While it’s absolutely true that grapevines can grow like weeds almost anywhere, growing Tre Gatti’s bold, luscious Syrah requires certain climate and soil conditions. A productive vineyard should have ample heat and sunshine during the day to ripen the fruit and be cool enough at night for the grapes to retain a crisp acidity. The vineyard should be free from late-spring frosts and have lean soils. The vines should have to compete for nutrients, channeling mid-season growth into the fruit rather than canopy. If the vineyard is situated on a hillside, has good drainage and maximum exposure to sunlight, so much the better. Happily, we’re fortunate to have all of the above.

Quality, Quality, Quality

We have been known to be somewhat flip about a lot of things, but when it comes to quality, we’re pretty serious. From the get-go, we knew quality was our bottom line and everything we did had to lead to that outcome. Our mission statement is one word: QUALITY! Period!

We felt there were some advantages for us to grow Syrah in the old world tradition. Shaping the vines in a “goblet” form allows sunlight to reach not only this year’s grapes, but also next year’s fruiting buds. Without wires strung along the rows, we can maneuver between vines easily. Most growers graft their vines onto phylloxera-resistant rootstock, but we were adamant about wanting the vines on their own roots in order for the vines to express their true varietal characteristics. After all, we reasoned, we wouldn’t want to walk around in someone else’s shoes and neither would the vines (so to speak).

Is It Art or Is It Science?

Modern grape growing is considered both an art and a science. We include scientific aspects in our vineyard practices, but lean a little more toward the “art” side of things. We’re pretty sure it’s our attention to detail that makes the difference.

  • We hand prune the vines in the winter, paying particular attention to their structure. Well-structured vines have more evenly placed fruit, insuring better ripening in the summer.
  • We carefully remove any extra shoots when they are about 2 feet long. This keeps the canopy open, providing sunlight for the developing fruit and next year’s buds.
  • Throughout the season, we remove small, superfluous clusters allowing the vines to focus their growth energy on the primary clusters. That’s why our grapes develop those rich, luscious flavors you’ve come to love in Tre Gatti wines.
  • Just before harvest, we drop inconsistent or green fruit, keeping only the clusters that will enhance the quality of the wine.

Sustainability = Respect for the Land

Paul was raised here in the San Antonio Valley and learned about respect for the land at an early age. Back then they didn’t refer to “sustainable farming”. They simply understood that caring for the land was the key to their future.

We decided early on that we’d practice sustainable agriculture, using renewable and recyclable resources whenever possible. Tre Gatti Vineyards might be small but in our opinion, being good stewards of the land shouldn’t be a function of size.

Our “tre gatti” (three cats) are impressive custodians of the vineyard and have allowed us to significantly reduce the gopher population without the use of chemicals or potentially harmful mechanical gopher removal methods.

We use natural stylet oil to keep the leaf-hopper population at a manageable level while allowing beneficial insects to thrive.

Prior to winter rains, we cultivate and condition the soil between the vine rows allowing the winter rains to soak into the ground. This practice prevents run-off and significantly reduces erosion on our hillside. In the late winter and early spring we have a natural cover crop of beneficial weeds and natural grasses, further reducing potential erosion as the ground becomes saturated.

Even our “vineyard vehicle” is green (literally and figuratively). It’s an electric golf cart, modified with a lift kit and oversize tires so it can negotiate the rough terrain in the vineyard. Its carbon footprint is minimal and it’s quiet going through the vineyard. We think the resident quail appreciate that!

Because we’re passionate about the land and the fruit it bears, because we work diligently to ensure the best possible quality, and because we employ sustainable agricultural practices, our reward is harvest after harvest of grapes with great concentration, intensity and a true sense of place.