Learn, discuss, and share lessons in Viticulture and Enology experienced from the people behind Larner Vineyard & Winery, located in Ballard Canyon AVA - Santa Barbara's Wine Country's Syrah territory.
n. To classify and map layers of rock, geologists created a basic unit of stratigraphy called a formation. This rock unit must be distinctive enough in appearance that it can be easily recognized from other surrounding rock layers and it also has to be thick and extensive enough to correlate across wide distances between outcrops and exposures. Formations are typically named after a geographic name of a permanent feature near the location where the rocks are exposed, and when a dominant rock type, such as sandstone or shale is present, it is commonly included in the name.
Larner Vineyard is found in the Careaga Sandstone Formation (Tca) that dates back to the Pliocene Epoch (2.58 to 5.33 Million Years Ago) where in 1999 its organic vines were planted. This relatively young geologic formation through erosion is the origin of our estate’s sandy loams and blocks that have occasional rounded boulders and cobbles from upper elevations with lenses of the Paso Robles Conglomerate Formation (QTp). These resultant soils produce quick draining infertile growing conditions, where the grapevines struggle enough to focus energy on ripening its fruit to the fullest potential.
As we enter into the 2017 harvest, the vines are relieved with another warm but at least a more moist growing season, with vineyard yields about normal, canopy growth surpassing previous years, and most importantly an extended window to pick fruit slowly and methodically to capture the best flavors with balanced acidity. That is the essence of a formation, where like rock units, each grape varietal is distinctive enough in this ideal growing season to form wines that will easily be recognized from its surrounding vintages.
However, the word formation can also used to describe the structure, arrangement or even the process of forming something. For the Larner Family, the 2017 vintage is monumental since after many years of legal, political, and local governmental planning, we begin the formation of our Estate Winery – breaking ground in 2018.
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