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?



10.14.2013 Barreling Down Pinot Noir from Fermenter.

Wes finishes (?!?!) the 2013 harvest and winemaking season in fine fashion, pressing more than 30 barrels of pinot noir in one day.  (Our press is very slow, small and gentle) .  Wes shows you how we get the wine from being mixed with the grape skins to being clean wine in the barrel.

It should be noted that most winemakers settle their fermented wine and throw away the sediment.  We barrel our wine unsettled and let the lees stay in contact with the wine for the entire period of elevage, or barrel-aging.  We have a small enough production that we can follow each barrel's progress carefully.  We find keeping the wine in contact with the sediment of fermentation gives it complexity, earthiness and more 'Clos-ness'

Enjoy, and ask a question if you have one!

Posted on October 14, 2013 .

10.7.2013 How To: Make Chardonnay. A 5 minute lesson from grapes to bottle

Wes Hagen takes you through the entire process of making Chardonnay at Clos Pepe in exactly 5 minutes.  See the fruit, see the juice, see the fermentation!   


9.23.2013 Harvest Criteria and the 'Winemaker's Vintage'

Wes Hagen, winemaker, riffs on 2013 harvest, his criteria for picking pinot noir and chardonnay, and how 2013 may well show more about the winemaker's stylistic affectation. 

9.16.2013 Patience in Harvest: Let the Juice Say Yes, or, in this case....NO!

Wes Hagen, winemaker, takes you through a morning's juice samples and what he tastes and how he uses those flavors in the decision making process of when to harvest, and when to let it hang. 

Got to know when to hold em, and when to fold em... 

9.9.2013 Pulling the Trigger on Vintage at Clos Pepe?

Wes Hagen discusses the criteria that leads him to start harvest for dry wine (pinot noir) at Clos Pepe.  As always, feel free to ask questions or suggest subjects for future videos.

Wes Hagen at Clos Pepe Estate describes a winemaker's decision to harvest grapes for wine.

9.2.2013, Field Ripeness Testing, Part One, Random Sampling Pinot Noir Blocks.

In Part One, Wes takes you into the field to show how we take random samples to approximate actual ripeness when the grapes are picked.  We use these techniques to gauge ripeness and decide when to pick our fruit for us, or our many producers. 

9.2.2013: Field Ripeness, Part Two, Lab Work for Field Ripeness

In Part Two, Wes brings the fruit into the lab to test for Brix and pH. 

Wes takes you into the lab (kicthen) at Clos Pepe and shows you how we test juice samples from specific sections of the vineyard to determine when to harvest to make specific styles of wine. In general: 19-21 Brix @ 3.0 pH: Sparkling wine 23-24 Brix @ 3.3 pH: Elegant, austere pinot for long term aging.

8.26.2013. Mr. Wes' Wild Ride on the Bottling Line.

With only moment to spare before I need to load more glass and pallet wine coming off the line, I run through the process of bottling with a truck. 

We ended up doing over 2000 cases of Clos Pepe Estate and Axis Mundi.  Perfect timing, as we will need to start filling up the winery again as the 2013 Harvest looms. 

Feel free to ask questions and suggest future video subject matter!