In the Beginning
Well here is the first attempt at letting folks know who we are and what we have been up to at Loma Seca Vineyards. How does one start? Certainly not at the beginning, that would take forever. By the way, in case you are asking, Loma Seca translates from Spanish to “Dry Hill”. Which is what we were faced with when we planted the vineyard in 2011. And it is largely still true, as we do not irrigate the grape vines, but rather depend upon the moisture deposited in the soil during the winter rains to nourish the plants all summer long. We are excited to report that our new building is now standing on the property. It looks great, thanks to Nuno and company here in Paso. They did a nice job putting it up.
That said, it is awaiting a new photovoltaic system to supply electricity. We are off the grid, totally! The plan is to make this the winery/tasting area. So, stay tuned. The view from the building patio area is what I would call spectacular. Looking to the west, down the valley, one sees the beautiful Santa Lucia range separating us from the cool coast. To the south, across Adelaida Rd, one looks directly at Daou’s vineyard and winery. And to the east is the Salinas river and valley. Despite being only six miles or so from town, the vineyard just seems so isolated and tranquil. Its surrounded by oak forests and steep hillsides, so the wildlife is abundant. We see lots of deer, Tule elk, coyotes, wild, pigs. And even bob cats and mountain lions on occasion. Hawks, falcons, golden eagles and the ubiquitous buzzards are often flying overhead. And this time of year there are plenty of small bids, all enjoying their fill of grapes.
We have been making wine since 2013 from estate grapes but this year will be our first year making wine commercially, as in we can sell it! We are planning on crushing about two tons each of Primitivo, Petite Sirah, and Cabernet Sauvignon. We think these three grapes give us a great starting point for some very drinkable red blends. Each can also stand on their own as a single variety. So, we will see how it all works out.
Our vineyard normally is one of the earliest in the Paso Robles AVA to harvest red grapes, due to the dry framing methods and relatively warm dry weather we have on top of the ridge. This year is no exception as we started picking the Primitivo the first week of September. This is pretty much in line with last year except the first grape to be picked was Syrah. The Syrah and a portion of the Garnacha Tinta was picked last week.
The others, including the Petite Sirah, Cab, and especially the Mourvèdre are at least a week away. The quality of the fruit looks great, with excellent color, even the Garnacha. Flavors are all coming along as well. Nothing compares to the flavor of dry farmed wine grapes. And all the varieties are showing good acid, which is very typical of this vineyard. The grapes really hold onto the acid due to the high calcium content of the soil. This is what allows the wines to retain their freshness, even in the face of high sugar. We make decisions on when to pick based upon several factors, including the sugar content (Brix), the pH, the titratable acidity (TA), seed color and feel, but most importantly the taste of the fruit.