any white wines made with SAMsARA in the past, and 2017 we started a Chardonnay program working with some really top vineyards, who we’re priviledged to partner with: Zotovich vineyard, single-vineyard wine from Zotovich, as well as using part of that for our Santa Rita Hills blend. And then for the Sta. Rita Hills wine, Kessler-Haak, John Sebastiano, and some of the Zotovich.”

A traditional winemaking approach

“Last week I racked the wine to tank. They’re going to spend about 4 to 5 weeks in tank before bottling, and that’s a real traditional winemaking approach you see a lot in Burgundy. Having the wine in tank for a little bit before bottling kind of tightens it up, adds a little bit of reduction, and introduces that slight tension in the wine that really gives it energy and life. And tasting the wine when they went to tank, I’m really excited about this first vintage of Chardonnay. They’re stylistically very much what I was hoping to make. Bright, acid-driven, but still rich and textured, lots of depth and complexity. All neutral oak, barrel-fermented. No new oak. Pretty exciting wine, We’ll bottle those next month and then get ready for harvest.”

New facility in Goleta, CA

“We’ll be at our new facility in Goleta, which is really exciting. That’s coming together nicely. We’ve got all our ducks in a row, all the equipment ready to go. Not only did we get to design and build out the winery of our dreams, but we’re getting some really cool equipment to get in there so it’s going to be a lot of fun making wine there.”

– Matt Brady, SAMsARA Winemaker (July 31, 2018)