"In winemaking, as with “sculpting,” with every decision, you lose something that you will not gain back. Understanding what is being lost leads me into my active winemaking approach, “precision” winemaking."
Oceano Wines’ philosophy starts with an uncompromising commitment to quality. With the wine industry background of the principal, Rachel Martin, this project was not a learning exercise. It is an approach to create something that is both unique and enjoyable.
With my personal winemaking approach of “sculpting” as opposed to the traditional winemaking “painting” approach, the next step will be to pick the stone. In winemaking, it starts with the site. With Spanish Springs Vineyard, the opportunity to harness the site’s unique qualities that are usually lost in larger blends or different styles due to the lack of specific AVA gives us a great springboard. And as with stones, in the vineyard, differing varietal selections, called clones, have unique characteristic. So choosing the right clone goes a long way toward capturing those unique qualities.
The next step is to understand the grapes and choose the winemaking tools or “chisel,” if you will, to highlight uniqueness in the site. For example, capturing and maintaining the exceptional natural acidity requires the technologically advanced Wilmes Sigma press and the patience to accommodate a five hour press cycle to get juice below 1 Bar. The tools in winemaking include timing of pick, process, temperature, yeasts, nutrients, barrels, aging time and release date.
In winemaking, as with “sculpting,” with every decision, you lose something that you will not gain back. Understanding what is being lost leads me into my active winemaking approach, “precision” winemaking. Continuing with the example from above, it will be not losing the “body” of the wine while only using low yield juice and maintaining crisp acidity all the way through bottling and with all the decisions along the way.
The last, and I believe most underappreciated, ingredient is adaptability. As there are no two stones alike, there are no two grapes or harvests that are the same. Every vintage brings unique characteristics and tools that worked in prior vintages but may not work in others. Hence, I do not believe in formula winemaking or the adage of “best” in winemaking. For example, there is no “best” barrel, but there is the most suited barrel for that particular style. Furthermore, the timing of change is critical, the later the change, the less impactful it will be. The ability to understand what the style is is primary but the ability 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