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We continue our look at the Central Coast Vineyard Team and their Sustainability-in-Practice certification with part two of our interview with Kris Beal, the program’s director. If you missed part one, you can view it here, along with our tasting panel’s reviews of SIP Certified wines from Monterey County and the Arroyo Grande Valley. This week we look at how the program has helped growers improve production and our panel reviews SIP wines from the Edna Valley.

 

What are some ways the SIP program has helped to improve production practices for growers?

One piece of information I’ve got from people in the program is how valuable it’s been to have to document and track everything, and how the certification forces different parts of their operation to communicate regularly. There may have been a time when the irrigation people weren’t really talking to the pest control people or weren’t involved in decisions about equipment. But the process of having to go through all the questions and requirements of the program means different parts of the team are working together much more often. And people have said that’s been quite valuable since it’s made everyone more integrated in terms of how they interact with each other and with the property.

 

Conversely how have the growers helped to improve or maintain the standards of certification?

We have a regular process where the standards or rules get reviewed every year, and we always ask for feedback from the people who are going through the process. We might find a word here or there that needs changing. Of course, any changes are vetted by technical advisers, but we are always looking for feedback from people that are in the SIP program or people who are observing it. It’s part of our regular process for updates.

 

Do you get feedback from vineyards and wineries that they’ve improved upon their previous practices after going through the certification process compared to when they were operating independently?

We find that people that want to be certified are already going to be leaning towards a sustainable philosophy. So how much that changes as a result of certification varies. Some people say that they were doing all the stuff before, but they weren’t keeping records of it. Others say that they had to change a few things in order to comply with some of the rules. Really, it’s just different case by case.

 

 

Check back next week for the final installment of our interview with Kris as well as reviews of SIP Certified wines from Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County.

 

 

Reviews of SIP Certified wines from the Enda Valley:

 

Winery: Baileyana

Grape(s): Chardonnay

Region: Edna Valley

Special Designation: Firepeak Vineyard

Year: 2009

Price: 25-30

Review

A bouquet of pineapple, citrus, and creamy oak rises up from a glass. The palate delivers lively notes of tropical fruit and lemon along with suggestions of vanilla and toasted coconut. With a welcoming acidity and a nice balance of fruit and barrel notes, fans of crisper Chardonnays will enjoy this wine.

Rating: 89

 

Winery: Baileyana

Grape(s): Pinot Noir

Region: Edna Valley

Special Designation: Firepeak Vineyard

Year: 2009

Price: 25-30

Review

Aromas of black cherry, strawberry, and raspberry jam combine with hints of vanilla and candied walnuts on the nose. Flavors of cherries and boysenberries meld with suggestions of all-spice and mineral on the palate. An approachable Pinot, fans of dark fruit and a light mineral character will enjoy this wine.

Rating: 89

 

Winery: Chamisal Vineyards

Grape(s): Pinot Noir

Region: Edna Valley

Year: 2010

Price: 35-40

Review

A bouquet of cherries, plums, smoked meat, and spicy oak greets the senses. A sip reveals flavors of bing cherry and tart raspberry accented by notes of game, earth, and spice. A light, lively Pinot, fans of bright fruit and a softer body will enjoy this wine.

Rating: 86

 

Winery: Chamisal Vineyards

Grape(s): Chardonnay

Region: Edna Valley

Year: 2010

Price: 20-25

Review

Aromas of pineapple, white peach, and fresh figs mingle with notes of vanilla and sweet spice on the nose. Flavors of pineapple and pear emerge on the palate accented by highlights of vanilla and lemon. A light Chardonnay with a moderate acidity, if you like easy-going whites, give this bottle a try.

Rating: 86

 

Winery: Claiborne & Churchill

Grape(s): Riesling

Region: Edna Valley

Year: 2010

Price: 15-20

Review

Aromatics of peaches, apples, and honeysuckle greet the senses. After a sip, flavors of green apple, pear, and citrus fruits unfold on the palate along with a few floral notes. A nice, crisp wine that’s ideal for pairing with food, pick-up a bottle if you enjoy light, floral whites with a fresh acidity.

Rating: 88

 

Winery: Claiborne & Churchill

Grape(s): Pinot Gris

Region: Central Coast

Year: 2010

Price: 15-20

Review

A bouquet of honeydew melons, pears, minerals, and almonds rises up from a glass. The palate delivers flavors of melon, pear, and apricot accented by notes of honey, floral and black licorice suggestions. Quite rich and round for a Pinot Gris, it’s perfect for fans of mouth-filling whites.

Rating: 90

 

Winery: Tangent

Grape(s): Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Edna Valley

Year: 2010

Price: 10-15

Review

A bouquet of tropical and citrus fruits with an accent of fresh minerals greet the senses. A sip delivers flavors of lime, grapefruit, and mango along with highlights of grass and minerals. A fairly light, lively white, fans of crisp Sauvignon Blancs will enjoy this bottle.

Rating: 89

 

Winery: Tangent

Grape(s): Albarino

Region: Edna Valley

Year: 2010

Price: 15-20

Review

Aromatics of grapefruit, tangerine, lime, and white peach rise up from a glass. Citrus fruits and peach flavors meld with suggestions of minerals and grass on the palate. A lively wine, with a nice, round mouthfeel, this bottle is ideal for fans of crisp whites with a light mineral character.

Rating: 90

 

Winery: Tolosa Vineyards

Grape(s): Syrah

Region: Edna Valley

Year: 2009

Price: 25-30

Review

Aromas of blackberries and plums meld with suggestions of leather and floral notes on the nose. The palate offers flavors of bramble fruit and plum with accents of spice, oak, and anise. A Syrah modest spice and supple tannins, this is a red for fans of reds with a nice balance of fruit and non-fruit flavors.

Rating: 89

 

Winery: Tolosa Vineyards

Grape(s): Pinot Noir

Region: Edna Valley

Year: 2009

Price: 25-30

Review

A bouquet of bing cherries, plums, and earth rises up from a glass. The palate opens up with flavors of black cherry and plum accented by hints of chalky minerals and soft spice. A laid-back red with a slight mineral character, fans of wine that are easy-to-drink but dry at the finish will enjoy this bottle.

Rating: 87

 

Winery: Tolosa Vineyards

Grape(s): Chardonnay

Region: Edna Valley

Year: 2009

Price: 20-25

Review

Aromatics of green apple and Asian pear accented by hints of chalky earth and citrus peal rise up from a glass. The palate offers flavors of pear, apple, and tangerine along with suggestions of minerals and spice. A crisp Chardonnay that’s fairly dry but still offers plenty of fruit, it’s a ideal bottle for warm spring evenings and grilled seafood.

Rating: 88

 

Winery: Zocker

Grape(s): Gruner Veltimer

Region: Edna Valley

Year: 2011

Price: 15-20

Review

A bouquet of lemon, honeydew, minerals, and white spice greets the senses. The palate delivers notes of melon and citrus fruits that meld nicely with suggestions of minerals and coriander. A crisp, clean white, fans of lively fruit and a light chalky character will enjoy this bottle.

Rating: 90