Hello Friends of Belden Barns - Summer is in full swing and here's what we're up to.....

 

Belden Barns Wins Double Gold

The American Fine Wine Competition recently presented their 2015 awards and Belden Barns received the following:

Double Gold:  2014 Estate Sauvignon Blanc

Gold:  2012 Estate Syrah

Silver:  2014 Estate Rosé

Of note, these are the only wines we submitted this past year.  Our Sauvignon Blanc was the lowest priced wine to win the Double Gold designation - we're delivering on our promise of reasonably priced wines at a high quality level!  In 2015, both of our Belden Barns Pinot Noirs received Double Gold (our Estate Pinot Noir happened to be the lowest priced Double Gold wine in that competition - notice a trend here?).  This invitation-only competition has already asked us to submit a handful of our current releases for consideration when the event is held at the end of this year.

 

Vineyard Update

The vineyard is looking fantastic!  Last year, a cool/wet spell in Spring caused a lot of shatter (unpollinated flowers in the grape clusters leading to a reduction in berries per cluster).  No such problem this year, as we're seeing what looks like a "normal" crop to this point.  We still sell a majority of our fruit to other small producers, so this news is welcome from both a farming and winemaking standpoint.  Bountiful rains this winter followed by some spring precipitation provided for a lot of early vigor in the vines, which look as healthy as they have in our eleven years growing fruit at our site.  Now, with more heat and no more rain, the vines are settling in and turning focus away from producing leaves and starting to put their energy into fruit production.  In the next few weeks we will witness grapes turning green to pink as veraison hits.  Harvest will be here before we know it!

 

Farmstead Update

Jenny & Vince Trotter, who run the Farmstead operation at Belden Barns, expanded their work on site this Spring.  The Trotters organized a special day for over 160 new cider trees to be planted with the help of friends and neighbors.  Those that participated even named trees.  If you would like to come by and do some light weeding or future pruning, there are still some trees without monikers - just saying.  

Last year's test plot of vegetables informed this year's planting decisions and the vegetable plot was doubled in size.  The already sizeable asparagus stand between our Grüner Veltliner and Sauvignon Blanc vineyard blocks was increased by 60 percent.  Our thoughts are firmly focused on a future "Field to Friend" Spring day of folks getting out to "pick and pair" some amazing produce with our amazing wines.

To see more of what the Trotters are up to at Belden Barns, you can check out their Instagram feed HERE 

 

Good News

Our vineyard has been certified sustainable under the guidelines established by the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission.  Sonoma County’s Winegrowers take a triple-bottom line approach to sustainable practices that measure grape growers’ commitment to being socially responsible in how they treat their employees, neighbors, and community, environmentally conscientious with their farming and winery practices, and economic viability as a business.

The process started with completing a vineyard self-assessment that included a comprehensive set of 138 best practices (rated on a scale of 1-4). A plan was then developed for documenting year-over-year improvement focused on water conservation, water quality, energy efficiency, treatment of employees and neighbors, business viability and other practices. Then, an independent, third party auditor reviewed our assessment answers, conducted an onsite visit to evaluate practices and information, and reviewed our annual improvement plan. These independent auditors are environmental scientists, biologists, chemists, professors, geologists, among other environmental practice areas, and are trained to evaluate sustainable practices within a vineyard. Our vineyard passed the audit and received certification.

A huge thanks goes to our vineyard manager, Chris Bowland, and his team for compiling the data and shepherding the process leading to our certification.  While sustainability means many things to many people, we feel proud to have our vineyard certified under this protocol.  We particularly like that this is not a one-time audit, but requires continuous improvement to maintain certification going forward.

 

Exciting New Placements

Distribution to restaurants and wine retailers is an important part of our business.  It allows us to get our wines in front of new customers and validates the quality of our wines when they are placed with high-quality purveyors.  Within California, we can sell directly to any shop or restaurant (that is, once we land a coveted apointment to pour for them).  The expanding list of those that carry Belden Barns in California is the result of us personally knocking on doors (many, many, many times in some cases).  

Outside California, a winery is required by law to use a distribution partner to sell wine.  Because we are small and the distribution business is ever larger and ever consolidating, we have had minimal success in landing distribution for our wines to date.  To an extent, that is going to change.  As the result of some licensing gymnastics, and spending the day at a Manhattan DMV, we are now able to self distribute in New York.  So, those of you Belden Barns fans that have a New York-based restaurant you think would be a good fit for our wines, please drop us a line.  Extra credit if you happen to have a connection in the NY wine or restaurant scene.  Lauren is headed to Manhattan this fall to pound the pavement, and we can always use a leg up.  Further good news for New Yorkers - three of our wines will soon be on the shelf at Astor Wines, the largest wine shop in Manhattan.  Thanks to Lorena Ascencios, head wine buyer for Astor, in taking the time to thoughtfully taste through our portfolio and understand our story.  Astor is a big feather in our cap.

It would take us another three pages to express how and why we love the new accounts we've picked up.  Without further ado, here they are (including our first Southern California supporter!):

Astor Wines - New York

Park Avenue Restaurant - Stanton (Los Angeles)

Spoonbar - Healdsburg

Valette - Healdsburg

Vintage Wine & Spirits - Mill Valley

Wine Kitchen - San Francisco

 

Until Next Time.....

As always, please keep us in mind when you're heading up to wine country.  We love to host private tastings for six or more people, share our vision, give you tours of our site, and have you hang a wish on our (super powerful) Wishing Tree.  And for a real-time taste of what we're doing, follow our Instagram feed HERE

Stay cool (unless you're in SF, in which case, stay warm)!

Lauren and Nate

 

 

 

Belden Barns
5561 Sonoma Mountain Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
415-577-8552

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Belden Barns
5561 Sonoma Mountain Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
415-577-8552

 

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