This Monday, we will put our modest .97 ton lot of Manchester Ridge Chardonnay to bottle and with so doing Trail Marker Wine Company will be official. Actually, with all the hurdles of the ABC, TTB, BOE and LLC (have I lost you yet?!), TMWC won't be official in the eyes of the law until mid November at the earliest. But we will have made and bottled our very own wine, our very own way, from grape to bottle and that counts for something.
When we started Trail Marker Wine Company last October, the idea was to grow it ultra slowly by one ton each year and to do only Chardonnay for the first two or even three years. It was a good plan but life has a way of making it's own plans.
While sourcing a second Chardonnay vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, we accidentally fell in love with a Pinot Noir vineyard while we were there.
In relaying the experience to close friends and family, I've compared it to that moment when you fall hard for delicious produce at the farmer's market or that perfect pair of wedge sandals you feel certain were made with you in mind..."it would be foolish not to buy this!", you rationalize. With the best purchases in life, it is not a matter of need or even want, but only a matter of MUST. HAVE.
That was the case with both vineyards in Santa Cruz. It did not hurt matters that both vineyards have been under the impeccable care of unknown-legend viticulturalist, Prudy Foxx. The Legan Family Vineyard is a modest, out of the way, high elevation vineyard planted to 30+ year old Chardonnay vines. It is slated to produce a paltry 1 to 1.5 tons, a waste of time for most all other winemakers/wineries but for us and for Trail Marker, this vineyard could not be more perfect. One look at the vineyard and it felt as if it had been planted with exactly our ethos in mind.
Severia Vineyard is just down the road from Legan Family and is planted entirely to Pinot Noir. It's been said that great wine is made in the vineyards, NOT in the winery. Sure enough, one taste of the fruit of these vines and there is NO doubt this will be a beautiful wine. We have no business signing on to process Pinot Noir this year/harvest. We planned to grow slow and stick with Chardonnay only but when fruit this good lands in your lap, you act on instinct, say yes and figure out the rest later.