Wine Country Terroir–the “Dirt” on Wine Production
This was my first assignment photographing dirt—terroir, as the vintners call it. Well, not just dirt of course. Grape vines thrive in the nearby Santa Ynez Valley in California where a wide variety of soil types favor a large selection of award-winning wines. I recently spent a fun day with Tracy Smith Reed, the talented art director of Seasons Magazine, photographing the wine harvest and the mineral components of several areas in the valley.
Bryan Babcock, of Babcock Vineyard, and Steve Beckman, of Beckman Vineyard, graciously took time from their hectic day to explain how the different soils help dictate which grapes will thrive in their vineyards. After witnessing the organized chaos of harvest at Babcock Vineyard, we stopped for a relaxing lunch at the popular Avant Tapas and Wine Bar in Buellton and then promptly got lost driving through beautiful rolling hills of grape vines, looking for Beckman Vineyard. We finally tracked down Steve Beckman and finished our day learning about the sandstone in his area and how it impacts his syrah and cabernet sauvignon grapes.
One of the great pleasures of being an editorial photographer is constantly learning about different subjects. Vintners are a fascinating group and when they discuss their dirt, it turns out, it’s really pretty interesting as well.