From Root to Fruit: A Closer Look At Locally Grown Grapes

Wine making: you grow some grapes, you stomp on them, put it in a barrel, then you
have wine! Right? Not quite.

A few weeks ago, Sam and I were able to go behind the scenes of the wine making
process.  We visited Biola University's Organic Farm in La Mirada, CA to examine their grape vines and learn from the professors that run the project, Brendon and Jason.  Although the grapes they are growing are 'Table Grapes' rather than 'Wine Grapes', the visit offered a lot of insight on the growing process.

We came before the harvest season, so there wasn’t any growth on the vines.  However,
they explained the five-year process that went into cultivating what they have now; let me tell
you--these guys put so much care into choosing the right plant and training it to grow where
they want it and how they want it. They perfect the plant through pruning to ensure that the
energy inside of it is going toward concentrated, fruitful (and sweet) growth rather than that
same amount of energy shared across an entire long vine.

Growing is a consuming process that has to take all factors into account; soil, sun, temperature, and time, just to name a few. For example, Jason wasn’t expecting the great amounts of rain Biola got the past year, so excessive watering resulted in a setback for the vine. The weather in any given year can make or break the grapes, so it’s up to the grower to maintain a plant that will produce quality grapes by reading the vine itself and the conditions that the environment is providing during its growth.


Hearing all of the hard work and patience that went into the maintenance of this small
organic farm made me think of how intense it must be to maintain an entire vineyard.  It’s not a
matter of letting the vine do its thing and turning the grapes into wine, but guiding the plant to
get the best out of its conditions.

The growing process is an important and delicate step in the
making of wine. The quality of the grape ends up determining the quality of the wine, so
growth is a process that really has some value to us wine lovers! I know that I have a whole new
appreciation for this first step in the wine making process.

Cheers to our grape growers, and cheers to you!

SamSomm Intern

There's an Intern at SamSomm!

Hello friends!

I’m so excited to introduce myself as the intern here at SamSomm.  A little
bit about me; my name is Ajia and I’m finishing up my degree in Nutrition & Dietetics at
California State University, Long Beach. I’m a beach girl at heart, having lived most of my life
here in Long Beach. However, I love to travel and explore everything the world has to offer.
Around this same time last year, I was studying in London- a city that will forever have my
heart. I traveled to a few places around Europe and ended my stay there with a few magical
weeks in the south of France with family. This stay in France is where I learned to really enjoy
wine. (Particularly rosé, but that’s a whole other blogpost)

I was asked to focus on one thing to write for this post, but I honestly think that my
exposure to this wine world is so new that it’s hard for me to hone in on one thing. What
initially sparked my interest was the class and sophistication that this particular beverage seems
to have about it. Of course, loving the taste had a bit to do with it as well. Once I followed that
initial interest and took a peek into the wine world, I was gripped by the vastness of it and
completely pulled in. There is just so much there! So many details to look for in one glass. The
smell- when was the last time you really took the time to sit and smell something before you
consumed it? There’s something so tantalizing and exciting about a smell- a little tease of what
you’re about to enjoy. Finally taking a sip and getting it on your tongue can show you the full
experience of what you got on the nose, or it can surprise you with hints of something you
didn’t quite detect before. What you find in the taste tells the story of where the wine has

What I appreciate about wine is how sensitive it is to its surroundings; absorbing a hint
of the sunlight it basked in and showing it to you with some sugar or bite of alcohol. Taking in
the deep vanilla notes of the oak that kept it safe for years and telling you about it in your first
sip. Each scent and each flavor is a little detail in the life story of the wine; and when you finally
get to enjoy it, that bottle can tell you where it’s been. When working with SamSomm, I’m
looking forward to learning as much as I can so that I can start to understand the life behind
each bottle. Even more so, I’m looking to sharing what I learn with you!

Of Riesling, and Cabernet, and Pumpkin Spice.

Just to clarify, people, we hardly mean the infamous latte here. Even if the title does seem to scream, “it’s autumn!”.

However, as it is officially October, the lovers of summer begrudgingly pull out the sweaters and boots in preparation for the colder months ahead. Those devoted to the fall season rejoice...alongside the marketing geniuses over at Starbucks.

Might we suggest a winery to accompany your seasonal transition, whether is be positive or filled with dread? Ladies and Gents, we present to you a couple drops from Smith-Madrone.


The name of this winery, sitting in the Spring Mountain District of Napa Valley, found its origin from the brothers who started the establishment - Stuart and Charles Smith circa 1971 - as well as the beloved Madrone tree that has a prominent location on the grounds.

Although they have a beautiful Chardonnay and reserve wine in their lineup, today we’re going to take a look at the Smith-Madrone dry Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon.


This article is featured on I Like This Grape, finish reading it here!