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At our estate Margarita Vineyard, we have reduced our fossil fuel consumption through sustainable winegrowing practices. But ironically enough, the vineyard is becoming renowned for its fossil-fueled wines. Let us explain...
In a section of Margarita Vineyard called Oyster Ridge, the soil is composed of compacted layers of ancient oyster fossils. Here, the fossils are literally spilling out of the ground, testifying to the land’s origins as an uplifted sea bed (some of these fossils are enormous, such as the one pictured here). The result, in the words of Wine & Spirits Magazine, is “perhaps the most dramatically calcareous chunks of earth in the entire state.”
Why does this matter? Because calcium-rich soil is coveted by winemakers worldwide. At Margarita Vineyard, this translates to fruit with high-toned flavors, fine structure and pretty aromatics.
This ancient sea bed is actually one of five soil zones at Margarita Vineyard. Few vineyards boast such a spectrum of geological diversity. This diversity enables us to grow the same varietals in a range of soils, ultimately enhancing the complexity, texture and dimension of the resulting wines.
All five soil types play a role in our wines—but the ancient sea bed is by far the most rare and dramatic. Come out for one of our Saturday vineyard tours to see it for yourself.
Our sustainability efforts at Margarita Vineyard include maintaining wildlife corridors that allow for interconnected habitats.
Wildlife is consequently abundant on the surrounding Santa Margarita Ranch. Eagles, turkeys, pigs, deer, falcons, turtles and bears are among the many animals that call the ranch home.
Check out this frisky baby black bear spotted near our Malbec block. Once full grown, this bear will be able to consume more than 50 pounds of grapes in one day. Needless to say, we would prefer if he stayed in the oaks and away from the vines!
Spring is a season of renewal in the vineyard—but also a time of potential peril.
Indeed, each April, we are on high alert for morning frosts that can arrive in the wake of bud break, and that can have a devastating impact on the new vine shoots and baby grape clusters.
Thankfully, we have protective measures in place, and we used them just last night after temperatures dipped to 26 degrees in a few blocks at our estate Margarita Vineyard.
We have weather stations throughout the vineyard, and when the temperature begins to plunge toward the freezing point in any of our blocks, our Vineyard Manager Jaime Munoz receives an alert. He and his team then activate the frost protection system, which applies water over the vine. The water coats the new growth and turns to ice, forming a protective barrier—a sort of “igloo” that shields the baby clusters from outside temperatures when they dip below 32 degrees.
We are proud to have invested in a progressive frost protection system that saves water and reflects our commitment to sustainable winegrowing. This system consists of low-flow pulse emitters that spray the water only where it is needed. This saves 30% more water than a traditional overhead rotational sprinkler system.