Q: How many years have you worked at Gainey? A: In September it will be 9-years.
Q: How did you get into winemaking? A: When I was 18, I found out I was going to be a father and needed a job. I was living on the central coast at the time and my dad suggested I get a job in the local wine industry. In 1997, I had my first job at Fess Parker Winery. It was sometime in my second year that I caught the winemaking bug. I discovered I had aptitude for and passion for it. I can so clearly remember the day I came to realize that winemaking was what I wanted to do with my life. Almost twenty years later I am still pleased with that decision.
There are a variety of ways to ferment and store wine nowadays: oak barrels, stainless steel tanks, glass containers, and plastic. Historically, before the 1600’s, wines were stored and sold in wooden barrels because glass bottles weren’t around yet
John Falcone is our General Manager & Director of Winemaking at Gainey He oversees all operations at the winery and provides crucial direction to the winemaking team.He began making wine in Santa Barbara County in 2001, following a 13-year winemaking stint in Napa Valley. Having garnered consistent critical acclaim for his wines over the years, John remains focused on “making wine in the vineyard.” We like to joke that he has a PhD in wine because his knowledge of wine runs a wide depth and breadth.
With 100% estate-grown wines, our vineyards receive a lot of attention. Good grapes equal good wine. Grapevines don’t continue to produce quality fruit decade after decade, so it’s imperative to replant as the years move forward. This year, we’ve been busy replanting some of our acreage.
Harvest has begun here at Gainey. It’s when we turn from farmers into chemists. For most of the year, we are farmers, ensuring the grapes have the best chance at growing successfully and creating premium fruit. Ample amounts of sunshine, water, soil amendment, pruning, and some good luck all play into it. But once the grapes are ready to be picked, we turn into scientists trying to manage the fermentation process, keep the pH levels correct, test for acidity, and more.
Estate wineries are what most people picture when they imagine going wine tasting: a pastoral setting with Instagram-able views of vineyards, high-end wines, and outdoor seating. The Santa Ynez Valley is filled with beautiful estate wineries that fulfill all the expectations of what a day of wine tasting should be. The wine tasting experience at an estate winery can end up being more transformative and experiential. Standing in the actual place where the grapes are grown and produced helps connect people to the land, the history, and the energy of the place. It rounds out the experience in a way that a non- estate tasting rooms can’t provide.
We are often asked after a solid rainfall season “how did the rain affect the vineyards?”
And it’s a tricky question, because it can be positive or negative depending on timing during the vines growing cycle. We like winter rains—and yet we don’t like rain after berry set (May/June) or too close to harvest. The amount of rain makes a difference depending on the time of year as well. Winter = great. Late Summer and Fall rains = problematic.