What Does Argentina Have In Common With Arizona? When It Comes To Grapes, The Answer Is Everything!
Asmundson Family Vineyard
Current bottlings: LAKAWA and YENDOLA
Our vineyard is located just east of the majestic Andes Mountains in Uco Valley, Argentina. With mountains topping 20,000 feet in elevation, Uco Valley is not only beautiful but is also one of the premier viticulture centers in Argentina. We are part of a much larger project, The Vines of Mendoza, which has 1,500 acres planted which are owned by 130 individuals from around the world. This gives us access to world renowned winemakers and state of the art winemaking facilities to ensure we deliver a superior product year after year.
Argentina is known for Malbec and this greatly influenced our decision to plant 100% Malbec grapes. But with 1,500 acres planted we have access to many varieties from our neighbor’s vineyards. We always head to the vineyard in January to barrel taste and participate in blending sessions with our winemaker to create LAKAWA. To label a wine Malbec, it must be made with at least 80% Malbec grapes. In the past, we’ve blended small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Merlot to add depth to our wine without exceeding the 20% level. Our 2013 vintage was the first year we were 100% Malbec!
In January 2014 we discovered and fell in love with Torrentes, Argentina’s premier white grape. We decided to buy some of these wonderful grapes from Salta / Cafayate, a wine growing region in northern Argentina nearly a mile above sea level. It is here where the best Torrentes is grown, some of it at vineyards over 8,000 feet in altitude. Our Torrentes is bottled under our YENDOLA label and is a very flavorful wine perfect for a summer evening.
Deep Sky Vineyard, Willcox, AZ
Current bottlings: Aurora, Orbit, Gravity and Big Bang
We just couldn’t get enough with our first vineyard experience in Argentina; literally. The growing cycle for grapes starts with bud break and ends with harvest. In Argentina, bud break is in October and harvest is in April. In Arizona, bud break is in April and harvest is in September. So rather than getting six months off we decided it would be more fun to work all year long and Deep Sky Vineyard was born!
Deep Sky is a 20 acre boutique vineyard located just south of Willcox, Arizona. From the start we had one goal – to prove great grapes could be grown in Arizona. As vineyard owners we believe that “80% of the wine is made in the field”. This means that great wine begins with great fruit and great fruit requires a lot of attention. There are 15,000 vines and each one is touched at least 5 times a season as we: prune, leaf –pull, shoot thin, drop fruit, and finally harvest. It’s this relentless attention to detail and perseverance that drives us every day to meet our goal. Well that and our vineyard consultant, Don Sobey, who we affectionately call “the grape whisperer.”
At Deep Sky we grow Malbec and most of the Rhone varietals. Our Rhone reds include Grenache (2 clones), Mouvedre, Syrah (2 clones), Petite Sirah and Counoise while our Rhone white is a Viognier. We planted on the denser side with 8 feet between rows and 5 feet between plants. Although this requires a specialty tractor to fit between rows, we feel it improves our grape quality, our single goal. Grapes like to struggle and this gives them more competition from their neighbors.
In 2014 we harvested over 65 tons of fruit and sold grapes to some of the best known wineries in the state.
So why the name Deep Sky? On a dark clear night on the vineyard all you have to do is look up to find the answer. It’s in the billions of stars that represent trillions of opportunities. Endless and limitless are the two words that come to mind. The same can be said for wine. It’s all about exploration.
Come explore our wines with us and see if you can find the difference between an Argentinian Malbec and an Arizona Malbec.