"Crystals are living beings at the beginning of creation. All things have a frequency and a vibration." – Nikola Tesla
As featured in the San Francisco Chronicle
Behold the most uniquely-crafted and precious wine in our history. Our soul stone, our positive energy source, our Crystal Visions.
I bet you thought that wine had taken Cabernet Sauvignon to its farthest reaches. So did we. That was until we discovered the Tres Pinos vineyard and learned about crystal fermentation. Throughout the following text, you will be taken on a ride filled with blind leaps of faith and unexpected turns. And in the end, we hope you keep an open mind.
As you may know, experimenting is in our DNA. Doing what others haven't...or won't...is what drives us in winemaking. And for many years, we have brought in outside voices to speak with our winemaking team before each harvest, to educate us on new techniques, and to inspire us to push beyond our comfort zone.
In 2021, we invited our friend Jason Ruppert, the visionary behind crystal fermentation, to come to enlighten our crew. Jason is a natural winemaker and owner of Ardure Wines. With a rich history in Biodynamic and Organic farming, and stints alongside winemakers like Ted Lemon, Steve Matthiasson, Pax Mahle, and Scott Schultz, Jason first unleashed his crystals during Ardure's inaugural vintage in 2018.
"As a kid, I always had a rock pile next to my bed," Jason told us. "So with my brand, I just wanted to do something different that nobody else is doing. I think we need more energetic value in life right now, and any added vibrancy when you're making natural wine is good."
The process of crystal fermentation, as we would learn, involves fermenting grapes and juice near charged quartz crystals. Quartz naturally vibrates at an exact frequency and, when pressurized, can produce small volts of electricity. Jason believes this process helps add energetic vibrancy to his wine. And while Jason acknowledges the "woo-woo" perception of crystals, he also trusts in the scientific and historical literature as well. "The Egyptians put amethyst, rubies, and lapis in their goblets of wine. There's something there. Even way back then."
Inspired, our team felt this would be an interesting, if not wildly fun, experiment to try, but in a more Tank way. First, we sourced natural amethyst with white and rose quartz for our trial. Next, per Jason's instructions, we rinsed our crystals in the cool waters of Schoolhouse Beach in Bodega Bay. And lastly, during an overnight trip to Murphys, California, we charged our crystals under a waxing moon.
Crystals in hand, we next decided to do something completely bonkers: make a natural Cabernet Sauvignon. The idea of a whole cluster foot-stomped Cabernet Sauvignon with no additions seemed sacrilegious for our Napa Valley roots. But then bringing in the crystals really sent this project to another realm. So for something this crazy, we knew just where to turn for fruit.
Situated between the Calaveras fault and San Benito River lies the Tres Pinos Vineyard. Grown within its gravely loam soil are 13 acres of clone 8 Cabernet Sauvignon vines that produce fruit with more elegant, herbal characteristics than its Napa Valley counterpart. But nevertheless, delicious. Thanks to farming from the Siletto family, these grapes are organically grown without the use of herbicides and pesticides.
Harvested on October 7, 2021, and hauled up to our production garage in Napa Valley, we foot stomped the fruit whole cluster...RECORD SCRATCH...wait, y'all foot-stomped Cab? Yes. We realize it is unconventional, but we wanted to try a more atypical approach with stem inclusion. After that, we tossed our grapes into some macro bins and set near a fully charged quartz crystal. After four weeks of cosmic fermentation (and some very careful punch-downs), we distanced our quartz farther, pressed the grapes, and laid our juice to rest inside of neutral French Oak.
After tasting the wine for the first time, we experienced a vision board of emotions. While this certainly ain't your classic Napa Valley Cab, it is still packed full of dark fruit flavors and charged with the vibrant energy Jason had touted. A dark ruby color shimmers, inviting you in to smell the aromas of black cherries and violets. On the palate, a rush of bright and tart red fruit flavors pull you into a dark, decadent core of fresh blackberries and savory, herbal notes of thyme and sage. Elegantly lean tannins resonate around a joyful acidity and a vibrant finish. My god, we have unleashed something transcendental, a wine with flavors and textures we had never before tasted.
We chose to bottle the wine with no additions or thetans, unfined and unfiltered, to preserve the natural flavors of Tres Pinos and all the good vibrations. Hand-waxed and emblazoned with an image of our new crystal dreamer, this wine will surely open your third eye when it comes to the possibilities of Cabernet Sauvignon.
As for the impact of our crystal fermentation? We are believers. But we supposed you'll have to try it yourself to see if it resonates with you too. Access to Crystal Visions unlocks Friday, October 14th at 10:00 AM PT. With only 85 cases made, you won't want to wait around for the opportunity to experience Crystal Visions yourself.
Some photos and depictions are for promotional purposes only. Quartz employed extraneously of vessels during production. Photo credit for Jason's photo belongs to Leigh Ann Beverley.