Stems or no stems, that is the question!

September 12, 2017

Drake

It’s harvest time, and one big question many winemakers have is whether to use stems in their wines, or not! This week, we borrowed a little commentary from Jordan Mackay, our Inside Source Editor and Inside Source Wine Club Writer, on this fun topic for #SciFri. "To rile up a Pinot Noir producer you need only mention two simple words:...[ read more ]

What is loess?

September 6, 2017

Loess

What is loess? That off-white, fine-grain soil known as loess finds its way into many wine regions in the vicinity of the Alps. Loess in Western Europe is largely a result of Alpine glaciers grinding rocks into a fine-grained crystalline powder, often rich in calcium. It’s light and easily kicked up by the wind. Once blown in and deposited, its...[ read more ]

What is dry-farming?

September 6, 2017

Ryan Stirm Dry Farming

What is dry-farming? We asked our friend, Ryan Stirm @stirmwineco, a viticulturalist, soil scientist and winemaker. “Dry-farming is the practice of farming without the use of supplemental irrigation— relying completely on the rainfall (and subterranean water) that occurs on the plot of land being farmed. Drip irrigation as we know it was invented and developed in Israel in the 1960's...[ read more ]

The Loire River Flowed Through Paris?

August 25, 2017

Paris - Loire River

Would you believe me if I told you that France’s Loire River used to run through Paris? It’s true—well, kinda… Here’s a more accurate expnation: Before the Alps were the towering mountains they are today—meaning before the African continent bulldozed into Europe—most of the rivers in northern France flowed off the Massif Central to the north and into what we...[ read more ]

Portlandian and Kimmeridgian Limestones

Welcome to #SciFri! This week, our musings on Portlandian Limestone.... #TheDirt: So why is Portlandian limestone (deposited in the Portlandian age, 146-142 million years ago) considered the inferior little brother of Kimmeridgian limestone when it comes to wine?? For rock talk, we always consult our Master Geologist, Brenna Quigley. “Portlandian (left) rocks are harder than Kimmeridgian (right) stones, and form...[ read more ]

Copper Treatments in European Vineyards

July 24, 2017

copper-sulfate

In the US and most of the New World, spraying copper sulfate is not a required vineyard treatment. In Europe it is, and it's used during the vegetative growth cycle in rainy periods to combat Downy Mildew, a fungus that, like the global problem of Powdery Mildew, feasts on the plant’s chlorophyll. Downy Mildew is transported by water, so if...[ read more ]

Kimmeridgian Rocks

Why do many famous French rock types sound like the names of mansions on Downton Abbey?? In wine, we often hear rocks in France described with English names: Kimmeridgian, Portlandian, Devonian. This is simply because much of the early work on geologic time was done by geologists in England, and they used the names of the local places where they...[ read more ]

Brenna Quigley - Geologist

The Source is the first importing company (we know of) and perhaps the only one to have a staff geologist, Brenna Quigley. And now she’s off to Burgundy to put in a month of scratching and digging and surveying (or whatever geologists do) with the Wasserman family, who are bringing her over to get a worm’s eye view of some of...[ read more ]

Granite Soil Itata Valley

  “You need to find the proper mother for your wines… and a vineyard’s geology is the number one consideration,” Pedro said, as we drove towards his vineyards in Guarilihue.  What was true 450 years ago when the Spanish Conquistadors settled in Concepcion is still true today.  They recognized that Itata was a perfect mother for their vineyards because of the soil...[ read more ]

  Pedro held out a slab of granite that had decomposed almost completely into some kind of dense mudstone. Each mineral crystal was in place as if it were still solid rock. It was amazing; the soil was completely eroded in place. The rock bent a little before breaking with very little effort. It was a fragile soil that was...[ read more ]

Off-roading through a bumpy, hilly and winding dirt road for what seemed an eternity, we headed into the Itata Valley wilderness, our destination an ancient granite vineyard surrounded by pine and eucalyptus. Along the way we were joined by one of Pedro’s grape growers, Juan Palma.  Juan comes from a family with a 300-year-old lineage, centuries of passed down vineyard...[ read more ]

Further into Pandora’s Box

July 25, 2015

For many years, I knew of this great geologist working her way through Burgundy. I saw her work for the first time when I received a disc, via Wasserman and Co., that Bruno Clair sent to help me with a Côte de Nuits educational seminar I was putting on. The disc, a dossier commissioned by the town of Marsannay, contains...[ read more ]