The Windy Oaks Approach to Farming

Our goal in the vineyard is to maximize the expression of terroir through maximum quality grapes. We achieve this goal through a mix of traditional practices, proprietary management practices, and selective use of technology. Windy Oaks Estate vineyard uses a VSP bilateral cordon system, with three double foliage wires, to provide maximum light and airflow for the grapes during their all-important growing season, from March through October. We personally work on and/or closely supervise the training, pruning, summer maintenance, and harvesting of the grapes. Our goal is to achieve the expression of terroir through healthy grapes that have had substantial exposure to light and air, with maximum hang time to ensure optimum flavor and complexity.

The growing of premium grapes is a constant struggle between ensuring healthy growth, yet not so lush that the leaves and unwelcome growth overshadow the grapes. This struggle is what defines many of the activities carried out during the year. In recent years, we have introduced some innovative practices in the vineyard, such as the use of a hot-air machine to minimize the need for chemical sprays and to control undesirable insects.  We have also experimented with and introduced new canopy management practices to ensure maximum quality and allow us to adapt to more volatile weather variation. The following seasonal outline highlights the Windy Oaks Estate vineyard activities.

Also, throughout the year, Jim visits our vineyards in Monterey County: Santa Lucia Highlands, Chalone, and Arroyo Seco, and provides input on canopy management practices, irrigation, disease and pest control, and vineyard floor management.  As the grapes begin to ripen, and we get closer to harvest, Jim visits the vineyards frequently to assess grape ripening and to determine the ideal harvest time.