Over the past decade, our 40+ year old vineyard yields have been dropping significantly and new clone developments were proven ideal for our terroir. As such, we realized that the time had come to embrace a gradual vineyard replant. Recruiting highly esteemed vineyard consultant Kelly Maher alongside Kirk, we initiated a 7-year (3 phase) vineyard replant in 2004.
Our overarching intent was to replace the weakest block of the vineyard first so that we could preserve the older vines that were still flourishing. Futhermore, by replanting in phases, this strategy would ensure that we would never use fruit sourced from vines younger than 7 years old in our estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
In 2004, we planted Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot to add layers of complexity to our estate Cabernet Sauvignon. We planted a combined total of one acre consisting
of Cabernet Franc clone 332, rootstalk 101-14 as well as Petit Verdot clone 3, rootstalk 101-14 in our southwestern block of the vineyard.
In 2006, we planted 2 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon using clone 337 rootstalk 101-14 in the northeast block of the vineyard. Finally in 2010, we replanted the southeastern block with Cabernet Sauvignon clone 4 and 15, rootstalk 1616C.
At JAX Vineyards we adhere to a sustainable approach to farming. An integral piece of this strategy is the use of a cover crop to impart nutrients into the soil and root system. As the cover crop matures, we till the nutrients into deeper layers of the soil. We also exclusively use organic compost in an effort to reduce our use of fertilizers. When we do use fertilizers, we select organic or sustainable sourced items that are chosen according to the tissue sampling that we complete onsite.
We rarely use the same regimen year over year in an effort to use only what is needed. Our minimal intervention approach is to maintain the soil quality and composition without using damaging fertilizers that leach into the soil and ground water.
Harvesting by hand is a fundamental piece to our fruit quality control as well as our sustainable practice standards. Although this is highly labor intensive, this allows us to select only the ripe grapes while discarding unripe and raisined grapes. Additionally, by hand picking the grapes, the grape clusters are not damaged or punctured in the process. This is particularly important because oxidation occurs once a grape is punctured. After harvest, we estimate that 50% of our crop is dropped (between dropping throughout growing season and hand selection at harvest) ensuring that only the most premium grapes are used in our estate Cabernet Sauvignon.