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Ledge Vineyards




Mark Adams
September 26, 2018 | Mark Adams

That Was a Good Drum Break

First Adams Ranch bottling, 2006 with (left to right) Olivia and Colin Smith, Sid (the dog), me, Ciera and Laura Kay. 

Today was magical because we picked the 2018 Adams Ranch Syrah and Roussanne and we are even more excited now than we were then. Better yet, my brother, his wife and two boys, my wife, my daughter, Jordan Collins and good ol' Bobby Fox all helped deliver that beautiful fruit into a fermenter where all the magic happens. It's ticking away right now! 

Harvest is on. Grapes are flying. So many grapes. It's exhilarating, exhausting and completely awesome. Sunrise after sunrise. Tractors, heavy lifting, forklifts, sorting tables and fermenters. This is what it's all about. 

I can't wait for tomorrow. 

Good night.  



Time Posted: Sep 26, 2018 at 10:45 PM Permalink to That Was a Good Drum Break Permalink
Mark Adams
September 19, 2018 | Mark Adams

Keep on Moving

Not much of a story tonight folks, partly because harvest has begun and I'm a bit spent. Also I need to get my arse to a bachelor party for the rest of the weekend with one of my dearest college buddies down at Leo Carillo near Malibu. I am stoked to be back at the caves at Saxum, assisting my buddy and mentor Justin Smith, who joyfully encouraged the trek before the shit really hits the fan. Justin has known my buddy Arash since the 90s and knows what a special occasion this is. Best work environment ever.

Congrats Arash! We have pictures of you helping us plant the first Ledge block, but could not find them tonight. When we toss one up you will already be married : )

We pick about 7 tons for Ledge next week. 

Everything looks great.

We're all pumped.


Time Posted: Sep 19, 2018 at 11:36 PM Permalink to Keep on Moving Permalink
Mark Adams
September 12, 2018 | Mark Adams

Still Crazy After All These Years

Ciera (Tammy Wynette) and her roomate Julie (Cher) in L.A., 2004.

The story of our vineyard and winery is built around the support of those who allowed (and even encouraged) us to dream big.  To those who didn't mention how crazy it was to plant a vineyard without experience or financial backing. Thanks guys! We're still crazy after all these years.

Syrah cuttings prior to planting, Spring 2005

Trimming all of these sticks down to size was pure insanity. We did nothing but clip. As mentioned in the last blog, we called it our "A.B.C.s" or "Always Be Clipping".  What wasnt mentioned was the "D" part of the equation. As the hours rolled on and our fingers began to blister our mantra became the "A.B.C.D.s" or "Always Be Clipping Drunk".  My wife (then girlfriend) Ciera took most of the photos during this time, but she was there helping us clip away.

(l to r) Laura Kay Swanson, me and Tom Eaton. Thanks Guys!

After days of non-stop clipping came non-stop planting. I had the vineyard block surveyed wide - 72'x72' if I recall correctly, so we took a long tape and sunk popsicle sticks every three feet down the rows for vine placement. At each popsicle stick I pounded a hole in the ground with a heavy duty bar, where we put the vine cutting. Rinse. Repeat. Wipe hands on pants. 

Pounding holes for vine cuttings

We had ample rain in this winter and you can see the saturation of the soil in the photos during this time. Thank heavens too, because it saved us huge amounts of time. Dry soil would have been our undoing.

A little baby Syrah cutting, popping out & yearning to be a vine!

We have a decent amount of video, and a lot of it is hilarious. We all had the right spirit. Good friends subjecting themselves to endless manual labor in order to play a game that can turn a rich man poor. Yes this was an almost idiotic, impossible dream, but it goes to show what one can achieve if they put their mind and body into it with all of their heart.

Mark and Ciera around the time of planting.



Time Posted: Sep 12, 2018 at 6:10 PM Permalink to Still Crazy After All These Years Permalink
Mark Adams
September 5, 2018 | Mark Adams

Brave New World


Preparing cuttings for planting, Spring 2005

Cut the knuckle, leave two nodes and soak the cuttings in rooting hormone overnight. Repeat 4,000 times. We invited a few friends to help "do our ABCs" as we called it, "always be clipping."  I collected thousands of Estrella clone Syrah cuttings from the Bone Rock terraces at James Berry Vineyard over the course of a rainy February in 2005. I wrapped them in wet newspaper and black trash bags and threw them into the basement until spring. We plowed the field and did a wide survey of what is now known as the Ledge Block. The spacing was 8' by 3' and we would train them on a cordon, or a wire in a "T" formation with 6 spurs on each arm. We didn't have the end posts, wires or irrigation in place. We placed the block as close to the water well as possible, and planned to complete the infrastructure after planting. 

Planting the Ledge Block, Adams Ranch Vineyard, Spring 2005.

Planting a vineyard from cuttings, or "own rooting" has its risks,  but we have been lucky.  Sites such as ours with sandy soils and exposure to coastal winds are resistant to pests like phylloxera, which can decimate an own rooted vineyard in heavier soils. We continue to propgate our vineyard from cuttings, and the sticks seen above have been bearing fruit (and wine) since 2008. 

Ledge Block in late Spring 2005


Time Posted: Sep 5, 2018 at 1:48 PM Permalink to Brave New World Permalink