Winemaker's Update

– Matt Brady, SAMsARA Winemaker

Winemaker’s Update – November 2, 2018

The Makings of An All Time Vintage

“It was really long, cool, growing season . . . probably the most moderate temperatures we’ve had since 2011. So, not only did we get really good hang time and phenological maturity, but the fruit has tremendous numbers and great acidity. The balance between sugar and acid has been just really on point this year.

And that’s really important for the style of wine we make. One, because we have a low intervention wine-making approach with indigenous ferments and minimal handling. Two, the big whole cluster component, we really need some low pHs to start off with to pull off this style, because the stems will raise our pH level a little bit. So, for the wine to finish in the range that we want it, for pH and acidity, you’ve got to start with a lot of natural acidity.

This vintage has been amazing. There hasn’t been a single challenge to anything this year. So, we can tell that the vineyards are really healthy. While we’re not really out of our drought, this year was not nearly as extreme as the  previous five drought years. Fruit quality is just through the roof. It’s been a really great growing season, and I think the quality of the fruit reflects that.”

Just Another Dream Come True

“It’s been an interesting harvest because there have been some challenges with finishing up work on the new winery facility as we’re making wine, and it’s required some flexibility. But that’s been a positive thing, too. In general, the new facility is just a dream to make wine in. We put this plan together in our heads and then put it on paper, and we considered how everything was going to fit together and how it’s all going to flow. And then to actually do it and to see it happening and have it work the way that we envisioned it working is really rewarding.

We’ve really found the groove, so to speak, for our new spot, and how everything fits together, and how our days flow. And it’s been great.

It’s just nice having a really clean, brand new facility. We already feel like part of this cool little community up here in the Los Carneros Business Center. It’s really cool having Captain Fatty’s Brewery here and Green Star Coffee Roasters here. It just makes for a really good vibe. And it sounds crazy, but I’m looking forward to next year’s harvest already.

The whole Samsara team has been working extremely hard. Joan and Dave have put in hundreds of hours. Jen and Devon have been tremendous. And it feels great to have a team that’s solid and working together, and at the end of the day, we’ve made some really cool wines together. And that’s pretty cool.”


Clean and Simple, But Also Impressive

“The new Goleta tasting room is beautiful. They finished the floors yesterday. The floors look great. The bar construction’s almost finished, it really fits with our aesthetic as well. Clean and simple, but also – what’s the word I’m looking for –  impressive, I guess.

It’s going to be really exciting to have on-site tastings. Our main priority and our biggest goal for the winery and tasting room build out was to bring the winery into the tasting room as much as we could. Walking around in there I can already tell that when visitors come to taste, it’s going to be a different experience, because you see the barrels, you see the tanks, you can see onto the winery floor.

It’ll be really cool because there’s going to be a ton of action on the winery floor, and when people come to visit, they can see it all right there. So, that’s exciting and it’s cool to see that goal of ours reached with the tasting room built out. Also, we’ve got this really sweet new winery, and we’re all just really eager to show it off and to invite our wine club members and winery friends and everybody to come check it out.

The best way to check out the winery is with a glass of wine in your hand. So, the tasting room completes an important piece of that. We’re going to go right from harvest right into a tasting room opening. We’ve got huge momentum right now with harvest still going full speed, so it’ll be really neat.”


Late Harvest Viognier

“I’m really pleased to announce that we’re making a dessert wine. We’re going to do a late-harvest Viognier, which is something cool. Samsara hasn’t done any dessert wines in the past, so we have some fruit that’s still out there in the field, and God knows when that’s going to come in, because I think we’re going to try and pick it at about 1 million bricks and get it really, really stinking ripe. So, that’ll be the end of harvest. That could be right around Thanksgiving, I’m guessing.”

Collaboration With Our New Neighbors at Captain Fatty’s Brewery

“We also have a collaboration with Captain Fatty’s Brewery going. We gave them Grenache skins, and they’re making a new beer with the Grenache skins that we pressed for rose. It should be on draft across the street when we have our Grand Opening party on December 1st.”