7.22.2014 How to Drink Every Day and Live Longer!

Wes Hagen takes you through seven minutes of information on wine and health.  How much wine can we drink safely each day and does it really have health benefits?

Also, Wes is a big supporter of safe wine drinking and reducing risk from drinking and driving.  Wes loves his breathalyzer and wants to show you how to have a breathalyzer party where you and your friends can safely test your limits.

6.24.2014 Where Does Flavor Come From in Wine?

Wes Hagen breaks down the grape into three parts, and describes how each of the parts gives a certain flavor to varietal wine.


If you have questions, leave them here and I'll try to get to them quickly!

6.16.2014 Vintage 2014 Defined

Here's the subjects we discuss today in context of how Vintage 2014 is playing out: 

Monday, June 16 2014

2014 Defined:

1)           Drought

2)           Good Crop

3)           Early Budbreak

4)           Spring Canopy

5)           10% shatter

6)           Vintage Happens

6.2.2014 Wine and Food Pairing in 10 minutes or less!

Wes Hagen breaks down his research and theory on food and wine pairing, taking it down to 4 simple rules:

1)    Intensity to Intensity

2)    Match Level of Fat to Structure (Acid/Tannin)

3)    Find a bridge

4)    Take a risk

Check out the video, and then get to planning your next excursion:  to table with friends and wine!

Ask questions if you have them!

5.19.2014 Canopy Management: Sunlight Into Wine

Wes Hagen takes you into the vineyard top discuss how we manipulate the canopy of pinot noir at Clos Pepe to grow the best wine possible.  It turns out that sunlight is the key, as we learned from Dr Richard Smart in the 1990's.  We've developed a protocol for canopy management here at Clos Pepe using three decades of winegrowing experience, custom-made for this time and place.


5.12.2014 Remembering Dave Robinson, Heat Spikes and Vintage, Palate Fatigue in Judging Wine

Without sleep last night, expect a little numbness this week.  Our Shipping Manager and winemaker friend Dave Robinson passed Friday night and we are stunned, shocked and trying to make meaning of it early this week.

After remembering our friend Dave, Wes discusses two topics that were suggested:

  • How does a mate-Spring heat wave impact vintage?
  • How does a pro wine judge taste 100 wines a day and not suffer serious palate fatigue?

Enjoy today's short video, and please leave questions or suggestions in comments.

Have a suggestion for a weekly wine blog?  Leave that here too!

5.5.2014 Selling Grapes and Talking (or not) About Wine with Wes Hagen

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Today we talk about farming and selling wine grapes and how we work with our producers to grow great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Then we take a few minutes to discuss how we talk about wine, and how most of it is bluster or marketing.  I believe its an American tradition to talk about wine when we should be talking about anything else.

Enjoy and don't forget to leave a comment if you have a question or idea for a future Monday Video Blog.

4.21.2014 Sustainability, Part 2: In Practice at Clos Pepe

Wes Hagen, vineyard manager and winemaker, is joined by Oliver the Wonderhound (Italian Greyhound), and Wes does his best Dr. Evil as he pets a cute animal as he plots his takeover of the Biodynamic world!

After defining sustainable, organic and biodynamic last week, Wes explains how these concepts are put into practice at Clos Pepe, and how the cultural practices, and ideals of social sustainability, influence how we grow great pinot noir and chardonnay.

4.14.2014 Sustainability in the Vineyard, Part One

Wes discusses his views and his opinionated definitions of sustainable, Sustainable, organic and biodynamic viticulture.

Have differing opinions?  Please leave a comment.  I always like a good conversation, with or without wine.

4.7.2014 Short Geologic History of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA

Gather round while Wes takes you through a thrilling 12 million year narrative of how the Sta Rita Hills became one of the best places in the world for cool-climate viticulture.  Questions?  Leave a comment!

3.31.2014 Join Me on April 11-13 for Vintner's Spring Weekend!

The rebranding of the 'Vintner's Festival' is very exciting to all of us here in Santa Barbara Wine Country.  Please accept my invitation to experience the changes that are happening to our festival by coming and experiencing the Friday, April 11th Seminar Series.

Tickets are available at www.sbcountywines.com

3.24.2014 Why Cool Matters in Wine with Wes Hagen, Clos Pepe

...and especially in :Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  And Riesling, and Gewurtz and Nebbiolo, and Gruner, and....

Color and flavor emerge from hang time, and because we are not Europe, we have a different set of rules for winegrowing.  While Europe hopes for heat to get their fruit ripe, the New World, and especially California, enjoy a longer season, so we actually hope for cool.

3.17.2014 Budbreak, Vineyard Floor, Frost and Naughty Sheep!

The 2014 Vintage is in full swing!  We have nearly 100% budbreak, some shoots are as long as 6" after a warm weekend, and we are spraying copper sulfate tonight to reduce the incidence of frost damage if we get some cold nights in the next few months.

The copper will also knock down sores of rot and mildew, so it serves a double purpose.  The clean vineyard floor allows the cold air to run downhill like water so only the lowest sections of elevation in the vineyard are in danger of freezing.  In those low spaces we have sprinklers and fans, so we are 'safe' to about 29 degrees.

Hope you enjoy, and please feel free to send me questions to answer next week:  wes@clospepe.com, or text them to me at 805-886-0325!

3.10.2014 Vintage 2013: Tasting from Barrel and Defining the Year in Wine

Tasting the Homage to Chablis Chardonnay, the Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, the Estate Pinot Noir and the Axis Mundi Grenache/Syrah, Wes Hagen discusses the vintage and what he's tasting as the wines come out of a long, Winter's nap.


3.3.2014 Sheep, Guard Dog and Short Discussion of Dormancy

The buds are pushing and we're seeing budbreak in many parts of the vineyard!  We have held off on pruning the lowest parts of the vineyard, to try to extend dormancy another week or two to lessen the chance of a devastating frost.

Gaius (Spanish Ranch Mastif x Polish Tatra x Italian Marama) watched the sheep to make sure coyotes or mountain lions don't intrude and prey on them.

The sheep are out there to knock down the cover crop, as we cannot get a tractor in that field until it dries out--maybe a week or so.

2.24.14 Sheep 'Lambpede' Into the Vineyard!

With the drought we didn't have enough cover crop to feed the sheep until this week! 

Here are the sheep going into the vineyard for the first time in a year.  Obviously very excited.

And the family loves it too.  Nothing more pastoral and beautiful than a green vineyard filled with sheep.

1.14.2014 First Video of 2014! Tasting 2013 From Barrel!

Here I am at the winery this morning, tasting through the 2013 vintage for the first time with any sense of formality.

When does a wine not need a table, delicious things and two people in love?  When a winemaker, or a consumer or trade member, really wants to intellectualize a wine, really understand and study it.

Studying a book in class is different than studying it in a solitary sense.  It's important for me to understand my wines at table, with fun people, but also in silence with the only context the cellar, vintage and a quiet room.

How do you enjoy wine the most?