Back to Basics? We Never Left!

By John Concannon

Spring is a time of rebirth, renewal and new beginnings. Nowhere is there a greater example of this than in our vineyards. Simply put, quality wine comes from quality grown grapes.

At Concannon, we believe in supporting “Mother Nature” through natural efforts. All of the grapes that go into a bottle of Concannon wine are from “sustainably” farmed vineyards. This means that we employ practices that are 1) sensitive to the environment, 2) responsive to the needs and interests of society-at-large, and 3) economically feasible to implement and maintain. We will be certified Organic in 2011 and have phased in many “biodynamic” practices.

Since adopting biodynamic practices in 2006, the Concannon estate vineyard has changed. The ripening of the grapes and their acidity are all different. For example, grapes grown by biodynamic methods often ripen 7 to 10 days earlier than in neighboring vineyards. In short, there is more life in our soil. We tasted wines made before and after the biodynamic principles were introduced and the comparison blew our minds! The wines made under the new regime were lighter, cleaner, and purer. There was no doubt about it, the wines had more energy.

In Harmony with the elements—Concannon is recognized as one of the most cost efficient and carbon efficient vintners in the world.

Earth-Go for the Gravel: My great grandfather, James Concannon, who became America’s first Irish Vintner, believed he could replicate the quality of famed Chateau Y’Quem since our gravelly soils match the famed Graves region of Bordeaux. The Livermore Valley is an ancient riverbed with 70% rock 500 feet deep, which promotes very high drainage, even though the vineyards are flat; we can produce good quality fruit flavors this way. The vines must grow deep roots in search of the fast draining water, which allows them to withstand frosts and heat spikes thrown at us by Mother Nature.

Sun–Notably Natural: When deciding on a modernized winery design for years to come, we built one of the most advanced solar powered wineries in the United States, thus reducing our dependence upon carbon based energy.

It’s amazing the lengths we go to in order to maintain the profile of how Concannon has made wine since 1883. One hundred and twenty-eight years is a long time, and although we have changed, our basic philosophy is the same: To make a great quality wine for a fair price.

I am truly privileged to represent the 4th Generation of a farming family who believes in keeping our traditions alive and in balance.

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