Get the Dirt about Mountain Tides Wine Co. from winemaker Scott Kirkpatrick

7 Mar

MountainTidesPeople1. What was your first vintage year? 2016

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? In 2016 we started off with 75 cases. In 2017 we made 225 cases, and in 2018 we made about 900 cases worth. We definitely won’t make more than that this year.

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? Can people make an appointment? We can do tastings where we make our wine, but we do not have our own tasting room. Folks can make an appointment with us if they are interested in a tasting.

4. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery? There wasn’t one wine that did it. It started with a love for wine that got deeper and deeper as I explored it. That led me to want to know more about how it was made so I moved to Napa to work a Harvest. As a formerly full-time musician, I’ve always put a lot of value on creating my own work, so having my own project was a natural progression.

MountainTidesGrapes25. What varietals do you work with?  Why? We only work with the Petite Sirah grape. For so long I think it has been underutilized and passed off as a grape that was only good for blending as a color add, for dessert wines, and for folks who want the darkest, heaviest wine possible. I wanted to see whether or not it could be a compelling variety on it’s own, and how well it would translate the terroir where it’s grown.

6. What vineyards do you source from? Why? We currently source from vineyards in Contra Costa County (in Knightsen and in Byron), in the Clements Hills AVA, Dry Creek Valley, and in the Borden Ranch AVA. We are just always on the lookout for interesting vineyards that are being farmed with love and respect for the fruit and the earth. We are grateful to get to work with so much beautiful fruit.

7. What type of oak treatment do you use? Why? We use 100% neutral oak barrels. We are really trying to showcase how pretty the aromatics and texture on Petite Sirah can be when handled with a light touch. New oak barrels tend to mask those subtle aromatics and delicate flavors so its a no brainer for us to stay away from it.

MoountainTidesVyd We love all the regions where our vineyards are and they are all special for different reasons.

● Contra Costa County has such an old-school mentality to everything and we love that. Also the vineyards are almost all grown in the sand of the Sacramento Delta which allows the wines to have really pretty, light aromatics that are hard to find elsewhere.

● The Clements Hills AVA in Lodi is a beautiful area with really intense red clay soil that gives the wine a richness that we haven’t found anywhere else. This is where we purchased our first fruit in 2016.

● Dry Creek Valley is such a historic area for California wine and has so many incredible vineyards. We work with the Grist Vineyard and it is a magical place farmed by the Hambrecht Family. We will be bottling this wine in the winter and releasing our first vintage in the Spring of 2020.

● Borden Ranch is a really cool area split between Sacramento County and San Joaquin County that traditionally had almost all the fruit grown there go into extremely high-volume low-cost wines. There is a vineyard there near the decommissioned Rancho Seco plant that was the home vineyard of famed Lodi grower Gerald Cresci until he passed a few years back at the age of 92. Gary and Melody Palmero live there now and farm the vineyard. It’s a really special place and we’re so excited we get to work with the fruit.

MountainTidesWines9. What’s the story behind your winery name / label? I am originally from the Midwest, so when I moved out here I was instantly struck by the dynamic landscape. The earth is always moving whether we notice it or not, and as it has been moving for so long, it has created all of these mountains, valleys, and complex soils that allow us to grow grapes that make beautiful wine. We wanted to honor that natural history.

10. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery? Everyone told us how hard it would be, and they were definitely right. I purposely didn’t listen to too much advice because in order for it to work, you have to ignore everyone and just make it happen. One thing that has been surprising for us is how many wonderful people we have been able to meet.

11. Most importantly, what’s so great about being small? What can you do as a small winemaker, that wouldn’t be possible for larger wineries? I think that being small allows us to connect better with our community. Wine is a transformative, beautiful thing, but it pales in comparison to the importance of being a kind and caring person who makes the world a better place. Staying small allows us to keep that in focus.

12. How do you view the future in the wine industry for small-lot winemakers? I think there is a great future for small-lot winemakers if they are making honest wines. So much of our food culture has shifted to wanted their purveyors to be transparent, progressive and sustainable. Clearly we’ve already seen the wine community shift that way as well and I think it will only continue to move in that direction.

13. If you could choose another wine region to work in what would it be? More than a specific region, I would just really love to work with more old-vine Petite Sirah. There are some really beautiful vineyards out there that I’d love to be able to work with. However, I have also been wanting to do a Sierra Foothills Petite Sirah.

For more information about Mountain Tides Wine Co., please visit their website or follow them on FACEBOOK.

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