Gorham Vineyards is approximately one acre of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon planted in two distinct blocks (or areas) located in the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA. The vineyard is approximately 6 miles east of the quaint town of Santa Ynez, California. The Vineyard was planted in 2006 and the first harvest was in the fall of 2008. The last few years the Vineyard has produced 2-3 tons of grapes per year, resulting in between 100 and 180 cases of wine each year. The early years of 2008-10 had a limited yield resulting in a small amount of bottles produced ( 10-30 cases per year).
The one acre vineyard is broken up into two areas or blocks; a north-south block and an east-west block. Each block has different sun exposure and ripens at slightly different times. The north- south block is exposed to hot afternoon sun on the west side of the vines and usually ripens before the east -west block that has a more uniform sun exposure. The north -south block also has less wind exposure due to the north -south vine rows that help block the prevailing west winds. This results in better fruit set in the spring but more issues with the possibility of powdery mildew in the early summer. The different blocks are picked separately in the fall but eventually blended when the wine is placed in barrel.
Our vineyard is managed by Tim and Susan Gorham with the additional help of our vineyard worker. Experienced outside workers also helps us when we are in need of a big crew for pruning and picking. We use 100% organic methods of farming but we are not officially certified organic. All weeding, pruning and picking is done by hand and only organic sprays of stylet oil (mineral oil) and powdered sulfur are used to prevent mildew in the spring and early summer.
Water from a drip system is applied sparingly if dry conditions prevail. In the Spring before the rains, a cover crop of sweet peas, oats and barley are planted in the rows which act as a nitrogen fixing source of fertilizer for the vines. The row crops are cut down in early summer and tilled into the soil for added nutrition for the vines. No artificial chemical fertilizers are used in the vineyard.