Stolo winemaker blends old and new traditions for 2017 vintage
Stolo Vineyards is a rogue, cool climate winery that is experimenting with old and new winemaking methods in the 2017 vintage. Up-and-coming winemaker Nicole Pope is trying new methods to keep Stolo wines cutting edge and truer to the unique terroir they represent.
Stolo is one of the closest vineyards to the coast in all of California. At less than three miles from the Pacific Ocean, the vineyard thrives with blankets of morning fog ribboning over rolling, lush hills. This moisture allows for dry farming with no irrigation required resulting in a more concentrated fruit.
For the 2017 vintage, Pope foot treaded whole clusters prior to the Pinot Noir and Syrah fermentations. She chose this traditional method to delicately crush the fruit without breaking the seeds, avoiding bitterness. Foot treading occurs at the bottom of the fermentation tanks before she destems the rest of the grapes. Pope says foot treading gently crushes whole clusters so the juice is released, preventing air pockets in the middle of fermentation. The result is cleaner and brighter wines that are worth the extra effort!
Pope also experimented with extended skin contact time for the Gewürztraminer this vintage. After destemming the grapes, she cold soaked them on their skins for five hours before gently pressing, settling and continuing fermentation. The process has worked for the Sauvignon Blanc so she wanted to try it on another varietal. For the Gewürztraminer, the extended skin contact heightened aromatics without any additional bitterness. For the 2018 vintage, she plans to soak for 24 hours on both varietals to see the difference with even more time.
As a winemaker, Pope’s goal is to employ different winemaking techniques and experiment with adding many unique components to the final blend; imparting complexity and character to the finished wine.
About Stolo Vineyards
Stolo Vineyards is the only winery and tasting room on estate vineyards in Cambria, on the Central Coast of California. It is located less than three miles from the Pacific Ocean making it one of the closest vineyards to the coast in the state. Established in 2004, the winery focuses on producing small-lot, premium wines with an emphasis on cool climate estate wines. The 2014 Estate Syrah was ranked as #27 on Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2017 and the Pinot Noir was rated 93 points by the same publication. Stolo takes pride in their honest approach to winemaking from vineyard to bottle. Every effort is made to keep the integrity of the grape and vineyard site by crafting wines that represent the unique terroir of this cool growing region. Visitors are always welcome to the boutique tasting room, where award-winning wines can be enjoyed in a rustic, friendly atmosphere. Stolo Vineyards is located at 3776 Santa Rosa Creek Road in Cambria, California, 93428. For more information, please visit stolofamilyvineyards.com or call 805-924-3131, and be sure to follow Stolo Vineyards on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.