Vineyard

We believe strongly in wines of terroir -- the French term best translated as "somewhereness" -- and choose our vineyard and winemaking practices to maximize our chances of expressing our terroir in our wines.

Our goal is to produce wines with a true reflection of their varietal character, of the place where they were grown, and of the vintage that they came from.

To produce our wines, we use four core practices:

A Carefully Selected Site with Calcareous Soils

Our location in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains west of Paso Robles, California was chosen after three years of intensive research. Our soils are composed of calcareous clay, similar to those which produce the great wines of the southern Rhone Valley. Our steep slopes offer a variety of microclimates, soil depths and exposures. Our altitude varies between 1400' and 1600', and our proximity to the ocean provides warm to hot summer days and cool to cold summer nights.  The resulting long growing season produces gracefully ripened fruit in nearly every vintage.

Authentic Clones

We imported our vines from Beaucastel, shepherded them through a USDA-mandated 3-year quarantine, and propagated them on our on-site nursery. These clones were hand-selected for intensity of flavor and true varietal character. Some varietals had never been brought into the United States before, and we brought in new clones even of the varietals that existed here previously.

Stressed Grapevines

We densely plant the vines (1600 to 1800 per acre) to create competition, and trellis them low to the ground to take advantage of the radiant heat from the rocky soil. The competition between the plants, as well as the rugged terrain and limited water, creates intense small clusters of grapes with thick skins. Each vine is limited to 8-12 bunches each year.  We dry-farm all of the vineyard most vintages, and many blocks every vintage.  This forces the vines' roots deep into the bedrock and makes sure that they pull the maximum character of place out of their environment.

Organic Vineyards with Hands-On Farming

Our organic vineyard practices following the lead of the Beaucastel estate in Chateauneuf du Pape. Like Beaucastel, we use no herbicides or systemic pesticides in the vineyard. Cover crops minimize erosion, host beneficial insects, and return nitrogen to the soil. We use extensive composting, and use compost tea to control mildew in the vineyard and reduce our need for sulfur. We received our organic certification in January, 2003 and continue to explore how we can better respect our place.  We began farming much of the vineyard Biodynamically in 2010, and brought a mixed herd of grazing sheep, alpacas and donkeys (pictured right) into the vineyard in 2012.

We prune and harvest by hand. The pruning is done both to promote the general health of the vine and to minimize crop load, and we regularly thin our crop to improve the quality of the fruit. All grapes are harvested by hand at optimum ripeness, and most of the vineyard blocks are harvested in multiple passes, ensuring that the grapes that arrive at our winery for vinification are at peak ripeness.

 

More Vineyard information


Events

En Gobelet Vertical Tasting and Dry Farming Exploration

Since 2007, we have made our En Gobelet exclusively from dry-farmed, head-trained vineyard blocks. The results have been so compelling that we're planning to plant our entire new parcel -- all 55 acres -- in this style over the coming decade. Join us for this vertical tasting of every vintage of En Gobelet, from the 2007 to the newly-blended 2014. We'll also offer, before the tasting, an optional hike led by Viticulturist Levi Glenn through the rugged Scruffy Hill block from which we source most of the wine, and finish with a picnic lunch on our patio. $60 for wine club members and $75 for guests. Reservations are essential; we expect this to sell out. To reserve, email us at events@tablascreek.com or call us at 805.237.1231 ext 30.  Details & More Events »


Tablas Creek News

MA Shipping Permit Received!

We are thrilled to announce that we've received our shipping permit from the great state of Massachusetts. Residents of the Bay State can now order wine or become VINsider Wine Club members.  More shipping news »

Antonio Galloni 8/14: 30 Wines 90+

In August, Antonio Galloni published the results of his annual visit to Tablas Creek, and we were excited to receive such good reviews from this notoriously tough grader. Notes included the 2012 Esprit de Tablas Blanc (92 points; “impeccably refined”), 2011 Panoplie (94 points; "pure elegance"), 2012 Patelin de Tablas (90 points; “a gorgeous wine and a fabulous value”), and the 2012 Esprit de Tablas (93-95 points; "a fascinating Esprit to follow over the coming years"). Read the complete review » More recent press »


On the Tablas Blog

Dry Farming in California's Drought, Part 3: How We Got Here (and Where We Go Next)

May 26, 2015
I was struck by a quote from Tegan Passalaqua, the winemaker at Turley, in a recent article on JancisRobinson.com. In an interview with Alder Yarrow, Tegan said "In a Mediterranean climate like we have, vertical shoot positioning and 3 by 6 vineyard spacing is basically farming hydroponically".

Hydroponic farming, with its overtones of bland supermarket tomatoes, seems an unlikely candidate to provide the intensity and ripeness that a winemaker would expect from California. But in its essence, that the farmer is providing everything that a plant needs to bear fruit, I don't think he's far off. It's worth taking a few moments to understand how grapevines came to be so widely irrigated in California. Read More »