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Jalama Vineyard is 3 miles southwest of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA and slightly less than 5 miles southwest from the Cargasacchi Vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills.

Nearer to the coast, Jalama is outside the boundaries of both the Santa Ynez Valley and the Sta. Rita Hills AVAs and thus falls within the larger Santa Barbara County AVA.

The soils at Jalama are similar to those of the Cargasacchi Vineyard, as they are also comprised of well-drained calcareous clays with high levels of free lime. Please read Peter's in-depth explanation of the factors influencing the vineyard below.

Most of the Pinot Noir from this vineyard also goes to fellow winemakers, and only a small portion is reserved for Cargasacchi wines. Following are some observations from our winery clients:

Peter tailors his farming techniques to the needs of each individual vintage and does his best to ensure that his grapes represent the various terroirs that are present in his 450 acre property.

Coming into the '06 harvest, I had no idea or hope that I would ever get fruit from a Cargasacchi vineyard. Then came a phone call in late August. Peter was offering me one ton of this coveted fruit. I couldn't believe it! My head was spinning for days.

The experience of "Cargasacchi" is like none other. Few have been tortured by the depth of his intellect, his total knowledge of weather, global or local, his complete understanding of viticulture. Besides, how can you not like a guy who shaves his palms.
To know Peter is, well, like none other. Oh, yeah he really is the nicest, genital man I know. God bless his wife!
Well aware of Peter's meticulous attention to detail, we were pleased to obtain Jalama fruit in 2007. The resulting wines show great elegance and high-toned red fruit character that make a great compliment to the heavier, black-fruited wines from the warmer Santa Rita Hills.

SOILS

The soils at Jalama are similar to those of the Cargasacchi Vineyard, as they are also comprised of well-drained calcareous clays with high levels of free lime. The soil pH is between 8.0 and 8.2 and ranges between 6,000 and 7,000 ppm calcium. As the result of a full previous century of dry farming, the very lean soils are unusually low in organic matter, conferring low vine vigor, extremely low yields, but beautiful, perfect Pinot Noir.

The macroclimate is unique and interesting in part as the result of topography. Although more coastally proximate, the vineyard is in a box canyon, (Salsipuedes Canyon,) rather than in an open, east-west transverse river valley like the Cargasacchi Vineyard. The result is a much different maritime influence, with slightly less wind, but more coastal fog and a potentially larger diurnal temperature shift.

Planting was begun in 1999 with a single acre of Dijon 115 Pinot Noir, with additional plantings in 2000, and 2002. These included Dijon 114; the Martin Ray aka Mt. Eden clone; more Dijon115; a very tannic, dark, suitcase selection purported to be 828 from Soane Et Loire that is a very interesting imposter but clearly isn’t 828; and a small amount of an Alsatian Pinot Grigio selection used to produce the late harvest, Cargasacchi INVINCIBLE SUN.

"The Cargasacchis, whose Santa Rita Hills vineyard is
one of the most brilliant in the appellation, have this new one."

Wine Enthusiast on the Pali 2006 Cargasacchi Jalama Pinot Noir

A DIFFERENT APPROACH

The planting scheme at Jalama was strongly influenced by a trip to Alto-Adige/Trentino and the Agricultural Institute of San Michele (Istituto Agrario Di San Michele All’Adige). There, Peter observed viticultural techniques and trellis designs that increased the expression of fruit aromatics by up to 400% in aromatic white wine varieties.

With good fortune and the advantage of favorable topography, the vineyard was laid out on a slightly south-west by north-east row orientation. (Also utilizing observations made with a simple Stonehenge-like device, or seasonal sundial / miniature solar observatory, for plotting the sun’s location between winter and summer solstice and back again.)

THE SOLAR CHARIOT FOLLOWS A PARABOLA!!!

Curiously and counter intuitively, rather than an arc, the sun carves a parabola on its path through the sky from horizon to horizon. On an east west row axis generally, during the hottest part of the summer days, (nearest solstice) the sun is traveling over the rows from the north side of the vine to south and back north again. The sun is overhead on its east west path, with the full canopy shading the fruit for several hours when solar radiation is strongest.

The purpose of the row orientation was to manipulate the sun passively and to take advantage of observations of the sun’s parabolic path, using canopy shading influenced by row orientation on vertical shoot positioned (VSP) trellises. The inspiration was to mimic observations gained from the Pergola Trentina that translated into increased fruit aromatics.

With observations gained through trial and error and under the critical eyes of Frank Ostini and Gray Hartley of Hartley-Ostini Hitching Post Wines, adjustments were made during the first three vintages, until the optimal leaf removal and canopy manipulation regimen began to become apparent.

With this row orientation on the VSP trellis, during the period nearest the summer solstice and longest summer days, because the sun in its parabolic path rises north in the east horizon, passing south overhead and then back north towards the western horizon, the fruit stays cooler, and retains aromatic compounds. Combined with pulling the lower leaves on the north side of canopy only, and taking into account timing of veraison, the fruit receives direct sunlight up to the time of veraison only.

After the summer solstice, because the sun begins rising and setting further south on the horizon each day, thereafter each day less direct solar radiation strikes the north side of the canopy. Simultaneously, increasing sunlight strikes the south side canopy, where all the leaves remain to protect and shade the fruit. (No leaf pulling is employed on the south canopy wall.)

After veraison, subsequent to the middle of August, the now black fruit only gets sun flecks and filtered sunlight, rather than full sunlight, through the retained leaves on the south side canopy.

Importantly, early on in the growing season, the fruit receives the direct (but cooler early morning and late afternoon sunlight) needed for phenolic development and pyrazine conversion to terpenes, the change of green and herbaceous compounds into floral and fruity ones. After berry coloration, the fruit does not get direct sun that can damage or heat the black fruit.

We are still tweaking the system, learning and making adjustments each year as weather patterns vary and as we see variability within what appear to be predictable weather patterns. When necessary (and able) we use cover crops to manage soil/vineyard floor thermal properties. Along with trying to predict and adjust for weather patterns without over adjusting, overcompensating or limiting our future options as the weather continually changes! (Peter, that’s called guessing!)

As the direct result of this system we are observing that the Jalama fruit tends to have more red fruit character and red toned aromatics, with the emphasis on cherry and raspberry flavors.

THE CATALINA EDDY

An interesting secondary macro-climatic influence is a giant eddy, a circulation of marine air known as the Catalina Eddy, that is more pronounced some years and less, others. This eddy begins rotating offshore near the southern Channel Islands. When it is kicking, it tends to keep the Jalama Vineyard buried in fog until late morning, burning off to a warm day, then billowing in like clockwork after 4 pm.

As air crosses the east-to-west oriented mountain ranges north of Santa Barbara (just east of Point Conception) and descends to the ocean, the pressure on the air increases, causing it to warm dramatically. As an indirect consequence of this warming, a region of relatively low pressure develops in the lower atmosphere, south or southwest of the east-to-west oriented coastline. This warm, cloud-free region of relatively low pressure offshore, draws cool marine air up the coast from the south. The marine air, which is full of fog, then spirals around the low pressure center, creating the eddy.

On those years when this coastal eddy system is less pervasive, Jalama gets hotter in the summer and there is less fog. Depending on winter rainfall and ground water, we compensate by retaining a higher ground cover, (grasses and forbs-a fancy name for weeds,) to insulate the ground and reflect heat, Mother Nature permitting of course!

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