Our priorities that guide everything we do with our wine are:
1. How the grapes are grown
We will only use grapes grown with organic and/or biodynamic viticulture. This is the foundation of Centralas winemaking, because we don’t want synthetic chemicals in our finished wine, and we want to support viticulture that is part of the solution to our global environmental issues.
2. Where the grapes are grown
We source grapes from organic & biodynamic vineyards only.
Additionally, our Pinot Noir is a single clone 667 from a single block in a single vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills – one of the most exciting places for Pinot Noir outside of Burgundy. The first wine Adam ever spent $50 on – because it was so freaking good – was made from the single clone 667 from a single block in a single vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills. Over 15 years later, we’re thrilled to be producing this wine from certified organic grapes.
The Grenache and Syrah that go into our barrel-aged rosé are grown in an isolated and wild vineyard in a warmer canyon of Santa Barbara County. Far from roads and towns, this biodynamic vineyard produces grapes that reflect the terroir as naturally as if they were native to it. They retain an electric energy (some might say “minerality”) while ripening to come-hither plushness. This leads to bottles of barrel-aged rosé so delicious that we feel the need to remove our wedding rings before drinking them.
3. When the grapes are picked
We pick for pH as much as for brix as much as for taste. We want these to be in balance so that we don’t have to add acid, fine, or make other adjustments in the winery. We want the finished wine to taste varietally distinct, and reflective of where and when it was grown.
All this is to say that the “when” is complicated, dependent on vintage and varietal variations, and varying based on the wine-style that we think fits not only the grape but where the grape is grown and the vintage. Because of that it is one of the most difficult and defining decisions in our winemaking.
4. Wine Escort vs. Wine Maker
If we get all of the above priorities right, what happens in the winery is the easy part. Some might call our style of winemaking “lazy,” but we prefer “efficient.” Adam sees himself as a wine escort, or shepherd, rather than a maker.
We use minimal sulfites because we believe in protecting the fresh, healthy character of the grapes that a lot of people spend a lot of time and energy and money to grow. An unfortunately high number of the “natural” wines that we’ve tasted (because we love the values behind them) have been, frankly, awful. We find detectable levels of bret, high VA, and H2S to be wine flaws, not characteristics of terroir, and these can almost always be prevented with minimal additions of sulfites to healthy grapes.
Besides sulfites, our goal is to add nothing else. If all goes well, we will spontaneously ferment, allow natural malo-lactic conversion, and basically let the wine gods perform their magical metamorphosis.
But the gods can be fickle. If we find an unhealthy fermentation, we may add cultured yeast and/or yeast nutrients (always OMRI listed for organic use), as a last resort to protect the quality of the wine.
We are not opposed to, and will use on occasion depending on the grapes and the wine: cold soaking, extended maceration, barrel aging (new & used, French & American Oak, depending on the grapes, and maybe even some Chestnut), and filtration.
The other foundation of Centralas winemaking (or wine-escorting) is that, whatever decisions we make during the process and whatever ingredients we add, we will list them on the bottle. We want you to drink Centralas wine knowing exactly what you’re drinking.