Wise Acre’s soil falls into the best of both worlds. Yes, it is a rocky hillside, sitting at an elevation of 680 feet, and yes, it is a nutrient healthy soil with significant depth. The soil is described as Forward Gravelly-Aiken Loam. This volcanic soil is high in minerals and rests in a pocket on the hillside that starts with a slope of 11% and ends at 1% (7% average). With excellent drainage, the vines struggle but never experience such intensity as to cause damage to their physiological equilibrium (shutting down their maturing process) in a high heat wave. Add to that our irrigation strategy we call, Tapered Irrigation Management, where we apply very timely, carefully proportioned amounts of well water (based on summer’s rolling temperatures) to each of the three sections, and you get a gentle fluctuation of energy flow into the berries throughout the growing season. The stimulus is there to trigger each vine into putting out much effort to ripen the grapes, and it is able to take in rich nutrients along the way. By asking these vines to plateau on and off in the struggling phase all summer, they bring forth berries at harvest loaded with juice, abounding with flavor.
We manage a year-round cover crop to maintain soil stability and structure. After going to seed, we mow. This allows the cover crop nutrients to go back into the soil and help maintain soil moisture. We personally tend to each vine by hand, along with assistance from Daniel Mendoza. We farm organically and bio-correctly (a term Kirk uses to describe his unique blend of farming practice).
Farming is a craft which requires skill and artistry and results in a unique soil and farm individuality. To us, farming is the ultimate process of managing both the environment and the crop. If the management is correct, the farm contributes to the Wise Acre Vineyard overall health of the people and environment around it. We are proud of what we have created on our small farm. Every meal we prepare includes crops we have grown, and the surpluses are passed on to friends and neighbors. From garlic to giant pumpkins, the food we grow, eat, and give is wholesome and tasty.
To accomplish this we incorporate the best of Kirk’s 32 years of organic, biodynamic, and progressively sustainable agricultural practices. The result is something Kirk developed called Bio-Correct farming. By combining these practices, we carefully mimic the natural processes of a stable environment. The farm, like the natural environment, is in a constant dynamic that, when healthy, is capable of being greater than the sum of its parts. Our farm, Wise Acre, has a truly distinctive, farm personality, and that is expressed in our Cabernet Sauvignon.
But the cornerstone of our farm is the vineyard. We believe the grapes that come from it are the ultimate expression of our farm. We take great pride in doing the work ourselves. The vineyard radiates the positive, nurturing effort that we put into it. From canopy management to fertility management – from above ground to below ground – we shepherd our vineyard in an extremely intimate manner. The result is evident in our wine. It is a wine both powerful and elegant. It has a balance of structure and softness, fruit and mineral, as well as a clear sense of place.