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Record Family Wines

Tricia Swartz
April 12, 2011 | Paso Robles, Vineyard | Tricia Swartz

Decisions, Decisions

If there is one thing that I have learned from my experiences in different aspects of the wine industry, it is that nothing happens overnight. Making new sales placements, launching a new brand from inception, or deciding on what to plant next – all of these things take dedication, patience, and time!

We recently decided to take out a block of Syrah vines (Block 1) from our vineyard. While we have been talking about the possibility of replanting for a couple of years now, we finally took the first step to make this happen. So what goes into a decision like this? A few things we considered:

1) Is what we currently have planted working for us? Right now we have 16 acres, divided into two blocks, planted to Syrah. These blocks were planted in different years, are different clones, and on different rootstock. The particular block we are removing has shown susceptibility to two different issues that are reducing the potential yields and overall health of the vines. In short, no, the vines that are currently planted are NOT working for us, time for a change!

2) What varietals should we plant? Now that we have determined a change needs to be made, the real work begins. We talked to many different industry professionals when trying to decide what to plant. So many things to take into consideration, what works in our specific micro-climate, what is there a shortage of in our region, what are consumers drinking, what do we like?

3) When can we re-plant? As much as we would like to rip out the existing vines and re-plant as soon as a decision has been made, it’s just not that simple…Nurseries only have so much inventory of certain varietals on certain rootstock. If the combination we want is not readily available, the nursery needs time to get it ready for us. There are certain times of year that are acceptable times to plant. We are planning to use a combination of dormant vines (planting takes place in April or May) and green growing vines (planting takes place in late May or June). A lot of planning goes into getting the amount of vines needed at the right time!

So…what are we going to do? Here is a breakdown of what will go in over the next year:

Approximately 2 acres of Mourvedre. We will plant about 1 acre of vines this spring and 1 acre in the spring of 2012, all dormant vines.

Approximately 2 acres of Viognier. We will plant all of the vines in the spring of 2012, all dormant vines.

Approximately 6.5 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. We will plant just over 5 acres in the spring of 2012 as dormant vines and the remaining acreage in late spring as green growing vines.

We are excited with our decision. But as I mentioned before, nothing happens overnight. Once the new vines are planted, our patience will really be tested. It will be another three years before we see results from our new vines. In the meantime, we can start planning for what we will do with these new varietals. So many opportunities for future wines under the Record Family Wines label: Viognier, Mourvedre, traditional GSM, Syrah co-fermented with Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, the possibilities are endless!!

What are you drinking? What would you like to see as a future offering of Record Family Wines?


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