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A seven-part educational email series, presented by Ron Rubin Winery©
   
 

Chapter 1:

The Art of Viticulture

Welcome, and thanks for signing up for The Beautiful Experience of Wine! You will be receiving one chapter per week of our seven-part educational email series, beginning with this one and continuing over the next six weeks. Each chapter has been carefully crafted to expand your knowledge of wine; we sincerely hope you enjoy the experience.

 
     
   
 

Terroir, a Perfect Combination of Elements

Making great wine begins in the vineyard, with a perfect combination of elements: the people who care, the correct soil makeup, enough moisture, the right temperatures to foster growth, and the right amount of sunshine. The reward is great.

All of these conditions are what the French refer to as terroir. It’s a combination of everything present: soil, grape vines, vineyard workers, and weather conditions—whether they be sunshine, fog, or rain. It has to do with the temperature of the vine, from morning until night. Irrigation or dry farming is a consideration for each variety. Every circumstance affects the flavors of the finished fruit at the time of harvest and what that wine will become. Wine grape growing is the first step in winemaking.

Soils play an important role in the flavors of wine. Soils impart certain minerality to the wine’s flavors. For instance, soils with iron oxide deliver spiciness to a wine’s flavors, while Goldridge soil is known for its distinct minerality.

 
   
 

— Sustainable Farming —

Viticulture is labor-intensive agriculture, due to the uses and expenses of water, energy, and natural vulnerability factors from weather. These issues set the stage for vineyardists, who constantly react to changes. With today’s technological advantages, viticulturists have more tools than ever. Great wine grapes come from low-vigor vines that have well-draining soils, are grown in a temperate climate, and have well thought-out viticultural practices.

 
   
 

— Weather Analysis —

Climate often gets neglected in discussions about terroir, but wine grapes grow in a specific environment. Flavors and all ripening characteristics of the fruit are linked to their habitat. The most important factor is temperature; both daytime and nighttime temperatures play a key role. Different varieties respond differently to varied climates, which is why unique varieties are grown in specific regions, due to climate and soil.

 
   
 

— Vineyard Management —

Vineyard managers know that at the end of each day, if a job isn’t done correctly, it’s not out of the question to return to the vineyard and finish it.

— The Grape Vine —

The entire life cycle of each harvest begins in the tiny buds, waiting for the correct temperatures to begin their life cycle. With an electron microscope, all parts of the plant’s upcoming growth cycle could be seen, including how many leaves and clusters there will be. Life for each season begins in the bud.

When the temperature is perfect for growth, the bud emerges during “bud break.” Canes emerge, with leaves, clusters, and tendrils. In wine grape growing, a carefully structured trellis system supports the long, slender canes. Along with the vine’s trunk, these canes also support the weight of the growing vine. Clusters are positioned to take advantage of the sun’s position, and the right amount of leaves are allowed on the vine for shade.

Moisture is another important ingredient and a godsend for grape vines. When marine air is coming into a region, in late afternoon to early evening, it creates a persistent fog in early morning. This is what really makes a difference in the climate, and ultimately contributes to the delicious flavors of the grapes grown in any area with coastal influences.

While wine grape growing is an important first step, it is just the beginning. Next week, in Chapter Two, harvest time will bring you to the next exciting stage of winemaking.

— Upcoming Chapters —

  • Chapter 2: The Art of Harvest
  • Chapter 3: The Art of Winemaking
  • Chapter 4: The Art of Cellar Aging
  • Chapter 5: The Art of Enjoying White Wine
  • Chapter 6: The Art of Enjoying Red Wine
  • Chapter 7: The Art of Personal Storage
 
     

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