This past week we took a few out-of-town friends wine tasting in Edna Valley andwere stuck by the beauty of this area we call home. As locals we sometime forget the bounty of our local environment. The hills were bright green punctuated with that healthy glow of early springtime after the invigorating rains of winter.
Like much of the central coast, the roads were lightly travelled with a mix of cars, bicycles, walkers and runners and the occasional tractor, all out taking in the warmafternoon. The wineries were also lightly visited during our weekday outing. A welcoming staff greeted us at each of our four winery stops and graciously accommodated our little group of tasters.
The vineyards in Edna Valley were tidy and the rows of vines pristine. We were excited to see the first signs of greenery emerging from the canes of the recently pruned vines.
The “bud break” usually takes place locally in March and early April. 60 -80 days later the vines will be flowering when small clusters appear on the tips of the young shoots. After pollination they develop the look of recognizable miniature fruit. By May the beginnings of a grape cluster is seen as the berry begins to grow and encapsulate the seed. This is one of the most critical times in the vineyard where the delicate clusters can be easily ruined by too much wind, rain or frost.
As we toured and tasted our way along Orcutt Road in the Edna Valley we also witnessed the abundant wildlife. Red tail hawks, blue jays, quail, kestrelsand a flock of wild turkeys entertained us as we enjoyed the hospitality of our winery hosts.
On the east side of the valley is Wolff Vineyardswho take seriously their sustainable winegrowing practices. They encourage the natural rhythms of the land by incorporating cover crops, organic soil amendments, integrated pest management and fish habitat restoration in the two creeks on their property. Wolff Vineyards is a biodynamic research site for the Central Coast Vineyard Team as part of a grant to reduce dependency on herbicides and pesticides. They are also working to develop their pond to be used as a refuge habitat project for California native pond turtles.
Wolff Vineyards is open daily for tasting and grows Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Riesling and a rare Italian varietal Teroldgo.
With a dozen wineries in the Edna Valley there is plenty of vineyards to see and wines to taste. Click for on the area and a wine tasting map.