“The most under-appreciated aspect of winemaking is adaptability. Just as there are no two stones alike, there are no two grapes or harvests that are the same.”
Oceano Wines’ philosophy starts with an uncompromising commitment to quality. With the wine industry background of the principal, Rachel Martin, we were able to quickly integrate our philosophies in order to create something that is both unique and enjoyable.
For my personal winemaking approach of “sculpting” — as opposed to the traditional “painting” approach — the first step is to pick the stone. In winemaking, it starts with the vineyard site. Spanish Springs Vineyard affords us the opportunity to harness this site’s unique qualities, ones that are often lost in blends and AVAs. This gives us a great springboard. And just as with different stones, differing varietal selections, called clones, have unique characteristics. So, choosing the right clone goes a long way toward capturing those qualities.
The next step is to understand the grapes and then choose the winemaking tools or “chisel,” if you will, to highlight what sets apart the site. For example, with chardonnay, capturing and maintaining the exceptional natural acidity in the fruit from this vineyard requires the gentlest press and pressing cycle so we don’t extract harsh phenolics and excessive oxidation. With pinot noir, in order to capture the delicate floral and red fruit aromas, precise fermentation-temperature control and sensitive cap-management techniques are crucial.
The last, and I believe most under-appreciated, ingredient is adaptability. Just as there are no two stones alike, there are no two grapes or harvests that are the same. Every vintage imparts its own characteristics, and "tools” that worked in prior vintages may not work in others. Hence, I do not believe in formula winemaking or the adage of “best.” For example, there is no “best” barrel, but there is a most suitable barrel for any particular style. Furthermore, the timing of change is critical. The later the change is made, the less impactful it will be on the resulting wine. The ability to understand what the wine style is is primary, but the ability to adjust the plan to capture the delicate aroma and flavor compounds takes foresight, instinct, technical understanding and experience.
With this approach, Oceano Wines, will confidently reflect the best the vintage and site has to offer each year.
~ Marbue Marke, Winemaker