Spring 2019 Newsletter
February 5th, 2019
New Year, New Vintage
The promise of a new year, and the impending start to the new growing season lights a spark for us here in the Santa Lucia Highlands. We took a little downtime to enjoy moments with family over the holidays, recover from a successful 2018 harvest, and to appreciate the recognition received for our 2016 vintage. Now it’s February, and we thrilled to offer you the first release of a vintage we are very proud of.
The 2017 growing season was smooth with consistent foggy mornings, bright sunny days, and brisk afternoon winds rushing down from the Monterey Bay. The season took an unusual twist with a rare heat spike on Labor Day weekend. This quickly drove the fruit to full maturity and kicked harvest into high gear. Careful vineyard management and precision irrigation paid off in this circumstance. After long nights of harvest, we were pleased with the quality of the grapes once they reached the winery.
Our 2017 Pinot Noirs are rich and vibrant, with permeating aromas of ripe red fruits. The wines sport lively tannins, accented with a pleasingly bright acidity on the finish. We hope you’ll find this vintage on par with our best.
Four Generations of Family Farming
While ROAR Wines was created by Gary and Rosella, now both of their sons, Adam and Nick, are working full-time in family winery and farming operations. Adam has transitioned from the winery side and into the vineyards, and Nick is now working with winemaker Scott Shapley in the winery. Together the brothers are discovering new passions, and bringing a fresh vision to ROAR.
“It’s incredibly special to have both our boys working the land that’s been part of our family for more than a hundred years,” says Gary. “Nick and Adam are the fourth generation to live and farm in the Santa Lucia Highlands.”
Adam spends his time on the ranch alongside Gary, immersing himself in the family’s vineyard, lemon, and avocado farming operations. One of his most exciting projects includes experimenting with a small Pinot Noir block, interplanted with many different clones—a French practice he is utilizing to develop more complexity and diversity in the wine. With Gary, he navigates the variables that affect crop supply and demand, as well as labor and farming regulations.
Nick is applying his creative talents to the new ROAR winery focusing on new ideas for customer engagement. He is also supporting operations at the new winery, streamlining processes, and researching the latest cellar equipment as we continually strive for higher quality. You will also see the fruits of his efforts in our fresh newsletter redesign, a forthcoming harvest video, and some special packaging options that we can’t wait to reveal.
Vineyard Focus: Stunning Sierra Mar
Even though Rosella’s Vineyard is our home, Sierra Mar has quickly become our crown jewel.
The southernmost of our family-owned vineyards, Sierra Mar is elevated at 1,100 feet. Often above the morning fog, it is kissed by sunlight during the morning hours and offers stunning views of the valley below. The vines enjoy slightly warmer days, but cooler nights. This leads to an earlier bud break and harvest, along with darker fruit profiles.
Before planting it to vine, Sierra Mar was a dry-farmed cattle ranch. It is a remote site, requiring a steep and windy drive up a cliffside to reach it. For three years, sagebrush had to be cleared from the rugged topography, which includes multiple valleys and two to three-acre ridges.
In order to bring irrigation to this vineyard, Gary painstakingly drilled a well. Starting the project in 2007, it took three stages to complete, with over five miles of pipeline installed. Water is now pumped upward over 1,000 feet to quench the land when necessary.
Since 2007, we have planted five varietals here, with specific clones and rootstocks to suit the diverse microclimates at Sierra Mar. Each is well adapted to the gravelly soils and high-elevation of the eight unique mesas that sit atop these steep fingers that extend from the Santa Lucia mountains into the Salinas Valley.
The wines from Sierra Mar typically give us the essence of dark berries and tart jam with a lush, velvety mouth-feel and distinctive notes of spice. Now approaching twelve years of age, the vineyard is showing its maturity in new depths of flavor.
Our Spring Release
Our Spring 2019 release will reveal the signature richness and verve that signify our Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards. We hope you enjoy the wines. Please share your feedback with us via email and social media accounts. We love to hear from you. We wish you a happy and healthy year ahead.
Gary, Rosella, Adam, Tamara & Nick