Vineyard Density at Clos de la Tech
“The wine is made in the vineyard.” – T.J. Rodgers, Clos de la Tech Winemaker
When we started to make wine, we thought that becoming skillful winemakers would make all of the difference. Over the years, we re-discovered what the French have known for centuries—that “the wine is made in the vineyard,” as the old saying goes. Winemaking can add certain stylistic components to a vintage, but the basic quality of a wine is grown, not vinified. Below, we describe our state-of-the-art Pinot Noir vineyards with a focus on the special pruning techniques we employ to improve wine quality.
Close-Spaced Vines Typical California vineyards have 455 to 1,361 vines per acre, with rows planted a full 8 to 12 feet apart to accommodate a tractor. At Clos de la Tech, we plant 4,159 vines per acre—3 to 10 times more than is typical—with the vine rows only 3.5 feet apart. These vineyards are expensive to plant and hand-farm. The best French vineyards plant 4,047 vines per acre because they believe close-spaced vines concentrate the essence of the vineyard—the terroir (ter-whar), as they call it—in their wines. While close-spaced vineyards are just catching on in California, Clos de la Tech’s vineyards have been densely planted for 20 years.
Please check back next week, when I will explain in a video and blog post how Clos de la Tech carefully prunes its Pinot Noir vines throughout the year to pursue perfection.
– T.J. Rodgers
T.J. Rodgers is a member of the UC Davis Department of Enology & Viticulture Board of Advisors and Fellows. He designed, built and donated the advanced fermentation equipment used in the UC Davis Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.
Clos de la Tech Pinot Noir is currently available for purchase here.
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