A discussion with Bill Williamson.
Our vision was to produce limited lots of iconic wines recognized for their flavor, quality and consistency. Then to share and enjoy this limited bounty with a group of friends.
The grape vine is the source of all wine. Reaching the highest level of quality in wine is only possible by starting with the highest quality fruit. There are multiple interactive factors to consider in achieving highest fruit quality. Selecting a site, the average length of the ripening season, the normal annual weather conditions, the soil type, fertility and drainage, the topography, sun exposure, and likely pest problems all need to be taken into account well before the first vine is planted. The combination of these factors is referred to as "terroir".
Terroir factors determine vine variety, vine density, row direction and spacing, irrigation and frost protection methods, vine trellis system, fertilization and pest control management. The decisions we made on these issues are embedded in our Vineyard Protocols which focus the operations of our vineyard management teams.
Terroir and grape variety in turn affect choices in crop load, canopy management, harvesting and pruning. Every small decision in establishing and maintaining our vineyards was based on a commitment to highest quality while maintaining a watch over practical economy. Yet even the most careful decisions are ultimately at the whim of our partner in this endeavor, Mother Nature herself. Farming techniques employed on the Williamson Wines estate vineyards are dictated by our Vineyard Protocols.
In mid 1990s we decided that our farming practices should be in accordance with the California Code of Sustainable Winegrowing Practices which are both sensitive to the environment and responsive to the interests of society. The main values of this set of practices are:
- Produce the best quality grapes and wine possible
- Protect the environment and conserve natural resources
- Maintain the long-term viability of the agricultural property