Who needs technology when you’ve got Labradors to test the sugar content?
Between naps, our two loyal, fun-loving dogs spend their waking hours chasing wild turkeys and rabbits. They also tell us when the grapes are ready to pick. They start munching on bunches on lower parts of the vines. We still test the grapes. But it’s fun to know our dogs each have a nose for when the grapes are ripe!
We pamper our grapes
It’s all about the terroir—what the French call the uniqueness that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place give to grapes. The grapes that we grow love our dirt. They love our climate, too. That’s because three mountains—Sonoma, Taylor, and Bennett—form Bennett Valley. Those three mountains cradle the gentle warmth of the day’s summer sun. Then they catch the evening fog that rolls in from the coast, not all that far away.
It’s also about how we treat the vines on which the grapes hang. We pull leaves and drop fruit during the growing season—as often as necessary—doing whatever we need to do make the grapes’ juice luscious.
In the end, our grapes are pampered almost as much as our granddaughter, Zara.
We don’t expect a lot of grapes—just a lot of flavor from the grapes we harvest
Before we arrived, our vineyards produced volumes of grapes that large wineries bought to blend with their own. We started farming the vineyards to a higher standard, and also replaced half the vines with two pinot clones which matured in 2009—our first BOV Pinot Noir vintage. Now the vineyards produce a lower volume of fruit, but the wines have more structure and power. That’s why we now keep forty percent of the grapes for our own label, and allow artisan wineries to buy the rest.
Think about it. If our grapes are that good, why shouldn’t we keep some to make into wine for ourselves and our friends?