Atascadero Creek Winery

Philosophy and Methods

Winemaking Philosophy and Methods

With each of the wines, Bob Appleby is trying to capture a snapshot of the essence from each particular vineyard for that particular growing season. He is a firm believer in single vineyard designation wines, each like a musical instrument, unique unto itself.

His goal as winemaker is to develop highly individualized single-vineyard wines, each representing the vineyard from which the fruit is grown. He’s been selecting individual vineyards with specialized characteristics and qualities, and has attempted to develop those characteristics into wines with stylized flavors and aromas, unique to that vineyard.

As the flavor of the fruit becomes the flavor of the wine, harvesting the fruit at the optimum time allows him to develop splendid wines with a minimum of manipulation. Wine appeal is developed not only by the clone and the rootstock used, but a myriad of other influences including the location and exposure of the vineyard, as well as the highly variable yearly growing season. Soil type, drainage, trellising type, irrigation, and fruit load all contribute significantly to the overall flavors and uniqueness of each individual vineyard.

All his wines are made in very small quantities, usually 1 to 2 tons, and literally, by hand. He does not crush, but destem the grapes only. The fermentation of the mostly whole grapes takes place in small open-top fermenters. The cap is worked back into the must several times each day during fermentation. The juice is removed and poured back over the cap to provide constant aeration throughout the fermentation. Each lot is pressed separately in a small hand-operated basket press, where it usually takes most of a day to press a single ton. The wine is aged in French oak barrels for 10 to 15 months for the Pinots, and as long as two years for some of the Merlots and Zinfandels.