Three Things To Consider When Sourcing Grapes

Sourcing from growers and vineyards can be a valuable tool for wineries, even if they have robust vineyards on their estate.

Kivelstadt Cellars & Weingarten in Sonoma, California is among those wineries that use a bit of both. Kivelstadt’s estate is located 4.5 miles northwest of Glen Ellen and has volcanic shallow soils and steep terrain that forces vines to struggle for nutrients and water but have successfully produced varietals such as Mourvedre and Grenache. 

But its longstanding partnerships with Eco Terrano in Cloverdale, California and Venturi Vineyard in Calpella, California as well as others allow it to expand its offerings with varietals like Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc and nontraditional products like orange wine, which is popular in Spain. 

Kivelstadt winemaker Sam Baron said for him, it comes down to static variables in the vineyards, farming philosophy and cost when considering growers from which to source grapes.

“Finding growers and vineyards is all about word of mouth and networking,” Kivelstadt Winemaker Sam Baron said. “The catalysts for interest are always the static variables in the vineyard, like varietals planted, soil type, location, vine age, etcetera.”

Once Baron establishes that the growers fit his winemaking philosophy, he shifts his focus to farming, he said, stressing that it was important to speak up with growers.

“It’s important to respect a growers relationship with their land,” Kivelstadt said. “That being said, it is also important to advocate for yourself and farming techniques which will maximize the quality of the fruit. Purchasers can learn a lot by reviewing spray programs over previous years.”

After that, price is the last thing Baron said he considers. 

“Negotiate the cheapest price you can and pass that saving on to consumers,” Baron said.

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