Vineyards & Winemaking
In winemaking and in life, there are special moments that result from a thirst for discovery and a dedication to always being open to new methods and experiences. Challenging assumptions without cynicism. In our long history we have applied common-sense sustainable practices to making interesting, layered wines with sensual delight. A fusion of Michael Richmond’s experience and Andrew Brooks' innovative outlook that beautifully embody the elusive goal of developing power and full flavor without sacrificing the ethereal perfume that defines Pinot and Chardonnay.
“Never be ordinary.” That is the driving idea behind Bouchaine's approach. To view every harvest, every barrel and every bottle as a unique opportunity to create, nurture and share wines of extraordinary character and quality. For Michael, building a team capable of creating such wines begins with hiring good people and then giving them the freedom to explore and experiment.
To achieve this goal, our winemaking team works hard to stay current on the latest trends and technologies, while staying true to the time-honored techniques that ensure the preservation of the character of the region and the fruit. From our Chardonnay to our all-consuming love affair with all things Pinot, we believe our job is to work hand-in-hand with the elements to cultivate wines of exceptional expression and depth. As Michael says, “You don’t make Pinot. You coax it. Draw it out. Then you discover its nature. It’s a process based on faith, forbearance and trust."
Photos: Sara Matthews
In the vineyards, helping ensure that every vine is able to fulfill its potential begins with a single objective: Balance. Every choice we make in the vineyard, from planting and water management to pruning and harvest, is designed to achieve the ultimate fusion of sustainability and quality.
A dense cover crop provides the cornerstone for the rather heavy Carneros soils. It controls erosion, and adds organic matter that sustains the healthy balance of microbes, and improves friability and moisture retention. Our seasonal cover crop consists of fescue grass for erosion control and soil structure and a blend of barley, peas, vetch, bell beans and oats for nutrient enrichment.
We also practice integrated pest management. We have a vast array of raptor and bluebird boxes to host these nemeses of rodents and insects. Pheromone traps confuse the sex lives of bugs. We are also sensitive to the lay of the land, maintaining a natural water flow by removing vines. We exercise “deficit” or “precision” irrigation, a practice that minimizes our water use, controls vine growth, yet assures stress-free ripening for more intensely flavored fruit. It is a practice that mitigates drought conditions during the long dry California summers. Bouchaine’s 100 rolling acres are planted in 7 clones of Pinot Noir, 5 clones of Chardonnay, as well as Pinot Meunier and Pinot Gris. We employ both cane and cordon pruning, as appropriate to each block. All these practices result in a winery full of interesting and diverse wines from which we create our signature bottlings.
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