Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 17, 2022 - 12

A Second Chance
After Jordan Estate vineyards began
to fail earlier than expected in their life,
the grape grower set out to find the cause
and return Jordan grapes to greatness.
This is the story behind the grapevines
that never received a fair first shot.
BY BRENT YOUNG
T
he life of a winemaker revolves around
cycles. From bud break to flowering
to harvest to barreling, each vintage
is shaped by a series of perpetual new beginnings
in the vineyard and the cellar. The optimistic
feeling of a fresh start is always one season away.
New beginnings for the grape grower aren't as
frequent. Yes, just like a winemaker, the grower's
job revolves around the annual lifecycle of the
grapevine. But when the plants have reached
the end of their lives, they must be replanted.
The grower gets one shot, maybe two, in his
or her career at replanting an aging vineyard.
The amount of effort and money it takes to plant
even an acre of vineyard is enormous, so we have
to get it right. The stakes are very high.
This was the exact challenge I was faced
with about 10 years ago at Jordan. The 2011
vintage was quite challenging, and the Jordan
Estate vineyards-all 34 blocks-were struggling.
The grapevines weren't fully ripening their fruit,
so the sugar levels and tannins were not in balance.
Very little estate grapes, about three percent,
were ranked high enough to make their way into
the Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon master blend
in those days.
The situation was perplexing. Vitis vinifera's
noble grape varieties, such as chardonnay,
cabernet sauvignon and merlot, should live
a productive life for about 25-30 years.
The Jordan Estate hillside vineyards had been
planted for the first time from 1996 to 1999.
They weren't even 20 years old. Much research
was needed to better understand why our estate
grapevines were not reaching their full potential.
In the meantime, Rob Davis and the winemaking
team started sourcing more grapes from growers
in the Geyserville area of Alexander Valley to
continue Jordan's pursuit of quality.
12 THE CELEBRATIONS ISSUE

Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 17, 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Jordan Wine Country Table - Vol. 17, 2022

Table of Contents
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