Blackbird Vineyards' approach to winemaking involves intensive, hands-on, "best practice" techniques to achieve the highest representation of terroir in our age worthy wines. These combined efforts serve to achieve wines of great complexity, richness of fruit, and overall distinction.
Premium vineyard management - Renteria Vineyard Management combines practical and generational field knowledge with innovative trials and experimentation to grow the finest grapes possible at Blackbird Vineyards through precision agriculture.
Precision agriculture - we believe in "doing the right thing, in the right place, at the right time" through specific farming methods that optimize the health of the Blackbird vineyard, including limiting grape yields and increasing quality, while also minimizing environmental impacts.
Sustainable farming - Blackbird Vineyards rarely uses commercial pesticides, herbicides or artificial fertilizers. Additionally, organic materials from farming and harvest are readily put back into the soils as compost. The vineyard has a permanent cover crop of native grasses, flowers and legumes planted as ground cover between the rows of vines; they are never ploughed under, only mowed. These efforts serve to create a more balanced wildlife and habitat for our workers, neighbors, and even the winery dog-a French bulldog named Oliver.
Rigorous grape selection - in some cases, Blackbird Vineyards winemaking team will double or triple sort our fruit (examined for health) to guarantee the best possible grape selection from each lot before winemaking begins.
Indigenous yeasts - this means Blackbird wines are made with less interventionist techniques since the vineyard's native yeast starts the fermentation process naturally.
Cépage or blending - with their sophisticated and highly-trained palates, the Blackbird winemaking team nurtures each lot to produce the most exceptional blends from each vintage. By selecting two or more different parcels of wine after sample trials, our winemaking team blends them together to produce a consistent finished wine highlighting each unique varietal component.
Barrel regime - the use of French oak plays a significant role in Blackbird's wines and has a profound effect on the flavor, tannin profile, and the texture of our wines. Blackbird uses 100% French oak barrels made from fine cooperages for a more subtle flavor profile than American oak. The place of origin, how the staves were cut and dried, and degree of "toast" applied are all considered when selecting a barrel for Blackbird. We utilize different toasting levels for each cooper, for example, Bossuet is a medium, Taransaud is a heavy minus, and Seguin-Moreau is a medium plus. This attention to detail promotes complete harmony between wood and fruit flavors with each new vintage. Blackbird's barrels are seasoned to our specifications for density, suppleness of tannins, flavor, and ageability. Our wines are 100% French oak aged with approximately 70% new and 30% seasoned barrels for at least 20 months.