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Copyright © 2016
by Fred McMillin
for May 16, 2000
A Large Lab...
4.5 Million Square Feet
More than 100 acres [about 4.5 million square feet]
of the Byron Estate vineyard in the cradle of the
Santa Maria Valley are dedicated to research in
clone selection, rootstock selection, trellis types
and spacing of vines....[As a result] character and concentration
of the wine is increasing.
Byron "Ken" Brown
The Rest of the Story
Let's consider one of the experiments, vine
spacing. Ken points out that California has
used wide spacing to make harvesting grapes easier.
However, planting vines closer together forces
competition for nourishment, fewer and smaller
grapes, and more explosive aromas and flavors
in the wine. Ken has Pinot Noir plots with three
to five times more vines per acre than is common
Can We Ordinary Folks Taste the Results?
The students study 40 wines in each course Edgar
Vogt and I teach at S.F. City College, Ft. Mason
Campus. They always select a Best of Course
bottle, which usually is a Cabernet Sauvignon
from Sonoma or Napa. But this last time, Ken's
Pinot Noir won. Over half of its grapes came
from the "high-vine-density lab!" Clearly, the
students could taste the results of the research.
We believe you can, too. So, try our...
Wine of the Day
1996 Byron Vineyard Pinot Noir
Byron Vineyard & Winery
Appellation—Santa Maria Valley
Composition—100% Pinot Noir
Tasting—Jeff Cox in the Wine Journal has the
right words for this wine. "When all the conditions
are just right, California coast Pinot Noir
can pay off with the loveliest, most sensuous,
luscious and elegant wines IN THE WORLD."
Food Suggestions—Rack of lamb, rack of lamb,
rack of lamb!
Contacts: The Winery—(805) 937-7288, FAX (805) 937-1246
Public Relations—Mary Ann Vangrin, (707) 251-4483, FAX (707) 251-4386
Postscript —Gently, Gently
The Byron policy is to not rough up the wine by
mechanical agitation...no filtering, minimum
pumping, etc. The winery achieved a new level
of tender, loving care with this 1996 vintage.
That was the year they inaugurated their new
Gravity-Flow winery. The grapes are sorted by
hand at the top level, and ultimately the wine
emerges from the bottom level, rarely having to
face a hostile pump.
|| About the
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history
for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine
courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College.
In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred
with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded
to American wine writers.
This page created May 2000