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Vinograd Tablas Creek

Vinograd Tablas Creek



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Sorte i mješavine Rhône koje proizvodi Tablas Creek u Paso Roblesu dosljedno su neka od najboljih vina proizvedenih na tom području. Za razliku od mnogih vina s ovih prostora, uvijek su lijepo izbalansirana i pružaju pravi dojam sorte i terroira. Alkoholi su uglavnom u rasponu od 13 posto, što čuva čistoću i ravnotežu voća. Kušam i pijem ova vina već nekoliko godina i nikad ne prestaju pružati veliko zadovoljstvo i užitak. Ispod je uvod u Tablas Creek preuzet iz mog prvog članka, nakon bilješki o nekim zadivljujućim novim izdanjima.

Pozadina

Vinograd Tablas Creek partnerstvo je obitelji Perrin, vlasnika Château Beaucastel u Châteauneuf du Pape, i Roberta Haasa, osnivača Vineyard Brands, kao većinskih partnera te prijatelja iz Francuske i Amerike kao manjinskih partnera. Potraga za vinogradarskim mjestom za uzgoj sorti Rhône započela je 1987. godine, a 1989. godine su kupili parcelu od 120 jutara u West Paso Robles nekih 12 milja od Tihog oceana. Ovdje su stijena i vapnenačko tlo istog geološkog podrijetla kao u Beaucastelu, a klima je također slična. Rezultat je grožđe koje potpuno sazrijeva, ali zadržava hrskavu kiselost. Reznice vinove loze uvezene su iz Beaucastela kako bi ponovile klonsku selekciju i osigurale kvalitetu i genetski izvor. Reznice vinove loze stigle su 1990., a sadnja je započela nekoliko godina kasnije. Prvo vino proizvedeno je 1997. Proizvodnja, što se tiče količine i broja proizvedenih vina, od tada se stalno povećava. Danas je sadnja završena i sastoji se od dvije trećine crvenih sorti: mouvedre, grenache noir, syrah, tannat i counoise, te jedne trećine bijelih sorti: roussanne, marsanne, viognier, picpoul blanc i grenache blanc. Višestoljetna tradicija Châteauneuf du Pape slijedi se miješanjem sorti za proizvodnju vina jedinstvenog stila i složenosti. Koncept miješanja različitih sorti za proizvodnju vina jedan je za koji sam uvijek vjerovao da će u Kaliforniji napraviti bolja vina. Postoji samo nekoliko iznimki od tog uvjerenja, a one bi uključivale burgundske sorte, chardonnay i pinot crni.

Tablas Creek posvećen je ostvarivanju svog cilja uravnoteženih, skladnih vina, ali jedno je dosljedno kroz sve novije berbe: vina imaju ljupko voće, skladna su i uravnotežena. Neki zahtijevaju starenje, drugi su namijenjeni mladoj konzumaciji. Ovo je vrlo dobar trend, i takav je kakav bi trebao biti. Kliknite ovdje da biste pročitali nedavni članak s Tablas Creekom.

Bilješke o kušanju

Informacije o berbama 2012. i 2013. u Tablas Creeku, kao i bilješke o kušanju šest novih izdanja prikazane su u nastavku. Ovo su zaista zadivljujuća vina koja ne smijete propustiti. Privlačne su cijene i vrlo su osebujni u usporedbi s poznatijim kalifornijskim sortama. Također su prilagođene hrani, uravnotežene i jednostavno ukusne za piće! Vina su dostupna putem odabranih prodajnih mjesta i izravno iz vinarije kroz njihova tri različita vinska kluba (za više informacija o vinskim klubovima kliknite ovdje). Potičem vas da probate ova vina Tablas Creek Vineyards. Oni su uistinu posebni.

Berba 2012 -Berba 2012. bila je klasična berba Paso Roblesa, topla i sunčana, ali s natprosječnim prinosima zahvaljujući prosječnim zimskim padalinama i usjevu iz 2011. zbog smanjenog mraza. Unatoč toplom ljetu, sazrijevanje je usporeno zbog zdravih razina usjeva, a berba u normalno vrijeme počinje početkom rujna i završava krajem listopada…. Vina su napredna i imaju mnogo rane privlačnosti, a trebala bi i lijepo odležati.

Berba 2013: Berba 2013. bila je najranija u povijesti Tablas Creeka. Ubrzali su ga niski prinosi od druge uzastopne sušne godine i stalno toplo ljeto bez skokova topline ili hladnih dijelova koji mogu odgoditi sazrijevanje. Rezultat je uspješnica, s izvrsnom koncentracijom, profinjenim taninima i dobrom svježinom; berba koja bi trebala biti impresivna i pristupačna mladima, ali s nadjevom u godinama.

Dolje navedena vina kušala su se nekoliko dana. Lijepo su se razvili i postali još izražajniji, osobito crveni. Vina su sada ukusna za piće, ali će se čuvati i duže vrijeme.

2013. Vinograd Tablas Creek Patelin de Tablas Blanc, SRP $20

Ovo vino je napravljeno od 54 posto grenache blanc, 25 posto viognier, 13 posto roussanne, 8 posto marsanne. Grožđe je dobiveno iz 11 vinograda u stilu Paso-Robles u Rhôni.

Proizvodnja je 3.200 kutija.

Svijetložute boje, vino ima ljupki parfem s cvjetnim bostanima s vrlo čistim voćem koje daje naznake dinje, citrusa i breskve. Ukusno, zaobljeno i podatno s nijansama dinje i citrusa, ovo je zaista ljupko vino s puno rane privlačnosti; Izvanredno.

2013. Tablas Creek Vineyard Côtes de Tablas Blanc Estate Bottled, SRP $27

Ovo vino je napravljeno od 39 posto viogniera, 29 posto grenache blanc-a, 20 posto marsane i 12 posto roussanne grožđa uzgojenog na imanju. Proizvodnja je 1.250 kutija.

Svijetložute boje vino ima ljupki parfem s primjesama dinje, jabuke i kruške s vrlo slabim začinima. Zaobljena je i podatna s velikom elegancijom, finoćom i suptilnim notama kruške i citrusa. Prekrasno uravnoteženo, ovo je ukusno vino; Izvanredno.

2012. Vinograd Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas Blanc, SRP $45

Ovo vino je napravljeno od 3 sorte uzgojene na imanju i 75 posto je roussanne, 20 % blanc grenache i 5 % picpoul blanc. Proizvodnja je 2.465 kutija.

Svijetložute zlatne boje, vino ima prekrasan cvjetni parfem s primjesama dinje i kruške te daškom začina i citrusa. Bujna je i zaokružena s prekrasnim okusima koji isprepliću krušku i dinju s lijepom temeljnom nijansom citrusa. Vrlo stilski i lijepo uravnoteženo, ovo je jedinstveno vino s velikim karakterom i privlačnošću. Može se uživati ​​sada ili se čuvati desetljeće ili više; Izvanredan Plus.

2012 Tablas Creek Vineyard Roussanne, $35

Proizvedeno od 100 % posjeda uzgojene roussanne, proizvodnja ovog vina je samo 800 kutija.

2012. je 12. punjenje ovog vina u Tablas Creeku. To je ozbiljno bijelo vino koje može odležati više od desetljeća i s vremenom će postati sve složenije. Svijetložute zlatne boje, ova roussanne ima blago medeni parfem s primjesama dinje, jabuke i kruške, s poljupcem citrusa i začina. Bujna je i zaokružena s mednom nijansom i bezbroj aroma bijelog voća koje pokazuju blagu cvjetnu notu i primjese marelice, citrusa i začina. Prekrasno izbalansirano, ovo se vino zaista otvara s malo zraka i najbolje se dekantira prije posluživanja. Ovo je odličan pokazatelj sposobnosti vina da odleži; Izvanredan Plus.

2012. Vinograd Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas, SRP $35

Ovo je vino napravljeno od četiri sorte uzgojene na imanju: 60 posto grenachea, 25 % syrah, 10 % counoise i 5 % mourvèdre. Proizvodnja je 2.600 kutija.

Ova berba 2012. je omamljujuće vino s 14,5 posto alkohola, ali je puno i bogato, a da nije teško. Tamne boje ima sjajan parfem šljiva s blagom egzotičnom notom i cvjetnim nijansama začina. Profil okusa je bezbroj crnih plodova naglašenih začinima i lijepom temeljnom hrskavošću. Zaobljena i podatna, ispod nje se nalazi struktura mekih tanina koja će se s godinama sve više zaokruživati. Pijte sada s pretakanjem ili starenjem dugi niz godina; Izvanredan Plus.

2012 Tablas Creek Vineyard Mourvèdre, SRP $40

Napravljen od 100 posto mourvèdrea uzgojenog na imanju, ovo je deveto sortno punjenje ovog vina. Proizvodnja je samo 100 komada.

Duboke boje, vino ima ljupki parfem crnog voća s cvjetnim nijansama s blago dimljenom nijansom i primjesama začina i nane. Strukturiran s čvrstom okosnicom, ima složen okus crvenog i crnog voća pomiješanog s primjesama začina, dima i metvice. Sa zrakom vino omekšava i razvija lijepu zaobljenost koju nadopunjuje temeljna hrskavost. Pijte sada s pretakanjem ili držite 10 ili više godina; Izvanredan Plus.

Opet, ovo je uistinu jedinstvena skupina vina. Ako niste probali vina Tablas Creek, ovo je odlično mjesto za početak. A ako znate vina Tablas Creek, svakako ih ne propustite!

Čitati "Vinograd Tablas Creek”U članku Underground Wine Letter.


Upoznajte Wooly Weeders, preslatke heroje kalifornijskog vina

Neki se vinogradi oslanjaju na ovce kako bi otkorili, pokosili i oplodili svoju imovinu - i održali sve dobre volje.

Kad je prije tri godine stigao u vinariju Ram & aposs Gate, Joe Nielsen našao se na googlanju neobičnog pitanja: "Mogu li iznajmiti ovce?"

Ovo se može činiti kao čudan zahtjev za glavnog vinara, ali ako danas posjetite vinariju Sonoma, sve to ima smisla. To je & aposs proljeće, što znači da se stotine ovaca ponovno brčkaju, jedu, baaah-ing i kakaju na Ram & aposs Gate & aposs imanju od 150 jutara.

Upoznajte & quotwooly weeders & quot; lutajući ovčarski bend koji pomaže kalifornijskim vinarijama u ekološkom uzgoju, uređenju okoliša, održavanju terena i zaštiti od požara.  

U rano proljeće kose, plijeve i gnoje vinograde, što vinogradarima štedi vrijeme i novac, a ujedno smanjuje rad i smanjuje utjecaj na okoliš. Početkom ljeta ovce jedu mlado lišće vinove loze, čisteći put za više sunčeve svjetlosti i zraka do grožđa, što pomaže u sprječavanju plijesni i plijesni, a potiče ujednačeno sazrijevanje i duboku aromu.  

Oni stvaraju protupožarne zaštite kako bi zaštitili imanja prije sezone požara i žvaću invazivne biljke na ugarima, dajući autohtonim vrstama više prostora za disanje.

Kao dodatnu korist, ovce donose čistu, nepatvorenu radost djelatnicima vinograda i kupcima.

& quot; Jedne godine, bili smo na Mjesecu od sreće & aposOh, bože, ovo je tako zabavno gledati & quot; rekao je Nielsen. & quotSada smo & aposre u trećoj godini, i još uvijek se osjećamo & praznim blagdanom kad ovce stignu. & quot

Vuneni korov pripada Donu i Carolyn Watson, koji su svoje vrijeme podijelili između Kalifornije i Kolorada. Nakon što mu je najbolji prijatelj sredinom 1980-ih umro od raka, Don Watson, danas 63-godišnjak, ponovno je procijenio svoje prioritete i svoj životni cilj. Napustio je posao računovođe u San Franciscu, a mladi par se na godinu dana preselio u Australiju i na Novi Zeland, gdje su naučili stočarstvo.

Kad su se vratili, nastanili su se u dolini Napa i počeli stvarati vlastito stado. U početku, Watsons je restoranima u Sjevernoj Kaliforniji opskrbljivao janjetinu s otvorenim mlijekom, hranjenu mlijekom, ali je slučajna pojava ubrzo dodala neočekivani izvor prihoda.

Mi ih jako, jako volimo. Dobro je za okoliš, dobro je za grožđe, dobro je za vinovu lozu, dobro je za sve. "

Jednog dana 1991. godine njihove su ovce zalutale u obližnji vinograd u vlasništvu Roberta Mondavija, pionira vinara u dolini Napa. Zbunjen svojim ponašanjem stada i aposa i užasnut mogućom štetom koju su ovce nanijele, Don Watson je preuzeo dva iskasapljena janjca kako bi se popravila. Nekoliko dana kasnije, međutim, nazvao je upravitelj vinograda i pitao ga može li vratiti ovce. Pokazalo se da su bili izvrsni korovi i gnojiva za vinograd.

I tako je započeo novi pothvat Watsons & apos. Danas se njihovo stado sastoji od 2.500 ovaca i više od 3.000 janjadi. Krajem veljače i početkom ožujka ovce počinju na američkom vinogradarskom području Carneros, gnječući korov i pokrivajući usjeve koji rastu među vinovom lozom chardonnay i pinot noir.  

Kad počnu izlaziti sitni pupoljci, ovce kreću prema sjeveru u vinograde u kojima rastu merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc i druge sorte Bordeaux, koje malo kasnije dosežu pupoljak. (Ovce imaju pronicljivo nepce: obožavaju cvjetove gorušice, raž i rotkvice te će pojesti novi rast ako im se ukaže prilika.)

Koristeći ovce, vinogradi se oslanjaju na uzgoj starih škola i prirodne prakse upravljanja zemljištem koje su bile norma prije pojave visokotehnoloških strojeva i kemikalija. Nadaju se da će i oni koji piju vino osjetiti povratak u jednostavnija vremena u krajnjem proizvodu.

"Hvaljenje životinja oduvijek je bilo dio travnjaka, a ovo je samo pojačanje te prirodne aktivnosti", rekao je Don Watson. & quotI ono što vinogradi uvijek pokušavaju učiniti je razviti nijansu, jedinstven karakter i okus u svojim vinima. Jedan od načina za to je poboljšati nagib i prehranu tla kako bi se iz vinskog grožđa dobili optimalni okusi. Mi igramo ulogu u tom teroru. & Quot

Dok neki vinogradi privremeno stavljaju ovce na platni spisak, drugi ih drže punim radnim vremenom. Vinograd Tablas Creek, organski vinograd u Paso Roblesu, specijaliziran za sorte Rhone, ima više od 250 ovaca, plus stalni pastir, magarci, lame, alpake, psi čuvari i psi čuvari koji će se brinuti o njima.

"Imamo 270 hektara posjeda i ovce sve to napasaju", rekao je Jason Haas, Tablas Creek i glavni direktor i partner apossa. & quotOko 100 su puzavice ili hrastove šume, gdje čiste podmorje i smanjuju rizik od požara. Ostalih 170 su vinogradi ili vinogradi koji će uskoro postati vinogradi, a oni godišnje izgrađuju ta tla. & Quot

Osim što su fotogenične, što je blagodat za marketinške napore vinarija, ovce također podržavaju njihove ciljeve održivosti. Uzgajivači mogu smanjiti upotrebu sintetičkih herbicida —ili ih potpuno ukloniti —i proći manje prolaza s traktorima i poljoprivrednom mehanizacijom, čime se smanjuje emisija stakleničkih plinova. (Traktori se također zaglave u blatu tijekom kišne sezone u Kaliforniji i aposu, dok ovce nemaju problema s kretanjem u ljepljivim situacijama.) Njihov izmet služi kao prirodno gnojivo bez kemikalija.

"Sve je to međusobno povezano", rekao je Tom Gendall, vinar za Cline Cellars i Jacuzzi Family Vineyards na sjevernoj obali, koji imaju koristi od vunenih korova Watsons & apos. & quotZaista ih volimo. To je & aposs dobro za okoliš, it & aposs dobro za grožđe, & & aposs dobro za vinovu lozu, & & aposs dobro za sve. & Quot


Upoznajte Wooly Weeders, preslatke heroje kalifornijskog vina

Neki se vinogradi oslanjaju na ovce kako bi otkorili, pokosili i oplodili svoju imovinu - i održali sve dobre volje.

Kad je prije tri godine stigao u vinariju Ram & aposs Gate, Joe Nielsen našao se na googlanju neobičnog pitanja: "Mogu li iznajmiti ovce?"

Ovo se može činiti čudnim zahtjevom za glavnog vinara, ali ako danas posjetite vinariju Sonoma, sve to ima smisla. To je & aposs proljeće, što znači da se stotine ovaca ponovno brčkaju, jedu, baaah-ing i kakaju na Ram & aposs Gate & aposs imanju od 150 jutara.

Upoznajte & quotwooly weeders & quot; lutajući ovčarski bend koji pomaže kalifornijskim vinarijama u ekološkom uzgoju, uređenju okoliša, održavanju terena i zaštiti od požara.  

U rano proljeće kose, plijeve i gnoje vinograde, što vinogradarima štedi vrijeme i novac, a ujedno smanjuje rad i smanjuje utjecaj na okoliš. Početkom ljeta ovce jedu mlado lišće vinove loze, čisteći put za više sunčeve svjetlosti i zraka do grožđa, što pomaže u sprječavanju plijesni i plijesni, a potiče ujednačeno sazrijevanje i duboku aromu.  

Oni stvaraju protupožarne zaštite kako bi zaštitili imanja prije sezone požara i žvaću invazivne biljke na ugarima, dajući autohtonim vrstama više prostora za disanje.

Kao dodatnu korist, ovce donose čistu, nepatvorenu radost djelatnicima vinograda i kupcima.

& quot; Jedne godine, bili smo na Mjesecu od sreće & aposOh, bože, ovo je tako zabavno gledati & quot ;, rekao je Nielsen. & quotSada smo & aposre u trećoj godini, i još uvijek se osjećamo & praznim blagdanom kad ovce stignu. & quot

Vuneni korov pripada Donu i Carolyn Watson, koji su svoje vrijeme podijelili između Kalifornije i Kolorada. Nakon što mu je najbolji prijatelj sredinom 1980-ih umro od raka, Don Watson, danas 63-godišnjak, ponovno je procijenio svoje prioritete i svoj životni cilj. Napustio je posao računovođe u San Franciscu, a mladi par se na godinu dana preselio u Australiju i na Novi Zeland, gdje su naučili stočarstvo.

Kad su se vratili, nastanili su se u dolini Napa i počeli stvarati vlastito stado. U početku, Watsons je restoranima u Sjevernoj Kaliforniji opskrbljivao janjetinu s otvorenim mlijekom, hranjenu mlijekom, ali je slučajna pojava ubrzo dodala neočekivani izvor prihoda.

Mi ih jako, jako volimo. Dobro je za okoliš, dobro je za grožđe, dobro je za vinovu lozu, dobro je za sve. "

Jednog dana 1991. godine njihove su ovce zalutale u obližnji vinograd u vlasništvu Roberta Mondavija, pionira vinara u dolini Napa. Zbunjen svojim ponašanjem stada i aposa i užasnut mogućom štetom koju su ovce nanijele, Don Watson je preuzeo dva iskasapljena janjca kako bi se popravila. Nekoliko dana kasnije, međutim, nazvao je upravitelj vinograda i pitao ga može li vratiti ovce. Pokazalo se da su bili izvrsni korovi i gnojiva za vinograd.

I tako je započeo novi pothvat Watsons & apos. Danas se njihovo stado sastoji od 2.500 ovaca i više od 3.000 janjadi. Krajem veljače i početkom ožujka ovce počinju na američkom vinogradarskom području Carneros, gnječući korov i pokrivajući usjeve koji rastu među vinovom lozom chardonnay i pinot noir.  

Kad počnu izlaziti mali pupoljci, ovce kreću prema sjeveru u vinograde u kojima rastu merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc i druge sorte Bordeaux, koje malo kasnije dosežu pupoljke. (Ovce imaju pronicljivo nepce: obožavaju cvjetove gorušice, raž i rotkvice te će pojesti novi rast ako im se ukaže prilika.)

Koristeći ovce, vinogradi se oslanjaju na uzgoj starih škola i prirodne prakse upravljanja zemljištem koje su bile norma prije pojave visokotehnoloških strojeva i kemikalija. Nadaju se da će i oni koji piju vino osjetiti povratak u jednostavnija vremena u krajnjem proizvodu.

"Hvaljenje životinja oduvijek je bilo dio travnjaka, a ovo je samo pojačanje te prirodne aktivnosti", rekao je Don Watson. & quotI ono što vinogradi uvijek pokušavaju učiniti je razviti nijansu, jedinstven karakter i okus u svojim vinima. Jedan od načina za to je poboljšati nagib i prehranu tla kako bi se iz vinskog grožđa dobili optimalni okusi. Mi igramo ulogu u tom teroru. & Quot

Dok neki vinogradi privremeno stavljaju ovce na platni spisak, drugi ih drže punim radnim vremenom. Vinograd Tablas Creek, organski vinograd u Paso Roblesu, specijaliziran za sorte Rhone, ima više od 250 ovaca, plus stalni pastir, magarci, lame, alpake, psi čuvari i psi čuvari koji će se brinuti o njima.

"Imamo 270 hektara imanja i ovce sve to napasaju", rekao je Jason Haas, Tablas Creek i generalni direktor i partner. & quotOko 100 su puzavice ili hrastove šume, gdje čiste podmorje i smanjuju rizik od požara. Ostalih 170 su vinogradi ili vinogradi koji će uskoro postati vinogradi, a oni godišnje izgrađuju ta tla. & Quot

Osim što su fotogenične, što je blagodat za marketinške napore vinarija, ovce također podržavaju njihove ciljeve održivosti. Uzgajivači mogu smanjiti upotrebu sintetičkih herbicida —ili ih potpuno ukloniti —i proći manje prolaza s traktorima i poljoprivrednom mehanizacijom, čime se smanjuje emisija stakleničkih plinova. (Traktori se također zaglave u blatu tijekom kišne sezone u Kaliforniji i aposu, dok ovce nemaju problema s kretanjem u ljepljivim situacijama.) Njihov izmet služi kao prirodno gnojivo bez kemikalija.

"Sve je to međusobno povezano", rekao je Tom Gendall, vinar za Cline Cellars i Jacuzzi Family Vineyards na sjevernoj obali, koji imaju koristi od vunene trave Watsons & apos. & quotZaista ih volimo. To je & aposs dobro za okoliš, it & aposs dobro za grožđe, & & aposs dobro za vinovu lozu, & & aposs dobro za sve. & Quot


Upoznajte Wooly Weeders, preslatke heroje kalifornijskog vina

Neki se vinogradi oslanjaju na ovce kako bi otkorili, pokosili i oplodili svoju imovinu - i održali sve dobre volje.

Kad je prije tri godine stigao u vinariju Ram & aposs Gate, Joe Nielsen našao se na googlanju neobičnog pitanja: & quotMogu li iznajmiti ovce? & Quot

Ovo se može činiti čudnim zahtjevom za glavnog vinara, ali ako danas posjetite vinariju Sonoma, sve to ima smisla. To & aposs proljeće, što znači da se stotine ovaca ponovno brčkaju, jedu, baaah-ing i kakaju na Ram & aposs Gate & aposs imanju od 150 jutara.

Upoznajte & quotwooly weeders & quot; lutajući ovčarski bend koji pomaže kalifornijskim vinarijama u ekološkom uzgoju, uređenju okoliša, održavanju terena i zaštiti od požara.  

U rano proljeće kose, plijeve i gnoje vinograde, što vinogradarima štedi vrijeme i novac, a ujedno smanjuje rad i smanjuje utjecaj na okoliš. Početkom ljeta ovce jedu mlado lišće vinove loze, čisteći put za više sunčeve svjetlosti i zraka do grožđa, što pomaže u sprječavanju plijesni i plijesni, a potiče ujednačeno sazrijevanje i duboku aromu.  

Oni stvaraju protupožarne zaštite kako bi zaštitili imanja prije sezone požara i žvaću invazivne biljke na ugarima, dajući autohtonim vrstama više prostora za disanje.

Kao dodatnu korist, ovce donose čistu, nepatvorenu radost djelatnicima vinograda i kupcima.

& quot; Jedne godine, bili smo na Mjesecu od sreće & aposOh, bože, ovo je tako zabavno gledati & quot ;, rekao je Nielsen. & quotSada smo & aposre u trećoj godini, i još uvijek se osjećamo & praznim blagdanom kad ovce stignu. & quot

Vuneni korov pripada Donu i Carolyn Watson, koji su svoje vrijeme podijelili između Kalifornije i Kolorada. Nakon što mu je najbolji prijatelj sredinom 1980-ih umro od raka, Don Watson, danas 63-godišnjak, ponovno je procijenio svoje prioritete i svoj životni cilj. Napustio je posao računovođe u San Franciscu, a mladi par se na godinu dana preselio u Australiju i na Novi Zeland, gdje su naučili stočarstvo.

Kad su se vratili, nastanili su se u dolini Napa i počeli stvarati vlastito stado. U početku, Watsons je restoranima u Sjevernoj Kaliforniji opskrbljivao janjetinu s otvorenim mlijekom, hranjenu mlijekom, ali je slučajna pojava ubrzo dodala neočekivani izvor prihoda.

Mi ih jako, jako volimo. Dobro je za okoliš, dobro je za grožđe, dobro je za vinovu lozu, dobro je za sve. "

Jednog dana 1991. godine njihove su ovce zalutale u obližnji vinograd u vlasništvu Roberta Mondavija, pionira vinara u dolini Napa. Zbunjen svojim ponašanjem stada i aposa i užasnut mogućom štetom koju su ovce nanijele, Don Watson je preuzeo dva iskasapljena janjca kako bi se popravila. Nekoliko dana kasnije, međutim, nazvao je upravitelj vinograda i pitao ga može li vratiti ovce. Pokazalo se da su bili izvrsni korovi i gnojiva za vinograd.

I tako je započeo novi pothvat Watsons & apos. Danas se njihovo stado sastoji od 2.500 ovaca i više od 3.000 janjadi. Krajem veljače i početkom ožujka ovce počinju na američkom vinogradarskom području Carneros, gnječući korov i pokrivajući usjeve koji rastu među vinovom lozom chardonnay i pinot noir.  

Kad počnu izlaziti mali pupoljci, ovce kreću prema sjeveru u vinograde u kojima rastu merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc i druge sorte Bordeaux, koje malo kasnije dosežu pupoljke. (Ovce imaju pronicljivo nepce: obožavaju cvjetove gorušice, raž i rotkvice te će pojesti novi rast ako im se ukaže prilika.)

Koristeći ovce, vinogradi se oslanjaju na uzgoj starih škola i prirodne prakse upravljanja zemljištem koje su bile norma prije pojave visokotehnoloških strojeva i kemikalija. Nadaju se da će i oni koji piju vino osjetiti povratak u jednostavnija vremena u krajnjem proizvodu.

"Hvaljenje životinja oduvijek je bilo dio travnjaka, a ovo je samo pojačanje te prirodne aktivnosti", rekao je Don Watson. & quotI ono što vinogradi uvijek pokušavaju učiniti je razviti nijansu, jedinstven karakter i okus u svojim vinima. Jedan od načina za to je poboljšati nagib i prehranu tla kako bi se iz vinskog grožđa dobili optimalni okusi. Mi igramo ulogu u tom teroru. & Quot

Dok neki vinogradi privremeno stavljaju ovce na platni spisak, drugi ih drže punim radnim vremenom. Vinograd Tablas Creek, organski vinograd u Paso Roblesu, specijaliziran za sorte Rhone, ima više od 250 ovaca, plus stalni pastir, magarci, lame, alpake, psi čuvari i psi čuvari koji će se brinuti o njima.

"Imamo 270 hektara imanja i ovce sve to napasaju", rekao je Jason Haas, Tablas Creek i generalni direktor i partner. & quotOko 100 su puzavice ili hrastove šume, gdje čiste podmorje i smanjuju rizik od požara. Ostalih 170 su vinogradi ili vinogradi koji će uskoro postati vinogradi, a oni godišnje izgrađuju ta tla. & Quot

Osim što su fotogenične, što je blagodat za marketinške napore vinarija, ovce također podržavaju njihove ciljeve održivosti. Uzgajivači mogu smanjiti uporabu sintetičkih herbicida —ili ih potpuno ukloniti —i proći manje prolaza s traktorima i poljoprivrednom mehanizacijom, čime se smanjuje emisija stakleničkih plinova. (Traktori se također zaglave u blatu tijekom kišne sezone u Kaliforniji i aposu, dok ovce nemaju problema s kretanjem u ljepljivim situacijama.) Njihov izmet služi kao prirodno gnojivo bez kemikalija.

"Sve je to međusobno povezano", rekao je Tom Gendall, vinar za Cline Cellars i Jacuzzi Family Vineyards na sjevernoj obali, koji imaju koristi od vunene trave Watsons & apos. & quotZaista ih jako volimo. To je & aposs dobro za okoliš, it & aposs dobro za grožđe, & & aposs dobro za vinovu lozu, & & aposs dobro za sve. & Quot


Upoznajte Wooly Weeders, preslatke heroje kalifornijskog vina

Neki se vinogradi oslanjaju na ovce kako bi otkorili, pokosili i oplodili svoju imovinu - i održali sve dobre volje.

Kad je prije tri godine stigao u vinariju Ram & aposs Gate, Joe Nielsen našao se na googlanju neobičnog pitanja: "Mogu li iznajmiti ovce?"

Ovo se može činiti čudnim zahtjevom za glavnog vinara, ali ako danas posjetite vinariju Sonoma, sve to ima smisla. To je & aposs proljeće, što znači da se stotine ovaca ponovno brčkaju, jedu, baaah-ing i kakaju na Ram & aposs Gate & aposs imanju od 150 jutara.

Upoznajte & quotwooly weeders & quot; lutajući ovčarski bend koji pomaže kalifornijskim vinarijama u ekološkom uzgoju, uređenju okoliša, održavanju terena i zaštiti od požara.  

U rano proljeće kose, plijeve i gnoje vinograde, što vinogradarima štedi vrijeme i novac, a ujedno smanjuje rad i smanjuje utjecaj na okoliš. Početkom ljeta ovce jedu mlado lišće vinove loze, čisteći put za više sunčeve svjetlosti i zraka do grožđa, što pomaže u sprječavanju plijesni i plijesni, a potiče ujednačeno sazrijevanje i duboku aromu.  

Oni stvaraju protupožarne zaštite kako bi zaštitili imanja prije sezone požara i žvaću invazivne biljke na ugarima, dajući autohtonim vrstama više prostora za disanje.

Kao dodatnu korist, ovce donose čistu, nepatvorenu radost djelatnicima vinograda i kupcima.

& quot; Jedne godine, bili smo na Mjesecu od sreće & aposOh, bože, ovo je tako zabavno gledati & quot ;, rekao je Nielsen. & quotSada smo & aposre u trećoj godini, i još uvijek se osjećamo & praznim blagdanom kad ovce stignu. & quot

Vuneni korov pripada Donu i Carolyn Watson, koji su svoje vrijeme podijelili između Kalifornije i Kolorada. Nakon što mu je najbolji prijatelj sredinom 1980-ih umro od raka, Don Watson, danas 63-godišnjak, ponovno je procijenio svoje prioritete i svoj životni cilj. Napustio je posao računovođe u San Franciscu, a mladi par se na godinu dana preselio u Australiju i na Novi Zeland, gdje su naučili stočarstvo.

Kad su se vratili, nastanili su se u dolini Napa i počeli stvarati vlastito stado. U početku, Watsons je restoranima u Sjevernoj Kaliforniji opskrbljivao janjetinu s otvorenim mlijekom, hranjenu mlijekom, ali je slučajna pojava ubrzo dodala neočekivani izvor prihoda.

Mi ih jako, jako volimo. Dobro je za okoliš, dobro je za grožđe, dobro je za vinovu lozu, dobro je za sve. "

Jednog dana 1991. godine njihove su ovce zalutale u obližnji vinograd u vlasništvu Roberta Mondavija, pionira vinara u dolini Napa. Zbunjen svojim ponašanjem stada i aposa i užasnut mogućom štetom koju su ovce nanijele, Don Watson je preuzeo dva iskasapljena janjca kako bi se popravila. Nekoliko dana kasnije, međutim, nazvao je upravitelj vinograda i pitao ga može li vratiti ovce. Pokazalo se da su bili izvrsni korovi i gnojiva za vinograd.

I tako je započeo novi pothvat Watsons & apos. Danas se njihovo stado sastoji od 2.500 ovaca i više od 3.000 janjadi. Krajem veljače i početkom ožujka ovce počinju na američkom vinogradarskom području Carneros, gnječući korov i pokrivajući usjeve koji rastu među vinovom lozom chardonnay i pinot noir.  

Kad počnu izlaziti sitni pupoljci, ovce kreću prema sjeveru u vinograde u kojima rastu merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc i druge sorte Bordeaux, koje malo kasnije dosežu pupoljak. (Ovce imaju pronicljivo nepce: obožavaju cvjetove gorušice, raž i rotkvice te će pojesti novi rast ako im se ukaže prilika.)

Koristeći ovce, vinogradi se oslanjaju na uzgoj starih škola i prirodne prakse upravljanja zemljištem koje su bile norma prije pojave visokotehnoloških strojeva i kemikalija. Nadaju se da će i oni koji piju vino osjetiti povratak u jednostavnija vremena u krajnjem proizvodu.

"Hvaljenje životinja oduvijek je bilo dio travnjaka, a ovo je samo poboljšanje te prirodne aktivnosti", rekao je Don Watson. & quotI ono što vinogradi uvijek pokušavaju učiniti je razviti nijansu, jedinstven karakter i okus u svojim vinima. Jedan od načina za to je poboljšati nagib i prehranu tla kako bi se iz vinskog grožđa dobili optimalni okusi. Mi igramo ulogu u tom teroru. & Quot

Dok neki vinogradi privremeno stavljaju ovce na platni spisak, drugi ih drže punim radnim vremenom. Vinograd Tablas Creek, organski vinograd u Paso Roblesu, specijaliziran za sorte Rhone, ima više od 250 ovaca, plus stalni pastir, magarci, lame, alpake, psi čuvari i psi čuvari koji će se brinuti o njima.

"Imamo 270 hektara imanja i ovce sve to napasaju", rekao je Jason Haas, Tablas Creek i generalni direktor i partner. & quotOko 100 su puzavice ili hrastove šume, gdje čiste podmorje i smanjuju rizik od požara. Ostalih 170 su vinogradi ili vinogradi koji će uskoro postati vinogradi, a oni godišnje izgrađuju ta tla. & Quot

Osim što su fotogenične, što je blagodat za marketinške napore vinarija, ovce također podržavaju njihove ciljeve održivosti. Uzgajivači mogu smanjiti uporabu sintetičkih herbicida —ili ih potpuno ukloniti —i proći manje prolaza s traktorima i poljoprivrednom mehanizacijom, čime se smanjuje emisija stakleničkih plinova. (Traktori se također zaglave u blatu tijekom kišne sezone u Kaliforniji i aposu, dok ovce nemaju problema s kretanjem u ljepljivim situacijama.) Njihov izmet služi kao prirodno gnojivo bez kemikalija.

"It&aposs all interconnected," said Tom Gendall, winemaker for Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in the North Coast, which benefit from the Watsons&apos wooly weeders. "We really, really love them. It&aposs good for the environment, it&aposs good for the grapes, it&aposs good for the vines, it&aposs good for everything."


Meet the Wooly Weeders, the Adorable Heroes of California Wine

Some vineyards rely on sheep to weed, mow, and fertilize their property—and keep everyone in good spirits.

When he arrived at Ram&aposs Gate Winery three years ago, Joe Nielsen found himself googling an unusual question: "Can I rent sheep?"

This may seem like a strange request for a head winemaker, but if you visit the Sonoma winery today, it all makes perfect sense. It&aposs spring, which means hundreds of sheep are once again frolicking, eating, baaah-ing, and pooping on Ram&aposs Gate&aposs 150-acre property.

Meet the "wooly weeders," a roving band of sheep that helps California wineries with eco-friendly farming, landscaping, grounds maintenance, and fire protection. 

In early spring, they mow, weed, and fertilize the vineyards, which saves grape-growers time and money while also reducing the operation&aposs environmental footprint. In early summer, sheep eat the vines&apos young leaves, clearing the way for more sunlight and air to reach the grapes, which helps prevent mold and mildew while promoting even ripening and deep flavor. 

They create firebreaks to help protect properties ahead of wildfire season and munch on invasive plants in fallow fields, giving native species more breathing room.

As an added benefit, the sheep also bring pure, unadulterated joy to vineyard staffers and customers.

"Year one, we were over the moon with happiness, &aposOh my gosh, this is so fun to watch,&apos" said Nielsen. "Now we&aposre in year three, and it still feels like it&aposs a holiday when the sheep arrive."

The wooly weeders belong to Don and Carolyn Watson, who split their time between California and Colorado. After his best friend died of cancer in the mid-1980s, Don Watson, now 63, re-evaluated his priorities and his life&aposs purpose. He quit his job as an accountant in San Francisco, and the young couple moved to Australia and New Zealand for a year, where they learned sheep husbandry.

When they returned, they settled in Napa Valley and began building up their own herd. Initially, the Watsons supplied open-range, milk-fed lamb to Northern California restaurants, but a chance occurrence soon added an unexpected revenue stream.

We really, really love them. It's good for the environment, it's good for the grapes, it's good for the vines, it's good for everything."

One day in 1991, their sheep wandered into a nearby vineyard owned by Robert Mondavi, the pioneering Napa Valley winemaker. Embarrassed at his flock&aposs behavior and horrified by the potential damage the sheep caused, Don Watson took over two butchered lambs to make amends. A few days later, however, the vineyard manager called and asked if he could bring the sheep back. As it turned out, they were great weeders and fertilizers for the vineyard.

And so began the Watsons&apos new venture. Today, their flock consists of 2,500 ewes and more than 3,000 lambs. In late February and early March, the sheep start in the Carneros American Viticultural Area, munching down the weeds and cover crops that grow among the chardonnay and pinot noir grapevines. 

When tiny buds begin to emerge, the sheep head north to vineyards growing merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and other Bordeaux varietals, which reach bud-break a little later. (The sheep have discerning palates: They love mustard blossoms, rye, and radishes, and will eat the new growth if given the chance.)

By using sheep, vineyards are drawing on old-school farming and natural land-management practices that were the norm before the advent of high-tech machinery and chemicals. They hope wine-drinkers can taste this return to simpler times in the end product, too.

"Grazing animals have always been a part of the grasslands, and this is just an enhancement of that natural activity," said Don Watson. "And what vineyards are always trying to do is develop nuance, a unique character and flavor in their wines. One way to do it is to enhance the tilth and nutrition of the soil to get the optimal flavors out of the wine grapes. We play a role in that terroir."

While some vineyards put sheep on the payroll temporarily, others keep them on full-time. Tablas Creek Vineyard, an organic vineyard in Paso Robles specializing in Rhone varietals, has more than 250 sheep, plus a full-time shepherd, donkeys, a llama, alpacas, herding dogs, and guard dogs to help take care of them.

"We have 270 acres of property and the sheep graze all of it," said Jason Haas, Tablas Creek&aposs general manager and partner. "About 100 are creekbed or oak forest, where they clear out the understory and reduce our fire risk. The other 170 are vineyards or soon-to-be-vineyard, and they&aposre building up those soils annually."

In addition to being photogenic, which is a boon to wineries&apos marketing efforts, sheep also support their sustainability goals. Growers can reduce their use of synthetic herbicides—or eliminate them entirely𠅊nd make fewer passes with tractors and farm machinery, thus lowering greenhouse gas emissions. (Tractors also get stuck in the mud during California&aposs rainy season, whereas sheep have no trouble navigating sticky situations.) Their droppings serve as a natural, chemical-free fertilizer.

"It&aposs all interconnected," said Tom Gendall, winemaker for Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in the North Coast, which benefit from the Watsons&apos wooly weeders. "We really, really love them. It&aposs good for the environment, it&aposs good for the grapes, it&aposs good for the vines, it&aposs good for everything."


Meet the Wooly Weeders, the Adorable Heroes of California Wine

Some vineyards rely on sheep to weed, mow, and fertilize their property—and keep everyone in good spirits.

When he arrived at Ram&aposs Gate Winery three years ago, Joe Nielsen found himself googling an unusual question: "Can I rent sheep?"

This may seem like a strange request for a head winemaker, but if you visit the Sonoma winery today, it all makes perfect sense. It&aposs spring, which means hundreds of sheep are once again frolicking, eating, baaah-ing, and pooping on Ram&aposs Gate&aposs 150-acre property.

Meet the "wooly weeders," a roving band of sheep that helps California wineries with eco-friendly farming, landscaping, grounds maintenance, and fire protection. 

In early spring, they mow, weed, and fertilize the vineyards, which saves grape-growers time and money while also reducing the operation&aposs environmental footprint. In early summer, sheep eat the vines&apos young leaves, clearing the way for more sunlight and air to reach the grapes, which helps prevent mold and mildew while promoting even ripening and deep flavor. 

They create firebreaks to help protect properties ahead of wildfire season and munch on invasive plants in fallow fields, giving native species more breathing room.

As an added benefit, the sheep also bring pure, unadulterated joy to vineyard staffers and customers.

"Year one, we were over the moon with happiness, &aposOh my gosh, this is so fun to watch,&apos" said Nielsen. "Now we&aposre in year three, and it still feels like it&aposs a holiday when the sheep arrive."

The wooly weeders belong to Don and Carolyn Watson, who split their time between California and Colorado. After his best friend died of cancer in the mid-1980s, Don Watson, now 63, re-evaluated his priorities and his life&aposs purpose. He quit his job as an accountant in San Francisco, and the young couple moved to Australia and New Zealand for a year, where they learned sheep husbandry.

When they returned, they settled in Napa Valley and began building up their own herd. Initially, the Watsons supplied open-range, milk-fed lamb to Northern California restaurants, but a chance occurrence soon added an unexpected revenue stream.

We really, really love them. It's good for the environment, it's good for the grapes, it's good for the vines, it's good for everything."

One day in 1991, their sheep wandered into a nearby vineyard owned by Robert Mondavi, the pioneering Napa Valley winemaker. Embarrassed at his flock&aposs behavior and horrified by the potential damage the sheep caused, Don Watson took over two butchered lambs to make amends. A few days later, however, the vineyard manager called and asked if he could bring the sheep back. As it turned out, they were great weeders and fertilizers for the vineyard.

And so began the Watsons&apos new venture. Today, their flock consists of 2,500 ewes and more than 3,000 lambs. In late February and early March, the sheep start in the Carneros American Viticultural Area, munching down the weeds and cover crops that grow among the chardonnay and pinot noir grapevines. 

When tiny buds begin to emerge, the sheep head north to vineyards growing merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and other Bordeaux varietals, which reach bud-break a little later. (The sheep have discerning palates: They love mustard blossoms, rye, and radishes, and will eat the new growth if given the chance.)

By using sheep, vineyards are drawing on old-school farming and natural land-management practices that were the norm before the advent of high-tech machinery and chemicals. They hope wine-drinkers can taste this return to simpler times in the end product, too.

"Grazing animals have always been a part of the grasslands, and this is just an enhancement of that natural activity," said Don Watson. "And what vineyards are always trying to do is develop nuance, a unique character and flavor in their wines. One way to do it is to enhance the tilth and nutrition of the soil to get the optimal flavors out of the wine grapes. We play a role in that terroir."

While some vineyards put sheep on the payroll temporarily, others keep them on full-time. Tablas Creek Vineyard, an organic vineyard in Paso Robles specializing in Rhone varietals, has more than 250 sheep, plus a full-time shepherd, donkeys, a llama, alpacas, herding dogs, and guard dogs to help take care of them.

"We have 270 acres of property and the sheep graze all of it," said Jason Haas, Tablas Creek&aposs general manager and partner. "About 100 are creekbed or oak forest, where they clear out the understory and reduce our fire risk. The other 170 are vineyards or soon-to-be-vineyard, and they&aposre building up those soils annually."

In addition to being photogenic, which is a boon to wineries&apos marketing efforts, sheep also support their sustainability goals. Growers can reduce their use of synthetic herbicides—or eliminate them entirely𠅊nd make fewer passes with tractors and farm machinery, thus lowering greenhouse gas emissions. (Tractors also get stuck in the mud during California&aposs rainy season, whereas sheep have no trouble navigating sticky situations.) Their droppings serve as a natural, chemical-free fertilizer.

"It&aposs all interconnected," said Tom Gendall, winemaker for Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in the North Coast, which benefit from the Watsons&apos wooly weeders. "We really, really love them. It&aposs good for the environment, it&aposs good for the grapes, it&aposs good for the vines, it&aposs good for everything."


Meet the Wooly Weeders, the Adorable Heroes of California Wine

Some vineyards rely on sheep to weed, mow, and fertilize their property—and keep everyone in good spirits.

When he arrived at Ram&aposs Gate Winery three years ago, Joe Nielsen found himself googling an unusual question: "Can I rent sheep?"

This may seem like a strange request for a head winemaker, but if you visit the Sonoma winery today, it all makes perfect sense. It&aposs spring, which means hundreds of sheep are once again frolicking, eating, baaah-ing, and pooping on Ram&aposs Gate&aposs 150-acre property.

Meet the "wooly weeders," a roving band of sheep that helps California wineries with eco-friendly farming, landscaping, grounds maintenance, and fire protection. 

In early spring, they mow, weed, and fertilize the vineyards, which saves grape-growers time and money while also reducing the operation&aposs environmental footprint. In early summer, sheep eat the vines&apos young leaves, clearing the way for more sunlight and air to reach the grapes, which helps prevent mold and mildew while promoting even ripening and deep flavor. 

They create firebreaks to help protect properties ahead of wildfire season and munch on invasive plants in fallow fields, giving native species more breathing room.

As an added benefit, the sheep also bring pure, unadulterated joy to vineyard staffers and customers.

"Year one, we were over the moon with happiness, &aposOh my gosh, this is so fun to watch,&apos" said Nielsen. "Now we&aposre in year three, and it still feels like it&aposs a holiday when the sheep arrive."

The wooly weeders belong to Don and Carolyn Watson, who split their time between California and Colorado. After his best friend died of cancer in the mid-1980s, Don Watson, now 63, re-evaluated his priorities and his life&aposs purpose. He quit his job as an accountant in San Francisco, and the young couple moved to Australia and New Zealand for a year, where they learned sheep husbandry.

When they returned, they settled in Napa Valley and began building up their own herd. Initially, the Watsons supplied open-range, milk-fed lamb to Northern California restaurants, but a chance occurrence soon added an unexpected revenue stream.

We really, really love them. It's good for the environment, it's good for the grapes, it's good for the vines, it's good for everything."

One day in 1991, their sheep wandered into a nearby vineyard owned by Robert Mondavi, the pioneering Napa Valley winemaker. Embarrassed at his flock&aposs behavior and horrified by the potential damage the sheep caused, Don Watson took over two butchered lambs to make amends. A few days later, however, the vineyard manager called and asked if he could bring the sheep back. As it turned out, they were great weeders and fertilizers for the vineyard.

And so began the Watsons&apos new venture. Today, their flock consists of 2,500 ewes and more than 3,000 lambs. In late February and early March, the sheep start in the Carneros American Viticultural Area, munching down the weeds and cover crops that grow among the chardonnay and pinot noir grapevines. 

When tiny buds begin to emerge, the sheep head north to vineyards growing merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and other Bordeaux varietals, which reach bud-break a little later. (The sheep have discerning palates: They love mustard blossoms, rye, and radishes, and will eat the new growth if given the chance.)

By using sheep, vineyards are drawing on old-school farming and natural land-management practices that were the norm before the advent of high-tech machinery and chemicals. They hope wine-drinkers can taste this return to simpler times in the end product, too.

"Grazing animals have always been a part of the grasslands, and this is just an enhancement of that natural activity," said Don Watson. "And what vineyards are always trying to do is develop nuance, a unique character and flavor in their wines. One way to do it is to enhance the tilth and nutrition of the soil to get the optimal flavors out of the wine grapes. We play a role in that terroir."

While some vineyards put sheep on the payroll temporarily, others keep them on full-time. Tablas Creek Vineyard, an organic vineyard in Paso Robles specializing in Rhone varietals, has more than 250 sheep, plus a full-time shepherd, donkeys, a llama, alpacas, herding dogs, and guard dogs to help take care of them.

"We have 270 acres of property and the sheep graze all of it," said Jason Haas, Tablas Creek&aposs general manager and partner. "About 100 are creekbed or oak forest, where they clear out the understory and reduce our fire risk. The other 170 are vineyards or soon-to-be-vineyard, and they&aposre building up those soils annually."

In addition to being photogenic, which is a boon to wineries&apos marketing efforts, sheep also support their sustainability goals. Growers can reduce their use of synthetic herbicides—or eliminate them entirely𠅊nd make fewer passes with tractors and farm machinery, thus lowering greenhouse gas emissions. (Tractors also get stuck in the mud during California&aposs rainy season, whereas sheep have no trouble navigating sticky situations.) Their droppings serve as a natural, chemical-free fertilizer.

"It&aposs all interconnected," said Tom Gendall, winemaker for Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in the North Coast, which benefit from the Watsons&apos wooly weeders. "We really, really love them. It&aposs good for the environment, it&aposs good for the grapes, it&aposs good for the vines, it&aposs good for everything."


Meet the Wooly Weeders, the Adorable Heroes of California Wine

Some vineyards rely on sheep to weed, mow, and fertilize their property—and keep everyone in good spirits.

When he arrived at Ram&aposs Gate Winery three years ago, Joe Nielsen found himself googling an unusual question: "Can I rent sheep?"

This may seem like a strange request for a head winemaker, but if you visit the Sonoma winery today, it all makes perfect sense. It&aposs spring, which means hundreds of sheep are once again frolicking, eating, baaah-ing, and pooping on Ram&aposs Gate&aposs 150-acre property.

Meet the "wooly weeders," a roving band of sheep that helps California wineries with eco-friendly farming, landscaping, grounds maintenance, and fire protection. 

In early spring, they mow, weed, and fertilize the vineyards, which saves grape-growers time and money while also reducing the operation&aposs environmental footprint. In early summer, sheep eat the vines&apos young leaves, clearing the way for more sunlight and air to reach the grapes, which helps prevent mold and mildew while promoting even ripening and deep flavor. 

They create firebreaks to help protect properties ahead of wildfire season and munch on invasive plants in fallow fields, giving native species more breathing room.

As an added benefit, the sheep also bring pure, unadulterated joy to vineyard staffers and customers.

"Year one, we were over the moon with happiness, &aposOh my gosh, this is so fun to watch,&apos" said Nielsen. "Now we&aposre in year three, and it still feels like it&aposs a holiday when the sheep arrive."

The wooly weeders belong to Don and Carolyn Watson, who split their time between California and Colorado. After his best friend died of cancer in the mid-1980s, Don Watson, now 63, re-evaluated his priorities and his life&aposs purpose. He quit his job as an accountant in San Francisco, and the young couple moved to Australia and New Zealand for a year, where they learned sheep husbandry.

When they returned, they settled in Napa Valley and began building up their own herd. Initially, the Watsons supplied open-range, milk-fed lamb to Northern California restaurants, but a chance occurrence soon added an unexpected revenue stream.

We really, really love them. It's good for the environment, it's good for the grapes, it's good for the vines, it's good for everything."

One day in 1991, their sheep wandered into a nearby vineyard owned by Robert Mondavi, the pioneering Napa Valley winemaker. Embarrassed at his flock&aposs behavior and horrified by the potential damage the sheep caused, Don Watson took over two butchered lambs to make amends. A few days later, however, the vineyard manager called and asked if he could bring the sheep back. As it turned out, they were great weeders and fertilizers for the vineyard.

And so began the Watsons&apos new venture. Today, their flock consists of 2,500 ewes and more than 3,000 lambs. In late February and early March, the sheep start in the Carneros American Viticultural Area, munching down the weeds and cover crops that grow among the chardonnay and pinot noir grapevines. 

When tiny buds begin to emerge, the sheep head north to vineyards growing merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and other Bordeaux varietals, which reach bud-break a little later. (The sheep have discerning palates: They love mustard blossoms, rye, and radishes, and will eat the new growth if given the chance.)

By using sheep, vineyards are drawing on old-school farming and natural land-management practices that were the norm before the advent of high-tech machinery and chemicals. They hope wine-drinkers can taste this return to simpler times in the end product, too.

"Grazing animals have always been a part of the grasslands, and this is just an enhancement of that natural activity," said Don Watson. "And what vineyards are always trying to do is develop nuance, a unique character and flavor in their wines. One way to do it is to enhance the tilth and nutrition of the soil to get the optimal flavors out of the wine grapes. We play a role in that terroir."

While some vineyards put sheep on the payroll temporarily, others keep them on full-time. Tablas Creek Vineyard, an organic vineyard in Paso Robles specializing in Rhone varietals, has more than 250 sheep, plus a full-time shepherd, donkeys, a llama, alpacas, herding dogs, and guard dogs to help take care of them.

"We have 270 acres of property and the sheep graze all of it," said Jason Haas, Tablas Creek&aposs general manager and partner. "About 100 are creekbed or oak forest, where they clear out the understory and reduce our fire risk. The other 170 are vineyards or soon-to-be-vineyard, and they&aposre building up those soils annually."

In addition to being photogenic, which is a boon to wineries&apos marketing efforts, sheep also support their sustainability goals. Growers can reduce their use of synthetic herbicides—or eliminate them entirely𠅊nd make fewer passes with tractors and farm machinery, thus lowering greenhouse gas emissions. (Tractors also get stuck in the mud during California&aposs rainy season, whereas sheep have no trouble navigating sticky situations.) Their droppings serve as a natural, chemical-free fertilizer.

"It&aposs all interconnected," said Tom Gendall, winemaker for Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in the North Coast, which benefit from the Watsons&apos wooly weeders. "We really, really love them. It&aposs good for the environment, it&aposs good for the grapes, it&aposs good for the vines, it&aposs good for everything."


Meet the Wooly Weeders, the Adorable Heroes of California Wine

Some vineyards rely on sheep to weed, mow, and fertilize their property—and keep everyone in good spirits.

When he arrived at Ram&aposs Gate Winery three years ago, Joe Nielsen found himself googling an unusual question: "Can I rent sheep?"

This may seem like a strange request for a head winemaker, but if you visit the Sonoma winery today, it all makes perfect sense. It&aposs spring, which means hundreds of sheep are once again frolicking, eating, baaah-ing, and pooping on Ram&aposs Gate&aposs 150-acre property.

Meet the "wooly weeders," a roving band of sheep that helps California wineries with eco-friendly farming, landscaping, grounds maintenance, and fire protection. 

In early spring, they mow, weed, and fertilize the vineyards, which saves grape-growers time and money while also reducing the operation&aposs environmental footprint. In early summer, sheep eat the vines&apos young leaves, clearing the way for more sunlight and air to reach the grapes, which helps prevent mold and mildew while promoting even ripening and deep flavor. 

They create firebreaks to help protect properties ahead of wildfire season and munch on invasive plants in fallow fields, giving native species more breathing room.

As an added benefit, the sheep also bring pure, unadulterated joy to vineyard staffers and customers.

"Year one, we were over the moon with happiness, &aposOh my gosh, this is so fun to watch,&apos" said Nielsen. "Now we&aposre in year three, and it still feels like it&aposs a holiday when the sheep arrive."

The wooly weeders belong to Don and Carolyn Watson, who split their time between California and Colorado. After his best friend died of cancer in the mid-1980s, Don Watson, now 63, re-evaluated his priorities and his life&aposs purpose. He quit his job as an accountant in San Francisco, and the young couple moved to Australia and New Zealand for a year, where they learned sheep husbandry.

When they returned, they settled in Napa Valley and began building up their own herd. Initially, the Watsons supplied open-range, milk-fed lamb to Northern California restaurants, but a chance occurrence soon added an unexpected revenue stream.

We really, really love them. It's good for the environment, it's good for the grapes, it's good for the vines, it's good for everything."

One day in 1991, their sheep wandered into a nearby vineyard owned by Robert Mondavi, the pioneering Napa Valley winemaker. Embarrassed at his flock&aposs behavior and horrified by the potential damage the sheep caused, Don Watson took over two butchered lambs to make amends. A few days later, however, the vineyard manager called and asked if he could bring the sheep back. As it turned out, they were great weeders and fertilizers for the vineyard.

And so began the Watsons&apos new venture. Today, their flock consists of 2,500 ewes and more than 3,000 lambs. In late February and early March, the sheep start in the Carneros American Viticultural Area, munching down the weeds and cover crops that grow among the chardonnay and pinot noir grapevines. 

When tiny buds begin to emerge, the sheep head north to vineyards growing merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and other Bordeaux varietals, which reach bud-break a little later. (The sheep have discerning palates: They love mustard blossoms, rye, and radishes, and will eat the new growth if given the chance.)

By using sheep, vineyards are drawing on old-school farming and natural land-management practices that were the norm before the advent of high-tech machinery and chemicals. They hope wine-drinkers can taste this return to simpler times in the end product, too.

"Grazing animals have always been a part of the grasslands, and this is just an enhancement of that natural activity," said Don Watson. "And what vineyards are always trying to do is develop nuance, a unique character and flavor in their wines. One way to do it is to enhance the tilth and nutrition of the soil to get the optimal flavors out of the wine grapes. We play a role in that terroir."

While some vineyards put sheep on the payroll temporarily, others keep them on full-time. Tablas Creek Vineyard, an organic vineyard in Paso Robles specializing in Rhone varietals, has more than 250 sheep, plus a full-time shepherd, donkeys, a llama, alpacas, herding dogs, and guard dogs to help take care of them.

"We have 270 acres of property and the sheep graze all of it," said Jason Haas, Tablas Creek&aposs general manager and partner. "About 100 are creekbed or oak forest, where they clear out the understory and reduce our fire risk. The other 170 are vineyards or soon-to-be-vineyard, and they&aposre building up those soils annually."

In addition to being photogenic, which is a boon to wineries&apos marketing efforts, sheep also support their sustainability goals. Growers can reduce their use of synthetic herbicides—or eliminate them entirely𠅊nd make fewer passes with tractors and farm machinery, thus lowering greenhouse gas emissions. (Tractors also get stuck in the mud during California&aposs rainy season, whereas sheep have no trouble navigating sticky situations.) Their droppings serve as a natural, chemical-free fertilizer.

"It&aposs all interconnected," said Tom Gendall, winemaker for Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in the North Coast, which benefit from the Watsons&apos wooly weeders. "We really, really love them. It&aposs good for the environment, it&aposs good for the grapes, it&aposs good for the vines, it&aposs good for everything."


Meet the Wooly Weeders, the Adorable Heroes of California Wine

Some vineyards rely on sheep to weed, mow, and fertilize their property—and keep everyone in good spirits.

When he arrived at Ram&aposs Gate Winery three years ago, Joe Nielsen found himself googling an unusual question: "Can I rent sheep?"

This may seem like a strange request for a head winemaker, but if you visit the Sonoma winery today, it all makes perfect sense. It&aposs spring, which means hundreds of sheep are once again frolicking, eating, baaah-ing, and pooping on Ram&aposs Gate&aposs 150-acre property.

Meet the "wooly weeders," a roving band of sheep that helps California wineries with eco-friendly farming, landscaping, grounds maintenance, and fire protection. 

In early spring, they mow, weed, and fertilize the vineyards, which saves grape-growers time and money while also reducing the operation&aposs environmental footprint. In early summer, sheep eat the vines&apos young leaves, clearing the way for more sunlight and air to reach the grapes, which helps prevent mold and mildew while promoting even ripening and deep flavor. 

They create firebreaks to help protect properties ahead of wildfire season and munch on invasive plants in fallow fields, giving native species more breathing room.

As an added benefit, the sheep also bring pure, unadulterated joy to vineyard staffers and customers.

"Year one, we were over the moon with happiness, &aposOh my gosh, this is so fun to watch,&apos" said Nielsen. "Now we&aposre in year three, and it still feels like it&aposs a holiday when the sheep arrive."

The wooly weeders belong to Don and Carolyn Watson, who split their time between California and Colorado. After his best friend died of cancer in the mid-1980s, Don Watson, now 63, re-evaluated his priorities and his life&aposs purpose. He quit his job as an accountant in San Francisco, and the young couple moved to Australia and New Zealand for a year, where they learned sheep husbandry.

When they returned, they settled in Napa Valley and began building up their own herd. Initially, the Watsons supplied open-range, milk-fed lamb to Northern California restaurants, but a chance occurrence soon added an unexpected revenue stream.

We really, really love them. It's good for the environment, it's good for the grapes, it's good for the vines, it's good for everything."

One day in 1991, their sheep wandered into a nearby vineyard owned by Robert Mondavi, the pioneering Napa Valley winemaker. Embarrassed at his flock&aposs behavior and horrified by the potential damage the sheep caused, Don Watson took over two butchered lambs to make amends. A few days later, however, the vineyard manager called and asked if he could bring the sheep back. As it turned out, they were great weeders and fertilizers for the vineyard.

And so began the Watsons&apos new venture. Today, their flock consists of 2,500 ewes and more than 3,000 lambs. In late February and early March, the sheep start in the Carneros American Viticultural Area, munching down the weeds and cover crops that grow among the chardonnay and pinot noir grapevines. 

When tiny buds begin to emerge, the sheep head north to vineyards growing merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and other Bordeaux varietals, which reach bud-break a little later. (The sheep have discerning palates: They love mustard blossoms, rye, and radishes, and will eat the new growth if given the chance.)

By using sheep, vineyards are drawing on old-school farming and natural land-management practices that were the norm before the advent of high-tech machinery and chemicals. They hope wine-drinkers can taste this return to simpler times in the end product, too.

"Grazing animals have always been a part of the grasslands, and this is just an enhancement of that natural activity," said Don Watson. "And what vineyards are always trying to do is develop nuance, a unique character and flavor in their wines. One way to do it is to enhance the tilth and nutrition of the soil to get the optimal flavors out of the wine grapes. We play a role in that terroir."

While some vineyards put sheep on the payroll temporarily, others keep them on full-time. Tablas Creek Vineyard, an organic vineyard in Paso Robles specializing in Rhone varietals, has more than 250 sheep, plus a full-time shepherd, donkeys, a llama, alpacas, herding dogs, and guard dogs to help take care of them.

"We have 270 acres of property and the sheep graze all of it," said Jason Haas, Tablas Creek&aposs general manager and partner. "About 100 are creekbed or oak forest, where they clear out the understory and reduce our fire risk. The other 170 are vineyards or soon-to-be-vineyard, and they&aposre building up those soils annually."

In addition to being photogenic, which is a boon to wineries&apos marketing efforts, sheep also support their sustainability goals. Growers can reduce their use of synthetic herbicides—or eliminate them entirely𠅊nd make fewer passes with tractors and farm machinery, thus lowering greenhouse gas emissions. (Tractors also get stuck in the mud during California&aposs rainy season, whereas sheep have no trouble navigating sticky situations.) Their droppings serve as a natural, chemical-free fertilizer.

"It&aposs all interconnected," said Tom Gendall, winemaker for Cline Cellars and Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in the North Coast, which benefit from the Watsons&apos wooly weeders. "We really, really love them. It&aposs good for the environment, it&aposs good for the grapes, it&aposs good for the vines, it&aposs good for everything."


Gledaj video: The Esprit De Tablas Story - In the Words of Robert Haas (Kolovoz 2022).